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Carrying On When Life Happens

I can’t help but remember the Boston Marathon just one year ago—I live about a block from the finish line. While I wasn’t a spectator that day, I saw the smoke from the window of my condo and “sheltered in place” in the aftermath of the horrific events on April 15.

A year after the bombings, the stories of the victims and their families demonstrate the resiliency of the human spirit—the family that lost a loved one and now cheerleads for runners; the woman who is dancing again after losing part of her leg; the double amputee who is restarting his life with his fiancée and awaiting the birth of their baby.

Despite incredible loss, they’re continuing to pursue their goals and dreams. Their stories are a testament to our capacity to carry on—and thrive—in the face of serious obstacles.

Most of us will be fortunate not to experience a setback so severe. But at some point, negative events of some kind will likely intervene in an adviser’s life and business. Whether it’s health problems, the death of a loved one, or another unexpected event, the firm will be impacted while the adviser attends to these critical matters. That’s just life.

As Steven Covey points out, successful people make their business fit into their life—not the other way around. We can only try to take these events in stride, dealing with the issue at hand without losing sight of our goals. Take 2008, when the entire industry was suffering and a bit downtrodden. And now think about the recovery that’s occurred since then.

Whether in business or private life, we know that things don’t always go our way. Yet, it’s our resolve that determines the ultimate outcome. Life happens, but it doesn’t need to derail our dreams and aspirations.

Joni YoungwirthJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management

Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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The Waiting Place

What are you waiting for?

In Dr. Seuss’ Oh! The Places You’ll Go! he aptly describes the frustration of what he names The Waiting Place. Any time I feel stuck, jaded or impatient for what’s next, I re-read this insightful children’s book (I question whether it really is for children or, rather, for adults when we need a refresher on the exciting adventures life brings). I find comfort in the words that remind me that sometimes life includes transition stages that frankly can be boring.

Maybe you have to work for someone else a bit longer than you want to save enough cash to spin off on your own. Maybe you’re a few months into your new practice and you wish you were growing faster. Maybe you still have a year of CFP® certificant–qualifying experience to be allowed to use your letters. Maybe you want to move out of your home and into an office but haven’t found the right spot yet.

The Challenge and the Errors
The challenge comes in knowing when you’ve waited long enough and it’s time to charge forward. The error often is either (1) you are waiting for “the perfect time,” or (2) you waste the time while you wait.

For No. 1, you think, “If I plan and prepare perfectly then I will avoid failure.” Usually preparing 75 to 80 percent will get you where you need to be to take the leap. This way, you give yourself room to adapt as you view the reality of your next phase. Yes, have a plan; but know there is no time that is 100 pecent perfect to act. The longer you wait the more you fall victim to inertia. And that won’t help you create what you want.

The second error comes about as you get anxious or mad about the waiting. You focus more on what you don’t have and what you have to deal with in the present rather than draw energy from your future vision.

If you need more cash accumulated before you can go independent, then use the time in between to research technology, set up your firm, find outlets to reach your target audience, expand your competency, or get to know more professionals. Draft your first 10 blog posts you will use when you “go live.” As you can see, the options are endless.

Before you know it, you’ll be on your way out of The Waiting Place, and you’ll realize in hindsight it was a necessary respite.

How do you inspire yourself when you have to “wait” for your next stage? What’s stopping you from leaving The Waiting Place?

Kristin Harad 2014Kristin Harad, CFP®
Marketing trainer for advisers
San Francisco, CA

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Establishing Constructive Connections

There comes a time in every adviser’s career when he or she realizes how important good communication is with their peers, support staff, mentors and colleagues. But how does one know the best practices for establishing constructive connections without a guide?

Matt, a 26-year-old adviser, was just three years into the industry and found himself having to train and motivate a fellow “rookie” on the team, Jeff, who was 10 years older than him. After months of training, Matt began feeling that Jeff was starting to resent his help when his recommendations were quickly dismissed and Jeff continued to face the same challenges.

If this scenario sounds familiar, perhaps implementing the following formula will help you create constructive communications and better working relationships.

Start with the Positives
Let’s face it, nobody wants to be constantly criticized. Jeff would no sooner finish a cold call and Matt would be eagerly waiting to critique what he had overheard during Jeff’s conversation.

I coached both individuals, so knowing both sides of the story. I recommended to Matt that he make some notes then wait until the end of the day to meet with Jeff in private.  Then start the discussion with a list of positive remarks to reinforce Jeff’s great calling techniques. One example I suggested was: “You did a great job today following the format of the cold calling script…”

Transition with an Observation
It has been said that all manner of praise is irrelevant if followed by the word “but.” That’s because the listener will feel that any compliments given were a lead up to any true sentiments and hence insincere. To keep that from happening, it is important to transition with an observation. An example of this would be: “What I noticed is that you could be even more effective if…”

This example lets the listener know that you thought they were good at “X” and that by simply changing or adding a few things they could get even better results.

Recommend and Reinforce with Reasons
If you want to make an impact, you must give the listener a strong reason why they should apply your recommendations; explaining your own experience with the subject gives you credibility.

Here is an example: “You should add some of your own personal stories to your conversations. I did this and found that people were more receptive to speaking with me, because they could relate and they knew I was having a true dialogue with them rather than reading from a script.”

Putting It All Together
Now, here is how it sounds if you put the preceding three steps together:

You did a great job today following the format of the cold calling script, and what I noticed is that you could be even more effective if you add some of your own personal stories into your conversations. I did this and found that people were more receptive to speaking with me, because they could relate and they knew I was having a true dialogue with them rather than reading a script.”

This type of communication doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and preparation, but eventually you will find that it gets easier and it is well worth it as creating constructive connections always makes good business sense.

If you are interested in a complimentary consultation with Dan Finley, email Melissa Denham, Advisor Solution’s director of client servicing, at melissa@advisorsolutionsinc.com.

Dan FinleyDaniel C. Finley

Advisor Solutions
St. Paul, Minn.


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