Practice management: Don't do the same thing expecting a different result

By Sandy Schussel

Sandy Schussel, LLC


Burt, an independent financial planner who was already making a good living, was looking for a way to further increase his sales. He started a marketing (or prospecting) program, paying attention to the fact that clients are usually tuned to radio station WII-FM (What’s In It For Me).

Refocusing his initial conversations to be completely client-centric was, for Burt, a radical departure from the “I’m building my business” approach he had been using for years. Burt called me, concerned that the work we were doing was not going to be effective. “I speak with a group of my peers on the phone every morning,” he started, “And when I told them today what I’ve been trying out with you, they told me it wouldn’t work and that I should go back to doing what I was doing before.”

“So now, I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing,” he concluded.

“Burt, are any of the people in your peer group making significantly more money than you are?” I asked him.

“No,” he responded, “One of the reasons we all meet is that we’re all at about the same level.”

“What if all of the things you’ve been doing up until now got you all to that same level, but no higher?” I asked. Burt paused for a long moment and then responded: “I see what you’re saying. If we don’t change our approach, we’ll keep getting the same outcome ... and making the same income.”

Albert Einstein is credited with having defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you’ve reached a certain level in your business or practice and can’t seem to get any further, then there may be a touch of insanity involved. You need to look first at the extent to which existing clients or customers are praising you. If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, but only that much, then you aren’t really doing enough, and this will show in the limited number of unsolicited referrals you are getting.

Burt recently told me that he had just experienced his best August ever. Burt’s success was about curing his insanity. Doing new and different things in his practice was the remedy he required.