Sidney C. Walker
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November 2011

"The Secret to Success for Relationship-
Oriented Financial Advisors..."

by Sidney C. Walker


The academic learning model, which is the basis for most education in our culture, has some basic logical objectives. First is to figure everything out first so we can minimize risk and avoid mistakes. We are taught to learn everything we can about a subject first before we take any action. From a prospecting standpoint, this means we try to figure out who the person is who will most likely buy our product or service first before we make contact. The idea is that we don't want to waste time talking to people who are not likely candidates for our product or service. We only want to talk to qualified prospects.


This all sounds great and certainly makes logical sense but unfortunately if you are a relationship-oriented financial advisor, this is more likely a prescription for disappointing sales results.


Success leaves clues. If you listen carefully to successful entrepreneurs being interviewed, they usually say some version of two things when giving advice to new members of the club. First, trust your intuitive instincts or "trust your gut," and second, make as many mistakes as you can as fast as you can. In case it takes a minute for this to sink in, this advice is exactly the opposite of the academic model!


It would appear that the academic model and the advice of successful entrepreneurs are in opposition. One of the things I have been told by hundreds of relationship-oriented financial advisors is that they don't feel they are putting their strengths to their best use. So what is the greatest strength of a relationship-oriented financial advisor you ask? It is the ability to meet and connect with new people, to establish relationships.


Herein lies the secret to success for relationship-oriented financial advisors. Go meet new people! Meet as many new people as you can. And, don't be too concerned if they don't fit the profile of your ideal client. You get energy every time you meet someone new. You have a new contact. You increase your network. Most important, you have no idea who needs what you are offering and you have no idea who knows the people you want to know.


I am not saying that you don't pay attention to the criteria of your ideal client. What I am saying is that you don't want to become so scientific in your approach to prospecting that you forget the magic of simply meeting new people. I like to call it "mystical momentum." If you are committed to serving people in your capacity as a financial advisor and you make a genuine effort to meet new people, you will find yourself meeting people who fit your ideal criteria in ways you never expected or could have figured out.


You could say that both the academic model and the advice of entrepreneurs have merit. The academic model tends to make us more analytical which then tends to make us less outgoing than we need to be. Push yourself to meet new people without worrying about whether they qualify as a client. I guarantee good things will happen in ways you never expected. And, besides it's more fun to let go of the pressure to make every new acquaintance fit the profile of your ideal client.


Remember, it is the sales activity that is more important than your thoughts about it. Action creates results. Thinking about taking action doesn't create any results. If you are out meeting with people, you will naturally end up with the right clients without having to over analyze or over control the process. In other words, part of life you can figure out, most of life you can't figure out. Therefore to balance analysis with intuitive instincts seems to work the best for most advisors. Personally, I think your intuitive mind is a lot smarter than your analytical mind. You get to decide on the mix.


Have a peaceful Thanksgiving,

Toll-free: 877-985-3297



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