By: Daniel C. Finley
ADVISOR SOLUTIONS

Learning From the Lessons of Failure

Let’s face it, we all fail from time to time. In fact, if you didn’t fail it would most likely be because you were not even trying! The problem is that most advisors/agents tend to view failure negatively. And, here lies the paradox, trying and failing can create an avoidance atmosphere which lends itself to failure because the very items that were necessary to result in some form of success were never attempted. Does this cycle sound familiar?

Let’s view this topic from a different perspective: Every failure is a lesson to learn from. Malcolm Forbes said it best, “Failure is success if we learn from it.” If we could take away from each of our failures some wisdom we would likely be more effective in the future. It would also mean that the act of trying, failing, learning and not repeating the same action would itself be a win.

As I coach advisors/agents each week, I’m looking for the lessons to be learned from the failures that they have experienced. Then, I help them articulate and identify those lessons. You can learn a lot from your failures if you are open to doing so.

The following lessons are a handful of the more common ones that I see.

Lesson 1: Learning From Experience

Failure can teach you what not to do next time. Experience can be a great teacher but you must be willing to be a great student. You have to choose not to repeat things that caused you previous failure. If you don’t, you in fact did not learn your lessons.

One example is the common challenge of overcoming objections. I was a financial advisor for thirteen years and it took me over a decade before I realized that hearing objections such as, “I’m busy. Or “I handle my own investing.” Or, “I already have an advisor” were merely objections that I could overcome.

Initially when I came up against those objections, I had thanked them for their time and hung up the phone. In other words, for many years I didn’t learn from my experiences. That is until the day that I was in a training seminar.

Lesson 2: Learning Information

Failure can help you gain insights that you would have never known otherwise.

During a training seminar I attended, the instructor explained two ways to overcome a core objection (the real objection). The methodologies were the “Objection Resolution Model” and “Feel, Felt, Found” techniques. Once I honed these techniques, I actually applied them and realized that although they weren’t fool proof they did work much better than not doing them at all and as a result this built resilience for me.

Lesson 3: Learning Resilience

Failure can build resilience as long as you don’t quit. You must make course corrections along the way and continuously keep at it.

Over the course of a few months of using these tools, I noticed that sometimes I could not overcome an objection. I realized that it was typically when the prospect was not fully being transparent with their core objection. I gave this scenario a name referring to them as a “smoke screen”. Instead of giving up, I created my own process called “The Smoke Screen Technique” to unearth a core objection so I could then overcome it.

Lesson 4: Learning to Succeed

Failure inevitably leads to success if you learn from any failures and keep reaching for your goals.

My success at overcoming objections didn’t happen overnight but with patience, practice and persistence it became second nature. When I teach my clients to do the same their success increases. In fact, one client makes a game out of seeing how many objections he can get and overcome in a day.

Why Learning From Failure Works

The lessons above are just a few of the possible things that you can take away from adversity with every obstacle an opportunity for growth

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