By: Daniel C. Finley

Beyond the Blame Game

In today’s climate, many sources are quick to place blame on the reasons for changes in our economy and overall market volatility. Likewise, many advisors/agents have a tendency to do similar when having to explain to others the state of their business; statements such as, “If the market would cooperate, I would be doing better” or “Clients don’t see the urgency in getting together while the market is doing well” are simply examples of excuses for not taking responsibility.  The consequence in making those excuses is the possibly outcomes. Attending to your clients and their portfolios during both up and down markets is vital.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”

Successful advisors/agents know that true growth is really up to oneself, regardless of what is going on both in and out of your control. You must be willing to be honest about what is working AND not working for you presently. Then, you must be willing to adjust and adapt to changing conditions. Next, you must decide on what actions will actually guide you towards positive results. Implementing those activities and continually assessing your results will keep you accountable to yourself and prevent the “because of everyone else” blame game. 

Let’s take a look at specific steps for how you can incorporate responsibility into your business.

Step #1: Be Completely Honest

Honesty truly is the best policy and what better person to be honest with than yourself. However, many advisors/agents find it difficult to admit that they themselves are the true cause of their own not-so-great results. Let me share with you about one advisor that I’ve worked with to identify his shortfalls and some solutions we utilized for replacing them.

Bill T. is a fifteen year veteran financial advisor who found himself on a production plateau. After years of building up a client-base he simply stopped prospecting. His rationale was that he had “made it” and that anyone with his number of years of experience should not have to prospect. However, his company did not share the same point of view and thus was not happy with Bill’s level of production.

So, during one of our coaching sessions I asked Bill a number of questions to determine his honest view about prospecting. It didn’t take long before he realized that he needed to change his perspective about prospecting from one of an obstacle to one of opportunity.

Step #2: Adjust and Adapt to Changing Conditions

One of the hardest things to do once you face the truth is to make the necessary shifts in both attitude and tasks. The best way to do this is to create a well thought out action plan. Take time to develop it and be realistic about your own expectations. In Bill’s case, he knew he needed to get back to prospecting but had no idea where to begin since it had been quite some time since he had prospected. So, we mapped out an action plan together.

We first determined his target market which was business owners. Then, we worked on how to approach them by scripting out a formula for what to say during the initial contact. Next, we worked on brainstorming every possible objection he might hear and how to overcome them to set appointments. Finally, we practiced the process so that his first call would sound flawless!

Step #3: Implement & Evaluate Your Action Plan

Now it is time to implement in real time and constantly be evaluating (and tweaking) your action plan to fine tune it to make it work optimally.

This is best done by determining what time of the day you will do particular tasks and sticking to that blocked time. You also need to allocate the time to record your daily activities and record the outcome on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.

After several weeks, Bill realized that his pipeline was starting to fill up with qualified prospects that were interested in meeting with him. Organically, he began turning those prospects into clients. His company took notice and asked him if he would be interested in teaching other advisors/agents how he had turned things around.

Why Taking Responsibility Works

The reason why taking responsibility for your own success works is because it’s not anyone else’s responsibility for you to succeed. And, choosing to blame the economy, the market, your firm or others will always result in a losing game!

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