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Winning In Tough Times: Part 1

New York: "It's been a real rough month," sighed Jeremy, "We've all been taking incoming calls non-stop, from the time we arrive in the morning until we leave at night.

New York: "It's been a real rough month," sighed Jeremy, "We've all been taking incoming calls non-stop, from the time we arrive in the morning until we leave at night. I'm getting worried that we're getting burnt out."

It’s more than likely that you can feel Jeremy's pain. You, too, have been playing defense to a panicked book of clients and every member of your practice has been forced into a crisis mode. All of which makes it difficult to think about "winning" in these tough times. However, during challenging times there are always a select few who are able to capitalize on the turmoil, advisors who are able to see beyond the immediacy of the crisis and envision the new world after the storm.

Alas, these advisors are few and far between. Fortunately we've been able to identify three commonalities of those who are truly “Winning in Tough Times”: Mindset, Offense and Defense. Part one of this three-part series on Winning in Tough Times, will focus on Mindset.

Here are some quick Mindset facts:

  • Only 3.8 percent of advisors are Rainmakers in today's environment (they have no competition!)
  • Most advisors are paralyzed by tough times.
  • Most advisors don't think big enough.
  • We all have a tendency to gravitate to what's comfortable.
  • Only 13.4 percent of advisors have increased the personal time they are spending with clients in these tough times

Component 1: Mindset

Today we are going to talk about Mindset, but before I share with you how an elite group of advisors is winning during these tough times—they're wearing the multiple hats of high priest, chief rabbi, psychologist and financial advisor—and helping their clients to get through these turbulent times, it is important to be reminded that the majority of advisors are simply reacting to the markets and their clients.

In the extreme, this can lead to advisor depression which is a very dangerous state. In milder stages, it creates a paralysis. To put this in another context: Imagine that a deadly flu epidemic is sweeping the country, the media are working everyone up into hysteria, and your physician is not seeing patients because he's paralyzed by fear. Ugh.

Dealing With A Sea Of Negativity

The bottom line is that we are drowning in a sea of negativity broadcast by people who aren't experts in financial affairs (granted, even the experts are being severely tested). This is why the elite corps of advisors fully understands that the media is simply an entertainment medium; the more they can hype a traumatic event, the more viewers tune in, which translates into a bump in revenues. Look no further than “The War on Terror,” Katrina, or the Wall Street Bailout to witness this cause and effect.

Consequently, in order to win under these conditions, smart advisors are careful to limit their exposure to the hype so they can keep their minds clear. If Paul Volcker writes an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, they read it. If Warren Buffet or Michael Bloomberg has something to say, they listen. In this manner, they are able to buffer themselves from the media hysteria and craft their teams' stories. In turn, their teams become a trusted medium of communication for clients.

So, from a Mindset perspective, here is what you and your team should AVOID:
  • Listening to the non-expert media pundits; soaring TV ratings and internet traffic for business news only serves to generate increased advertising revenues—and panic.

  • Negative or paralyzed advisors and panicked support personnel; they should always be avoided as misery loves company.

  • Listening to politicians; there is little they will not do or say to win an election.

  • Feeling responsible for your clients' fears; they must stop listening to non-expert media pundits.

  • Accepting responsibility for Wall Street; you did not create this global problem.

This will create a platform that will enable you to replicate what advisors are doing to truly "win" in these tough times.

You must be able to project a calming confidence, both to your support personnel and your clients. This requires setting priorities and discipline. Your health—both mental and physical—is critical in being able to assist you "win" while in the midst of this storm. The following is a sampling of what today's winners are doing:

  • Carefully craft your team's story; use experts (Buffet, Volcker, etc.) to help craft your story.

  • Be physically active daily; exercise if possible.

  • Eat healthy and be careful with alcohol consumption.

  • Get out of the office; fresh air and a change of scenery can strengthen the body and mind.

  • Get a good night's sleep.

  • Listen to positive affirmations.

  • Read history; tough times have always been part of life.

  • Be proactive; activity is the tonic of winners.

Remember, only 3.8 percent of your peers are bringing in serious levels of new assets in today's environment. The opportunity is there—get your mind right and go for it, as there is no competition. You will discover that you too can win during these tough times.

In our next issue, I'm going to share with you how these elite advisors are proactively playing "Defense" in these tough times.

To ensure you are capitalizing on all three components necessary in today's marketing environment, sign up to attend our FREE teleconference with Matt Oechsli entitled: Winning in Tough Times.

Once again, we want to thank all of you who have emailed comments and questions to us. We will continue to do our best to answer each one. If you have any topic suggestions or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep. and Trust & Estates magazines, at [email protected].

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