By: Daniel C. Finley

It Is All About Perception…

Years ago a rookie financial advisor (me) new to the area asked a veteran colleague and friend, “What is the wealthiest street address in the city of Milwaukee?” “Well, that’s easy. It is Lake Shore Drive because that is where all of the money and mansions are, however, I would not prospect them. They all already have an advisor”stated his peer.

Many weeks later, the veteran stopped the rookie as he rushed by him on the way out the door. “Where are you going in such a hurry?” the veteran asked. “I’m going to see my client at his home on Lake Shore Drive” I replied.   

T.S. Eliot said it best when he said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Risk has many definitions. To my co-worker it implied taking time to prospect an affluent niche that he believed would most certainly reject him. To me, the rookie, the risk was in not attempting to prospect them, since no attempt at all would absolutely result in failure.  

My point today is that the reality of business risk is really about how our perceptions dictate what we believe is possible. The lesson learned should be, don’t limit yourself.

The following is a brief outline of how you can live beyond any business limitations you might have set up for yourself.

Identify Your Business Risk

It was a simple thought, “I’m not going to get rejected by people who don’t have money” that led me down a path of forming my belief system around who I was going to prospect. In other words, I didn’t care about rejection, I cared about wasting time with unqualified prospects.

Unfortunately, it took some time to realize that although I was closing these new wealthy clients, they were only willing to invest a small portion of their assets with me; thus, my updated business risk was in not being confident enough to put together comprehensive financial plans but merely pushing a product.

Model the Masters

Once you’ve identified any challenge, it is important to look for the solutions. In this case, my solution came in the form of a conversation with my then branch manager who simply said, “You’ve got 500 accounts. You don’t need 500 more with the same average asset per account, what you need is a minimum account size. I recommend from this day forward that you never take an account under $100K.”

He was a former top producer turned branch manager and to me he walked on water. So, it didn’t take long before I picked up the phone and cold called business owners inserting the phrase into my introduction, “I tend to work with business owners who have $100K or more in investable assets”.

Create a New Reality

Change can be a scary thing until you realize that not changing will cause you more risk. Take for instance what happened just thirty minutes after I started using the aforementioned phrase. The thirty plus year veteran business owner that I was speaking to replied, “I know what you mean, I don’t have time for small accounts either”

And, just like that everything changed for me! I was no longer afraid to position myself as an advisor with a minimum account size. In fact, I embraced and was proud of it.

Become the Mentor

Now, as a business consultant/coach I’ve had the pleasure to help others break though the reality of their own business risk. Take Sandra P. a thirty year veteran client of mine who agreed to set her account minimums at $500K, then at $1M and later at $3M. It wasn’t until she gathered $10M of new assets in one month that she realized how limited her thinking had previously been.  

Why Having a System to Breakthrough Your Business Risk Works

The reason why it works is because it helps you be aware of what those risks are, then by modeling your mentors it supports a paradigm shift of what is truly possible. 

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