Success Leaves Clues (Don't Shoot the Messenger)
By Bill Bachrach
Bachrach & Associates
You have probably heard the saying that success leaves clues. These "clues" are Universal Truths or Laws of Nature that we observe successful people following that provide a good example of what to do if we would like to be successful also. These are things we accept as being true and unchangeable. Some of the more obvious Universal Truths or Natural Laws are that humans need to breathe air to survive, gravity, and that water is wet.
Another such Natural Law is what I call The Rule of 168. There are only 168 hours in the week and your success and happiness in life are determined by how you choose to invest your 168 hours. This was not my idea. God did not confer with me when he or she decided how long it would take the Earth to make a complete spin on its axis or the time required for the Earth to revolve around the sun. It is what it is. Resistance is futile. Please don't shoot the messenger.
Jack Nicholson's character (Colonel Nathan R. Jessep) in the movie A Few Good Men delivered one of the most famous lines in the modern movie era, "The Truth! You can't handle the truth!" I propose that life is better when you choose to handle the truth. Success is leaving clues about the truths required to be successful. Are you listening? Do you see them? Will you choose to handle the truth?
As with the Rule of 168, there are Natural Laws and Universal Truths about what is necessary to be a successful Financial Advisor. I did not invent these truths any more than I had input into how many hours there are in a day or week. I have just been a diligent observer taking good notes. This may not be a complete list, but I doubt you will disagree with anything on it. What you do with this information is your choice. Remember, don't shoot the messenger.
- Must have the skill and confidence to engage people in conversations that could lead to the next step of them potentially doing business with you. These can be with people you already know, people you meet in the course of your everyday life, or referrals. The result of these conversations must be enough appointments on your calendar to yield enough clients to make your business successful.
- Must have the skill and confidence to conduct an initial client interview where you establish a bond of trust and the outcome is that a high enough percentage of these people hire you so your business is successful.
- Must have the skill and confidence to answer any question any prospect, or client, could ever ask at any time.
- Must have the skill, confidence, and resources to create a plan of action that gives your clients the highest probability to achieve their goals.
- Must have the skill and confidence to articulate how much you charge, what they get, and that it's a good value for them.
- Must have the skill and confidence to set the right price for your services so your business is successful and your life works.
- Must have the skill and confidence to give advice to clients about the necessary action required for them to achieve their financial goals in a way that inspires them to act.
- Must have the skill and confidence to conduct regular, productive progress meetings with your clients so they stay on track to achieving their goals.
- Must have the skill and confidence to have crucial conversations with your clients when they become "their own worst enemy" and want to do things that are not consistent with them achieving their goals.
- Must have the skill and confidence to build and lead your team of the Technical and Administrative Subject Matter Experts necessary to deliver on your promise to your clients. (The Rule of 168 mandates that there is not enough time to do it all yourself.)
- Must have the skill and confidence to conduct referral conversations that generate referrals.
- Must have the skill and confidence to make follow-up phone calls and engage the people, to whom you have been referred, in constructive conversations that could lead to the next step of them potentially doing business with you.
- Must develop the skill and confidence to recognize high pay-off activities, fill your calendar with high pay-off activities, do the high pay-off activities, and delegate or drop lower pay-off activities.
- Must develop the emotional fortitude and discipline to develop these skills and confidence.
- Must be willing to learn these skills from others if you were not born with them.
- Must develop the emotional fortitude and discipline to consistently and repeatedly implement the skills and confidence that produce results both on the days when you feel like it and the days when you don't feel like it, regardless of events out of your control such as what's happening in the market, the economy, or the world.
- Must document the processes and systems that will be repeatedly used to acquire clients, serve clients, and lead the business.
- Must generate enough business revenue, so after paying your business expenses and taxes, there is enough money left to pay for you to live a good lifestyle now and enough money for you to fund your future goals, such as your own financial independence. In other words, you have enough money to get and keep your own financial house in order.
- Must develop the ability to produce these business results in a reasonable amount of time per day, week, month, and year in order for other important aspects of your life to get the attention they need and to be enjoyed. Ie: family and friends, health and fitness, fun and recreation, spiritual growth, mental health, philanthropy, etc.
Perhaps you can think of a few other "musts" in order to have a successful financial services business. This list truths will at least get you started.
Here's what else that I have learned about Universal Truths and Natural Laws:
You can't change them. You can't fight them. They have no emotion. They have no investment in whether or not you succeed or fail. In fact, they don't care if you live or die. It's impossible for them to care about you because they don't even know you exist. They don't care about your background, your upbringing, your personal story, your personal tragedies, or your strengths and weaknesses. They don't care if you suffer from depression, addictions, or were abused as a child. They don't care about your race, your religion, your gender, your age, or your heritage. They don't care if you grew up poor, middle-class or wealthy. They don't care how unique you are, how special you are, or how important you are. They don't care how much potential you have. They don't care how much you are loved by your parents, your grandparents, your children, your spouse, your friends, your pets, or how much you love them back. They don't care if you are attractive or unattractive, healthy or unhealthy, fit or out of shape, able-bodied or disabled. They don't care how smart you are, how experienced you are, or how much you care about helping people. They don't care if you are having a bad hair day or a no-hair day. They don't care if your house burned down, your spouse left you, or your dog died. They have no interest in your needs, your wants, your goals, your aspirations, or your values. They don't care about your religion, your faith, or your beliefs. They don't care how much value you bring to your community or how much of a difference you are making in the world. They are not mean or malicious. They have no agenda. They don't have any emotional capacity to be concerned about anything or anyone. They are what they are. The Laws of Success. Universal Truths. Natural Laws. Please don't shoot the messenger. None of this is my idea. It is what it is.
There are simply Universal Truths and Natural Laws that exist for every Financial Advisor who chooses to be successful at acquiring and serving clients.
To whatever degree you choose to deny, resist, or fight Universal Truths and Natural Laws is the degree to which you will fail to achieve your potential. Whatever time and energy you expend to change them or resist them is wasted time that you will never get back.
Surrender to these laws and you will immediately experience more inner peace. Embrace these truths and you will move to a higher level of professional success and happiness in life.
Commit to developing more skill, more confidence, more emotional fortitude, and more discipline in each area described above and you will soon be enjoying far greater results.
And, remember, don't shoot the messenger. None of this way my idea. I didn't get a vote either. I'm just trying to help and do the best I can on my journey... just like you