I never promised you a rose garden. Part IIArticle added by Steve Drozdeck on March 2, 2017
SteveDrozdeck

Steve Drozdeck

Logan, UT

Joined: August 21, 2010

My Company

This is a continuation of a mentor's letter to a financial advisor who is feeling burnt out and has possibly reached a production plateau. The mentor offers some sage advice which you may relate to. It also provides some the key points regarding maintaining your work efforts and will hopefully cause some introspection.

[Part I discusses how much has been accomplished sincethe early years, the dampening of enthusiasm and the need to maintain momentum. Read Part I]

But, there's another side to the coin. Money is also the medium of exchange between you and the firm. Both you and the company derive benefit from the revenue you generate as you help other people achieve their goals. You are paid a percentage of the commissions generated in exchange for all the business services that you receive — order execution, paper handling, secretarial costs, phone expenses, lighting, heat, and so on. Also remember the other things like advertising, postage, and, business cards. If you were in business purely for yourself, all these items, normally taken for granted, add up to a huge expense.

As I said before, the firm derives benefit from your production. But, is the benefit cost-effective? That's the question. Think about it this way. Pretend that you had a "widget making machine" that produced just enough widgets to make you a profit.

Further pretend that you can leave the machine exactly as it is, or make a minor mechanical adjustment which would increase the efficiency of the machine by fifty percent. What would you do? — leave the machine exactly as is, or make the adjustment? Of course, you'd make the adjustment. That's what I'm trying to do with you right now. I'm hoping to make a minor adjustment to get a better return on company money.

Let's extend that analogy a bit further. Pretend that the machine could not be enhanced any more. Pretend further that a new, more effective and expensive model becomes available. This newer widget-maker will be able to produce twice the number of widgets. You'd do a cost analysis and figure out how long it would take to pay for the new machine and make a larger profit due to its increased capacity. If the figures are reasonable, you would get the new machine to replace the old one. You probably wouldn't keep the old one because it was relativly cost-ineffective. That's the position any manager is always in because many of people are applying for your job.

Let's go back to the definition of success for awhile. Your goals should be predetermined. If you received a "walk-in" today and generated a million dollar ticket, I'd jump for joy and celebrate with you. However, if you did nothing else during the year, I'd still be concerned because instead of having your success being the result of planning it was the result of luck.

Unless you were lucky — continually — I'd be concerned about your long-term potential as a financial professional. You are in business for yourself. As you know, any business managers knows precisely where their companies are going and set specific targets to reach. If they don't set targets — weekly, monthly and yearly — how do they know that they've really done a good job? Without targets, they wouldn't know if their company was attaining its goals.

I'll grant that production figures are only one indication of how profitable you are to the firm. Production figures, however, can lie. They only tell me what you have done in the past, not what you will do in the future, unless you have a large client base.

Production figures based solely upon luck let me know that the odds were in your favor for a while. "Luck is the least sure of all events." However, production based on new accounts, assets under management, account penetration, a diversified product-mix, and continuous improvement is a strong indicator of future success. The reality is that the firm derives nowhere near the profit from two or three transactions as it does from a long-term relationship with a customer.

I've seen 'em come and I've seen 'em go. The one's who stay are those people who "plan their work and work their plan." Sometime, if you want, I'll give you a few ideas on planning and productivity management. For now, just know who you want to call on a daily basis and specifically what you want to talk to them about. Who are you going to help today?

The only way to do well in this business is to find more clients and help your clients achieve their goals. You know how to get new clients. Prospect and "ask for referrals". You've done it before and you can do it again. Fortunately, since you already have a number of clients, this entire process is easier because you can easily get more referrals — you have but to ask. And the referrals give you more referrals and more business. The next thing you know, we'll be trying to shelter your income.

Let me go back to goal setting for a moment. If you actively get new accounts I know that your business will increase. Although there are other effective methods besides cold-calling, let me use that as an example of something that is easily measurable. You can decide to make "X" number of calls each day – cold, warm or hot prospects doesn’t matter as long as you reach out to a certain number of people each day or week. You can decide to qualify "X" number of prospects each day. And you can decide to make "X" presentations each day.

When you make the decision to do "X" each day — and you actually work to do it, rather than "jawboning" with others, or "wishing yourself productive" — you assure your ultimate success. You can't control the environment. You can't control whether or not your client will have money available or will like your idea. But you can control your own personal performance.

Over the years, I've seen too many "would-have-been's " who tried to pretend they could control all the things that can't be controlled, and failed to control the one thing they could — themselves.

Getting new clients, however, is only half the battle. The other half is helping them solve their needs on an ongoing basis. This is called "account penetration" or “cross selling” or “greater share of wallet.” Many clients have more needs and more money than is ever discovered by their advisor. Most advisors don't ask their clients enough pertinent questions.

However, the best advisors realize this and are constantly searching for ways to more completely satisfy their client needs. They are constantly asking additional, penetrating questions and presenting additional solutions — throughout the course of the relationship. As a result, they uncover needs that the average broker never even imagines — with a corresponding increase in productivity.

Let me make you a bet that I've made to numerous others. I'm willing to bet that you'll be amazed with the results of the following experiment. Ask the following questions to twenty or thirty of your best accounts and you'll probably be amazed by their answers.

1- Can you possibly think of a couple of additional ways that I may be of help to you?

2- What are some of the other goals that you're trying to achieve besides _____?

3- What could you have used that I failed to offer you? Who do you know that I may assist in solving _____ goal?

4- How, specifically, may I better service your needs in the future?

Pick the questions that seem best and adapt them to your own style. Then, ASK THE QUESTIONS!

Top advisors in our business are constantly asking these or similar questions. They're constantly trying to find new ways to assist their clients and to improve the level of service they are offering. They don’t just assume that they're doing a good job, they make sure that they're doing a good job for their clients. Try the experiment as soon as you can. I'm sure that you'll find the answers both educational and rewarding.

You can make it big in this business if you choose to make it big. But there is the price of work to be paid. The rewards are the things and the enjoyments that money can bring to you and your family. The rewards include feeling good about yourself and what you've done for your clients and society. The price is your daily work effort and your commitment.

You may need to think some of these things over. Think about them on the weekend. If you decide that you really want to be successful, you'll come back and do more business than you would have otherwise done. You have to enjoy what you're doing and feel that you are making a contribution to people's lives. If, after thinking it over, you decide that you're better suited for other things, do yourself a major favor and do something else. Your life, health and happiness are too important to be working at something that isn't meaningful. "I never promised you a rose garden, but you can create one."

Continued Good Luck & My Warmest Regards

Steven Drozdeck

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