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Financial Services can be an incredibly wonderful industry if you are successful. Unfortunately over 75% of the people who pass the series 7 exam, fail out of the industry in the first few years. These results are in spite of very professional hiring strategies that include psychological testing and a whole host of other algorithms expected to choose only people who have a very high chance of success.


I reject all of that and simply believe that most financial advisors try to keep up with their competitors without concentrating on their own strengths and weaknesses.  I believe that advisors should be trying to differentiate themselves from other advisors who either don’t know how to or won’t make the effort to break away from the crowd. Instead of trying to be like everyone else they should be striving for a total package of skills and rubrics that will allow them to be unique and appeal to an audience who really appreciates what they bring to the party.


Jerry Garcia said* it all with his most famous quote when comparing the Grateful Dead to other bands, he simply said, “We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice but the people who like licorice really like licorice.”


You don’t have to appeal to everyone as long as the people you appeal to can’t do without you. Be different!!


One of the things that will help differentiate you from others is to create repeatable processes. This can be in the areas of opening accounts, client servicing, client retention and in the processes you choose for managing money just to name a few. At least half your week should be scripted with repeatable processes. This will really make you different from most others.


You should also subscribe to the belief that the client experience should be a totally unforgettable experience.


When some one walks into or calls your office it should be equivalent to a 5-star experience.

  • Have a real person answer the phone.

  • Put fresh flowers in your office.

  • Schedule yourself so that no one will ever have to wait once they arrive for an appointment.

  • Have a loose-leaf binder made of leather filled with testimonials to you sitting on the table in your waiting room in case someone arrives early.

  • Dress better than everyone else.

  • Learn how to communicate better as well.

  • Know what their interest are and ask them about them.

  • Provide crystal glassware.

  • If you serve coffee or tea, make sure it is premium and fresh.

  • Ask your client how their spouse, their children or grandchildren are doing.

  • Ask them how they are doing. Let them know you care.

 

Be at least one percent better than anyone else all of the time at everything.


Make sure what you do and what you are good at square up with your value statement. The value statement can be one of the most differentiating factors.


And finally care more than anyone else cares. Your clients want to know that you really care about them. Find ways to communicate that to your clients.


The reason all of these things are important is that you are trying to turn your clients into apostles, so whenever they are in a social situation they may relate to their acquaintances stories about how wonderful their experience is with you.

 

  • I first heard this comparison from Don Connelly

 

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I had the privilege of studying under Professor Douglas Vickers at the Wharton School, an experience that profoundly changed my thinking.

Back in the early 1970’s it was the trend in business schools to teach students how to optimize everything subject to various constraints. The science of linear programming was in its infancy. So, for example a student was challenged with optimizing the asset side of the balance sheet subject to the constraint of the liability side or vice versa. Dr. Vickers contribution was realizing that the process of optimization should be dynamic and there should be a simultaneous optimization of both sides of the balance sheet which he called the Optimum Optimorum.

Years later, I encountered a philosopher by the name of Tom Morris who introduced the notion of “Creating a Robust Capacity to Enjoy the Process.” It was one of his 7 Cs for success, and then it struck me that Tom was applying Dr. Vickers ‘concept to life /work balance. His message resonated: why not align our daily pursuits with those we cherish and enjoy. While not every career can lend itself to that ideal many of the careers in the financial service industry do. If you are a wholesaler or a financial advisor, you have some degree of autonomy about who you select as clients. So, if you are resigned to spending forty hours a week or more with your clients, why not find clients who share the same values you share, have the same interest you have, and who are likely to enjoy doing the same things you enjoy doing.


The starting point is to take a self-inventory of yourself. What are the things that are most important to you? If family is the most important thing for you, then set your priorities to make the most out of your relationships with your parents, spouse, children and possibly grandchildren. Put important events with your family members on your calendar first.

Then make a list of the things you like and are passionate about including all your favorite interest. Next go through your list of clients and find how many of them have the same interest you have. Look for a way to enjoy spending time with your clients, specifically doing the things you have in common. Perhaps you can occasionally do your quarterly review on the golf course or standing in a stream with a fly rod or attending a football game or maybe call them and see if they are up for a run followed by a stop at Starbucks.

If you are conscious of this, then over time your book of clients will become more and more like a book of friends. People do not often fire their friends. If you are inclined to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with your clients, think about how much nicer that would be doing it with people you like and have a great respect for.


The old Mark Twain quote of “Find a job you love, and you will never work a day of your life” is an attempt to introduce this concept, but ignores the fact that in any profession, including ours, there is a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears involved. No one can reach the pinnacle of their profession without it. Yet spending a lifetime doing business with people you like can certainly make it all worthwhile and allows you to experience the optimum optimorum of life.

 

 

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In the dynamic landscape of modern business, staying competitive and adaptive is paramount to success. Regardless of industry or size, companies must continuously evaluate their strategies, operations, and performance to navigate challenges and seize opportunities effectively. One powerful approach to achieve this is through regular consultations with experienced business advisors or consultants, ideally scheduled every three years. Such periodic assessments offer a myriad of advantages that can significantly enhance organizational efficiency, innovation, and sustainability.


Firstly, engaging a consultant every three years provides a fresh perspective on the business's operations, structure, and goals. Over time, internal stakeholders may become entrenched in habitual processes or overlook inefficiencies due to familiarity. Consultants, however, bring an outsider's viewpoint, unencumbered by internal biases or preconceptions. This fresh set of eyes can identify areas for improvement, innovation, and growth that may have been overlooked internally.


Moreover, consultants bring specialized expertise and knowledge that may be lacking within the organization. Whether it's in areas such as market research, financial analysis, or strategic planning, consultants often possess deep insights and best practices gleaned from working with diverse clients across various industries. Leveraging this expertise can help businesses make more informed decisions and adopt industry-leading practices, thereby enhancing competitiveness and resilience.


Additionally, regular consultations provide an opportunity for businesses to benchmark their performance against industry standards and peers. Consultants can conduct comprehensive assessments, comparing key metrics, processes, and strategies to those of competitors or industry leaders. This benchmarking exercise not only highlights areas where the business is excelling but also identifies potential gaps or areas for improvement. Armed with this comparative analysis, organizations can fine-tune their strategies and operations to better align with industry trends and customer expectations.


Furthermore, periodic consultations serve as a proactive measure to mitigate risks and adapt to changing market dynamics. The business landscape is constantly evolving, with emerging technologies, regulatory changes, and shifting consumer preferences reshaping industries at a rapid pace. Consultants can help businesses anticipate and navigate these changes effectively, ensuring they remain agile and resilient in the face of uncertainty. By staying ahead of the curve, organizations can minimize disruptions, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge.


Another advantage of regular consultations is the opportunity for skills development and capacity building within the organization. Consultants not only offer strategic guidance but also impart knowledge, tools, and methodologies that enable internal teams to enhance their capabilities. Through training workshops, coaching sessions, or collaborative projects, consultants empower employees to tackle challenges more effectively and drive continuous improvement. This knowledge transfer not only strengthens the organization's talent pool but also fosters a culture of learning and innovation.


Moreover, engaging a consultant every three years demonstrates a commitment to accountability and transparency, both internally and externally. By subjecting the business to external scrutiny and evaluation, organizations signal their dedication to performance excellence and stakeholder satisfaction. This transparency can enhance trust and credibility among investors, customers, and partners, ultimately bolstering the company's reputation and brand value.


In conclusion, regular consultations with experienced business consultants every three years offer a multitude of advantages that can drive organizational growth, resilience, and innovation. From providing fresh perspectives and specialized expertise to facilitating benchmarking and risk mitigation, consultants play a pivotal role in helping businesses navigate complexities and achieve their full potential. By embracing periodic assessments as a strategic imperative, organizations can position themselves for sustained success in an ever-changing business landscape.

 

This blog was written by Artificial Intelligence

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, 2023

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