By: Daniel C. Finley

Mastering the Art of Excellence

Obtaining excellence with any endeavor is rarely an overnight occurrence. It typically takes years of tenacity to master a craft. Many advisors/agents let outside influences and short-term setbacks detract them from acquiring excellence in many facets of their business. On the journey to becoming your best, you must simply sometimes take things one step at a time.

The key to mastering the art of excellence is to focus on each of those steps whether that is defined as learning how to cold call, close a sale or ask for referrals.  It is important to concentrate on your ability to be more effective on each particular “step” before moving on to another.

Eventually those “steps” string together and form a way forward and you realize that you have traveled farther than you ever thought possible.  Aristotle said it best when he said, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.”

In other words, we create excellence by continuously learning and honing the activities we do until they become a habit; thus, excellence is merely a by-product of doing such.

Here are some suggested things to consider as you strive for excellence in whatever areas you seek:

Step 1: Commit to a New Level of Greatness

If you want to excel at anything you must commit to a new level of greatness. It doesn’t matter whether you are a financial advisor, insurance agent or professional athlete, every successful person knows that the first step is to decide without a shadow-of-a-doubt that they are fully committed to putting in a best effort.

Rob T., a twenty year veteran financial advisor was stalemated as his business had reached a production plateau. When I began coaching him he was absolutely committed to learning how to unclog his pipeline. All he needed was to unearth the clogs, implement the right processes and put those into place and take action.

Step 2: Model the Masters

Success doesn’t happen overnight but it will happen a lot more quickly when you model those who have mastered whatever it is that you would like to succeed at.

In Rob’s case, I had coached many financial advisors/agents on a methodology to find specific clogs at every stage of the pipeline, so we quickly found what challenges he actually had. Next, we discussed solutions that have worked for other successful advisors/agents. Then he began to apply the activities that were necessary on a daily basis to put those solutions into place. Over time, these activities turned into habits and voila, his pipeline moved along well and converted for him in many cases.

Step 3: Map out the Milestones

The final step in to track your progress or what I refer to as “Map out the Milestones”. That way you can see accomplishments (or obstacles) that were made during each leg of the journey. The following is brief description of milestones that Rob experienced.

Initially, I had explained to Rob that my pipeline process had Four Stages: Initial Contact, First Appointment, Second Appointment (or Closing Appointment) and Getting Referrals.

Rob knew that he had a clog in each stage but some were bigger than others. So, we began working on Stage #1-the Initial Contact because he was not filling up the pipeline which was vital. Soon, he was setting more first appointments then he had ever done previously. Next, we worked on Stage #3-the Closing Appointment because was not strong at closing prospects. After a number of weeks he reported that he had closed 9 out of 12 prospects! Then, we worked on Stage #2-the First Appointment because he said that many prospects weren’t securing a second appointment with him. I taught him how to help prospects see the value of a second appointment and he was able to make those happen! Lastly, we worked on Stage #4-Getting Referrals. Once we roleplayed what I call “Client-Centered Referral Dialogue” he had a framework or structure for his conversation around getting referrals!

Why “Mastering the Art of Excellence” Works

The reason why “Mastering the Art of Excellence” works is because who wants to settle for mediocrity? Being just “okay” with your business is not okay; finding techniques that work is imperative to getting your business firing on all cylinders.

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