At some point in their career path, advisers might look at the success of their peers and wonder, “Why aren’t great things happening for me, too?”
Some examples might be a colleague taking over a multimillion-dollar 401(k) plan or landing a large roll-over or insurance account. While you may believe that luck has something to do with it, the truth is that your actions create your own outcomes.
Chris Grosser, a successful entrepreneur and photographer, said it best when he said, “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”
There are a few elements to consider if you want your desired outcomes to occur: you need to consistently (on a daily basis, preferably) implement action steps, this includes getting to tasks that you least like first so that you ensure that they get done. Also learning from both your successes and failures from the past and mapping out ways to maintain what worked and replace what didn’t.
The following are some suggestions that I utilize in my professional development and coaching programs. See if you can relate to what the adviser in my example is going through when applying the process yourself.
Step 1: Consistently Implement Action
Most advisers who want better results miss consistently implementing action steps. Take Steve F., a 15-year veteran client of mine, for example. During our initial session he admitted that although he wanted to have a record year, he rarely prospected because of the anxiety he felt just thinking about getting rejected. It had overwhelmed and swamped his level of success.
I explained that being consistent in tackling items that are most challenging to you will end up reducing anxiety. Avoiding things that make us uncomfortable will keep blocking your way every time. I recommended that he trust me and for 20 business days he had to prospect and record his level of anxiety on a scale of 1-10 (1 being lowest and 10 being highest) to determine my theory. He reluctantly agreed but also knew he needed to move out of his comfort zone to forge ahead.
Step 2: Do the First Thing First
At this point, most advisers need to prioritize their tasks and, unfortunately, it’s the least desirable task that must be accomplished first.
To ensure that Steve prospected each day as his No. 1 task, he needed to begin each morning with a list of people to call, knowing exactly what he was going to say and how to handle the inevitable objections. That way he was prepared as best he could be. He then needed to make a game out of making the calls by trying to contact 10 people before 10 a.m. If he did that, he got to reward himself in some small way to motivate him to continue conquering that first of the day task.
Step 3: Look for the Lesson
One of the best ways to change a perspective about any undesirable task is to view doing the task as a learning opportunity. After Steve finished prospecting each day, he would record one lesson that he learned. The next day and so forth, he would review the list of lessons he had documented so that it would reinforce positive activity. It didn’t take him long before he started to look forward to adding to his list.
Step 4: Create Accountability
Consistency is important when creating productive new habits and in order to create consistency advisers need accountability. Without accountability, it’s too easy to slip back into unproductive behaviors. I had Steve begin emailing me his level of anxiety before and after prospecting for each of those 20 days. I also had him send me his “lessons learned list” each day. In addition, he had to track his appointments set, attended, individuals in his pipeline and any new business that he landed.
Why Crafting Desired Outcomes Works
After those 20 days, Steve had changed his perspective on prospecting. He realized that doing the aforementioned steps helped him redirect his focus from one of fear to one of faith that he could actually obtain his goals. The reason this process worked was simple—he had a stepwise approach and wasn’t winging things or procrastinating anymore.
If you are ready to take your business to the next level, schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with me by emailing Melissa Denham, director of client servicing.
Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.