Key to real growth starts with being well-postured

By Dave Scranton

Advisors Academy


Obviously, being well-postured takes some effort — just like standing perfectly straight does when you’re tired and your instinct is to slouch. But at the end of the day, the payoff is more than worth the effort, because being well-postured is the first ingredient in the foundation of a business that attracts clients and allows you to stop chasing them.

“Stand up straight!” Did your mother or teachers always tell you that? Well, they were right: Posture is important. But in our business, even more important is the ability to be “well-postured” in your interactions with clients and prospects, and in the community at large. Mastering the art of being consistently well-postured is one of the most important keys to dramatically increasing your closing ratios, attracting clients instead of chasing them and growing your business by leaps and bounds.

When most people use the term “posture,” they mean it in the literal sense, referring to the spine and a person’s penchant for slouching (the thing that drove your mother crazy). But when I talk about posture, I’m talking about an advisor’s position in the eyes of clients and prospects — his bearing and the degree to which he commands respect and attention and sets himself apart from the competition.

The plain truth is, having a long list of academic and professional credentials at the end of your name doesn’t automatically make you better postured than the next guy in the eyes of the public. It doesn’t hurt, and if you have impressive credentials, you should certainly showcase them in your marketing. But at the end of the day, being well-postured is a strategic process that plays into every aspect of your business, from marketing to practice management to sales. Let me highlight just a few examples.

Marketing

Being well-postured really starts with building your image in the community through creative branding and marketing efforts that put you in roles and positions that automatically engender trust and respect, and allow you to attract prospects instead of chasing them. There’s no need to limit yourself to being just another advisor when, with the right planning and effort, you can place yourself in well-postured roles such as adult education teacher, invited guest speaker, radio host, author, spokesperson, business coach, financial specialist providing a needed service (benefits, college planning, taxes), and much more. Prospecting strategies that allow you to step into these kinds of roles automatically distinguish you from competitors and put you several notches above all those cookie-cutter advisors in your area doing seminars or chasing business through direct mail.
Practice management

How you set up and run your office presents a golden opportunity to be well-postured without even being present. This is why I’m an advocate of conducting meetings with clients and prospects only in my office, rather than in their homes. It’s consistent with my philosophy of attract-don’t-chase, and if your office is arranged and managed in a way that automatically commands respect and instills trust, people will be only too happy to conduct business on your turf. This whole concept may seem somewhat obvious, but it’s amazing how many business owners in every line of work neglect or get complacent about appearances and the very basics of customer service when it comes to their office. Lighting, color, décor, temperature, the right balance of professional and personal items, music (or not), how your staff greets customers — it all plays into being well-postured in the eyes of everyone who walks through your door. In fact, I’m aware of one study showing that among the reasons retirees buy products or services from a particular advisor, over half can be directly attributed to the environment in which they are asked to buy — in other words, your office.

Sales process

Any number of small things can undermine your efforts to maintain a well-postured position during a meeting with clients or prospects. The goal is to make sure you are always perceived as a trusted advisor and not as a “salesman,” so be aware that something as simple as too much small talk or even your tone of voice in a given situation can give a “salesy” impression. Anything that suggests neediness, non-professionalism, or puts you even marginally in a position of chasing as opposed to attracting, is to be avoided. Offering too many complimentary meetings before a commitment is made, or doing proposals for free are some other examples of ways to potentially compromise your posture in the eyes of clients and prospects. The sales process I use recognizes the need for having a well-postured position from start to finish in every one-on-one interaction, and it includes interwoven strategies for achieving that all-important goal.

Obviously, being well-postured takes some effort — just like standing perfectly straight does when you’re tired and your instinct is to slouch. But at the end of the day, the payoff is more than worth the effort, because being well-postured is the first ingredient in the foundation of a business that attracts clients and allows you to stop chasing them.