By: Daniel C. Finley

Understanding the Standards Circle

What advisors/agents don’t want to have continued success?   However, very few have a designated system for obtaining it. The problems with not having systems set up are numerous with a significant one being that they leave reaching next level in your business up to chance.

 A common phrase I hear from prospective coaching clients is, “I want to grow my business but I don’t know how to do that.”  Does this sound like you? If so, don’t be concerned because creating success is merely a process and the process begins when you make a decision to raise your standards!

Thomas J. Watson said it best when he said, “If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.”

One of the first steps towards achieving a greater level of success is to raise your standards. If you are not happy with where you are then you have to choose to hold yourself to a higher bar so you have something to guide you in the right direction. To support that you then have to increase the number of activities that your new standards require. In other words, your previous behaviors “supported” your previous standards so by setting new standards you will need new behaviors.

Think of these steps as more of circle than a linear pattern. When you decide to raise your standards, take new actions, turn those actions into habits you will inevitable get better results. After reviewing your results you may want to raise your standards again which would require a new stepwise approach and habits, thus the Standards Circle continues.

The following is a brief outline of how one client of mine applied the Standards Circle when it came to prospecting. See if you can relate to his experience.

Step 1: Raise The Bar

One of the most common things that advisors/agents neglect to consider when facing an ongoing challenge in their business is to look inward and ask, “What am I choosing to accept?” In other words what are the standards (regarding a particular facet) that you have decided are the norm?

Rob, a client of mine who after months of working from home during the recent COVID-19 crisis stopped prospecting because he didn’t think it was possible to prospect in this climate. We discussed the fact that some of his peers were prospecting and how they had simply adapted to the situation. It didn’t take Rob long to make the realization that by upping his bar, he too, could do the same as his fellow colleagues.

Step 2: Change Your Action Steps

Another challenge for advisors/agents after realizing they need to raise their standards is alter behaviors, whether it be doing more of a task that resulted in positive outcomes or changing the type of action altogether.

Rob knew that just knowing what his peers were doing was not enough. Instead he needed to learn a new way of prospecting via phone and zoom appointments, practice and apply it. So, we set realistic goals on who to call, when to prospect, what to say and how he was going to reward himself when he accomplished his prospecting activity goals.

Step 3: Create New Habits

I have seen advisors/agents dabble in applying various solutions, experience some success and then quit doing the activities that got them better results. Unfortunately, this type of process only circles back to ending up with the same challenge. That’s why it is so important to continue taking action until these actions become a habit.

After a few weeks, Rob was setting appointments, meeting with prospects via zoom meetings and he even managed to gather additional assets. He was pleasantly surprised and tempted to slow down but I reinforced the need to continue to reinforce the new habit.

So, what happened to Rob?

Over the better part of a month, he came to comprehend that most of his competition currently had the same standard for prospecting that he once had, they were not prospecting because they didn’t think it was possible right now. Fortunately for him, by utilizing the Standards Circle, he now has a tool at his disposal if and when he finds himself at a crossroads (or plateau) again.

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