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Your Opportunity Antenna

You can find more opportunities - and affluent clients - by focusing on your goals

All human beings are vulnerable to the power of suggestion. Alas, most people, financial advisors included, are also susceptible to negative programming, or self-sabotage. This is always at the expense of positive can-do — i.e., opportunity — programming.

The little devilish voice of doubt — the one that whispers, “You can't do this” in your ear — is often given too much airtime and undermines your best intentions. For many financial advisors, this creates something I like to call “affluent call reluctance,” where you convince yourself: “You're never going to get Mr. Big to talk to you, much less want you as his financial advisor.”

However, this voice of doubt holds advisors back in other, more-subtle ways. For instance, if you haven't put a full-court press on fully monetizing every client relationship, it could be you're telling yourself, “It's going to be impossible to become Mrs. Schwartz's ‘go-to’ financial quarterback. I know she has people handling other aspects of her financial affairs.” Both of these scenarios occur because of a bad habit — activation of what I refer to as the sabotage antenna.

At the risk of getting too technical, I am going to describe a subconscious system that may help clarify the concept of positive/negative programming. Each of us is armed with a net-like group of cells at the base of our brain that neuroscientists call the reticular activating system. This system screens every message that passes through our brain, only sending messages deemed important to our cerebral cortex.

Because our brain has the capability of being aware of every form of sensory stimuli, we would quickly experience sensory overload without this mechanism. It screens out all messages except for two types:

  1. Messages of value
  2. Messages that are threatening

So rather than get technical, think in terms of having two automatic antennas in your brain: fear and value. This means one antenna is sabotaging your goals while the other is helping you. Let's take a closer look at these two antennas.

Opportunity Antenna

Can you recall the last serious goal you achieved? By committing to this goal, you activated your opportunity antenna — instinctively putting you on alert for any opportunity that could help you achieve your goal.

Goals manipulate your reticular activating system by transforming anything that might help you achieve your desired result into something of value. Thus “opportunity” info gains entry to your mind. Did you ever wonder why rainmakers seem to get lucky? Affluent opportunity is lodged in their mind, and, voila, new business falls onto their laps.

Make no mistake about it, this is no accident and no luck is involved. This is the mindset of a rainmaker who has activated his opportunity antenna and is constantly attracting info that helps him achieve his goals.

Sabotage Antenna

Can you recall the last time that little devilish voice of doubt kept you from executing a high-impact rainmaking activity (getting an introduction or asking for a referral)? By simply giving this voice too much airtime, you activated your sabotage antenna and, most likely, derailed your best intentions.

The same holds true regarding monetizing client relationships. Our research continues to tell us that the affluent want one “go-to” financial quarterback to assist them with the multidimensional aspect of their financial affairs. You would think this would be a natural win-win, giving the affluent what they want and increasing your production at the same time. Yet many financial advisors are not taking advantage of this window of opportunity. Somehow, for some reason, the wrong antenna is being activated.

Controlling Your Antenna

Although these antennas function automatically, the good news is that you can develop habits to activate the right one. Here's how to activate your opportunity antenna like a rainmaker:

  • Create a clear profile of the affluent client you want to work with.

  • Establish a long-range goal that includes the number of ideal clients you want, the corresponding assets and the production you will generate.

  • Determine the exact number of new ideal affluent clients and corresponding assets you want to acquire over the upcoming 12 months.

  • Determine the number of new ideal clients you will acquire during the fourth quarter of 2006.

  • Determine the number of existing clients you will fully monetize by becoming their “go-to” financial quarterback and the revenue you project to generate during the fourth quarter of 2006.

If you think this appears to be a bit contrived, you're right. But it's also the way our mind works. Focus on controlling your antenna and you increase the probability of activating your opportunity antenna. It's what sets rainmakers apart from the crowd.

Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.

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