There's no app for that: 6 ways to master your business without a silver bullet
By Bill Bachrach
Bachrach & Associates, Inc.
If you are one of the few who are actually willing to do the work, over time, to build these skills, then you have a distinct and substantial advantage over what will no longer even be called the “competition.”
I love the modern world. I love the computer, transportation, TiVo and my iPhone.
Perhaps one of the reasons technology is so quickly embraced by us human beings is because we struggle to delay gratification. We spend more than we earn to live a lifestyle we can’t really afford; we get duped into believing we can get rich quick and without risk; we waste billions of dollars a year on fad diets that promise weight loss without effort; and we do the same with fitness equipment and programs that promise to make us fast and strong without breaking a sweat. Most of us joined the financial services industry, in part, for the unlimited income and total freedom with our time.
Apps are the ultimate promise of instant gratification. Just download the app and you’ve got a way to do something you want done right now. It’s very cool. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app for everything? Need referrals instantly? There’s an app for that! Need to execute a brilliant client interview right now? There’s an app for that! Need to know the right advice to give a client so they achieve their goals for a meeting in 10 minutes? There’s an app for that! Need to hire a great assistant tomorrow? There’s an app for that! Need to know what to say to engage strangers at a social or business networking event so they want to meet you for business tomorrow? There’s an app for that! Need more confidence to build your business? There’s an app for that! Need to know how to get wealthy people to trust you with all of your money? There’s an app for that!
And of course they are either free or only 99 cents, and there is very little effort involved in using them. The results are guaranteed.
My apologies, I was being tongue-in-cheek to make a point. Of course, there are no apps for these things because not everything can be taken care of with an app.
What technology can’t change — not even the brilliance of the iPhone or the many apps — is the fact that there are universal laws and principals that govern real and lasting success in life and in business. No matter how cool the technology becomes, there will never be an app for those things that require mastery.
This is good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is no app for that. The good news is that there is no app for that. There’s no app that will make you a black belt martial artist. Becoming a black belt will require a good instructor, lots of practice time, commitment, implementation in the real world and dedication over several years. Triathlete? Sorry, no app for that.
Successful business person? Sorry, no app for that.
Good spouse? Sorry, no app for that.
Good parent? Sorry, no app for that.
Engineer? Sorry, no app for that.
Doctor? Sorry, no app for that.
Financial advisor? Ditto. No app. Bummer.
There’s no app for conducting brilliant client interviews, asking for referrals, making follow-up calls, building the administrative and technical expert team to help you serve your clients, or for effective implementation and progress meetings. It’s all do-able, but there is no shortcut or silver bullet to produce results at the most important things in business and in life.
There’s no app, but there is a formula: a good instructor, lots of practice time, commitment, implementation in the real world and dedication over several years.
The flip-side is that most financial advisors waste years, even decades, seeking and trying to circumvent a truth that cannot be escaped: There’s no app for lasting success. No shortcut. No silver bullet.
How is this good news? If you are one of the few who are actually willing to do the work, over time, to build these skills, then you have a distinct and substantial advantage over what will no longer even be called the “competition.” Embark on the master’s journey and you will acquire all the ideal clients you need to generate all the business revenue to cover your expenses, pay your taxes and amass all the net income you want for a great lifestyle, your future goals and financial independence. What does a financial advisor need to master in order to build a successful business? Just six things.
1. Client service mastery
Help your clients get their entire financial house in perfect order and keep it that way forever. This starts with the implementation meeting, which is the first meeting after you’ve been hired, and cycles through three meetings per year to help your clients keep their financial house in perfect order.
2. Client acquisition mastery
Master these four elements of client acquisition:
- Ask for referrals.
- Make follow-up calls in a way that is engaging and leads to a reasonable percentage of referrals agreeing to a more in-depth phone appointment about how you can help them.
- Facilitate this phone appointment in an effective way so a reasonable percentage agree to a face-to-face initial client interview at your office.
- Conduct brilliant client interviews so a reasonable percentage hire you.
Build and lead a team of best-in-class subject-matter experts — technical and administrative — who help you help your clients get their entire financial house in perfect order and keep it that way forever.
4. Communication and people skills mastery
Ask the right questions, listen emphatically and give your advice with conviction in a way that’s all about them, so your clients can take action and implement.
5. Mindset mastery
Think like a business owner instead of a practitioner. Focus on what you can control and don't get distracted by events out of your control like the market, or the economy, or world problems and conflicts.
6. Time, priority and calendar mastery
Run your business instead of letting it run you. Know your priorities, put them on your calendar as appointments with yourself and others, and develop the habit of honoring your calendar.
These are the important things that are required to tap your true potential as a financial advisor. There will never be an app. The sooner you embark on the master’s journey, the sooner you will enjoy the benefits of mastery.