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Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Identify the speed bumps impeding your growth and be proactive about overcoming them.

I’m sure you’ve heard often about getting outside your “comfort zone.” If we are looking to push our limits or exceed our goals, we are often met with encouragement to step outside our usual habits and behaviors. However, as one might suspect, this is much easier said than done. This is what I like to refer to as the comfort zone enigma.

Over the years, I’ve met a number of advisors who have created serious speed bumps for their own growth. For today’s article, I thought I’d share three common, but unproductive refrains I’ve heard over the years. In nearly every scenario, it was a comfort zone issue they were failing to address.

  1. “I’m very well connected in my community, belong to the most prestigious country club and serve on boards with the who’s who in town. Everyone knows what I do. If they have a need, they will come to me.”

This can be a common speed bump for financial advisors, particularly those who are well-connected and involved in their communities. It can be easy to assume that people know what you do and would actively seek your services when needed. The reality is there are plenty of good financial advisors who are well-connected but don’t bring in very many new clients from their social circles. The industry’s fastest growers are more proactive than that and it works.

For many, it’s not about social prospecting not being additive to their marketing, it’s about social prospecting being outside the comfort zone. While it’s certainly more comfortable not to approach social contacts about business, it’s not very productive.

My recommendation: become more of your own advocate and let people know that you can help!

  1. “I’m not worried about digital marketing. I’ve never brought in business that way in the past.”

When you look at consumer trends, it’s hard to argue that every generation is getting more and more digital in the way they make decisions. Our research shows that 22% of those under 45 start their search for a financial advisor online, compared to 6% of those who are over 65. Not to mention, digital marketing plays a complementary role to every other marketing strategy. If someone meets you through their CPA, they look you up online. If you know them socially, they see the educational videos you post on Facebook. Your digital presence can’t be an afterthought.

For many, it’s not a belief that digital marketing is a fad. It’s simply that digital marketing hasn’t been the way they’ve grown in the past and they’re somewhat anchored to those previous marketing strategies. It can also stem from digital marketing being out of their comfort zone.

My recommendation: don’t be sentimental with your marketing, embrace digital and create a business that grows into the future.

  1. “I built this business and did my share of prospecting. Now it’s time for the next generation to bring in new clients and earn their stripes.”

While the next generation should certainly be expected to bring in clients, they do not yet have the experience or connections of a tenured advisor. It’s incumbent upon the senior advisor to lead by example.

Once again, the comfort zone plays a role here. Many of the most productive marketing activities require you to be assertive and (from time to time) face rejection. Whether it be asking clients for introductions, talking business with social contacts or reaching out to COIs, there is an emotional risk involved.

My recommendation: Show your newer advisors how it’s done. Socialize with top clients, penetrate their spheres of influence, get introduced to new prospects and romance them into becoming clients.

Dealing with the comfort zone enigma is never easy. We are a rational species and can justify, at least in our minds, almost everything. However, getting a positive result requires going outside your normal habits and behaviors. Every major accomplishment you’ve ever achieved requires the expansion of your comfort zone. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Attack your comfort zone – identify your speed bumps and get proactive.

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