As memories of the holiday season fade into the past, so should the season’s “holiday objections”—the excuses that avoidant prospects gave you to justify why they could not meet with you during those busy weeks. Interestingly enough, as you pick up the phone well into the new year to reconnect, your prospects may create new objections (or should we say excuses) for not wanting to meet. And, why is that?
In the financial services industry, we as advisers hear excuses on a daily basis: “I’m busy.” “I didn’t get the information in the mail, can you send it again?” “I received your information, but haven’t had time to read it.”
Using excuses to mask fear is not exclusive to your clients. By now, you may have already created a number of reasons (or excuses) why you are not implementing and reaching your own 2010 goals. “I’m too busy to prospect.” “My clients are demanding all of my attention.” Or, “I forgot to set up my seminars this year.” All are common examples of what many advisers say to avoid engaging in and completing activities that they perceive to be difficult, painful or time consuming.
Most advisers at some point in their careers are faced with the reality that they are not satisfied with their level of success. If this sounds familiar, rest assured you are not alone. However, the truth is that you are probably in part where you are because of excuses: the market is too high, the market is too low, cold calling doesn’t work, prospects aren’t interested in a second opinion. Whatever the excuses are, you simply must stop making them.
The key to reaching the next level of success in your business is to admit, acknowledge and understand that there is no time for excuses. Admit that, if you do specific activities, you get specific results. Acknowledge that you must stop making excuses and start learning better ways to utilize your time doing more effective and efficient activities. And understand that excuses are merely your mind’s way of defending your inaction to help you avoid responsibilities or tasks that are challenging, stressful or time depleting.
At the first sign of procrastination or avoidance, ask yourself this question: “What concerns me most about doing this? And, why?”
If you find that the first answer that comes to mind is vague, such as, “I just don’t want to do it” or “I’m just too busy,” you need to continue asking more questions to get through your own smoke screen objection and get to the heart of the negative belief systems that you have. Use questions such as, “In addition to that is there anything else that is holding me back?” Or, “Why do I feel this way?”
Often, you will find that your procrastination (similarly to your prospects’) is fear-based. Use education to go beyond the excuse. One way to do this is to educate yourself to understand everything you can about how to be effective at each of the following facets of your business: time Management, prospecting, selling, relationship building, marketing, client servicing, product/market knowledge and portfolio management.
Then, put your newfound knowledge to the test. Your new actions will create new reference points and soon you will eliminate doubt in your own abilities. And, you will have … no more excuses!
Daniel C. Finley
Advisor Solutions Inc.
St. Paul, Minn.