“Who wants to take the referral challenge?” I asked a group of financial advisers at the end of a recent group coaching session. The group had just finished a discussion about effectively creating, maintaining and sustaining a referral campaign.
During our discussion I shared a story about Sean K., a rookie adviser I asked the very same question to a few years ago. Sean had quickly taken me up on the challenge, which was to use the material he learned during coaching to ask for one referral a day from his clients. A week later he proudly reported that he not only asked for one referral a day, but asked numerous clients for referrals throughout the day and because of that, he received eight referrals that week.
When I asked the current group about taking the referral challenge, you could have heard a pin drop; none of the advisers were willing to be accountable to apply the material they learned. Why? I believe it comes down to what I call “the will to succeed,” which I define as having the drive and determination to better yourself and succeed at whatever it is that you would like to improve.
Now, you might be wondering if any of the advisers were even interested in asking for referrals. I assure you that earlier in the group session each adviser stated how important referrals are and that he or she wanted to be better at generating them.
Don’t Let Fear of Failure Hold You Back
This brings me to the question: What is it that drives some to take action in pursuit of their goals and not others?
I believe that fear of failure stops some in their tracks—the fear that taking action will be more painful than not taking action. Typically, this results in procrastination or avoidance until it gets too painful to procrastinate any longer. A common example of this is having a productive month followed by a disappointing one. During the great month, the thought of prospecting, setting new appointments and putting new people into the pipeline seems painful. Why do it if you don’t have to is a common attitude. That is, until the next month comes and you realize that you don’t have anyone in the pipeline and you find yourself scrambling to prospect again.
How To Increase Your Will to Succeed
The answer lies in increasing your confidence level so that you decrease your fear of failure. Building confidence is really a two part equation: first, you need to increase your technical expertise, and second, you need to gain experience in actually applying what you have learned.
In the case of Sean K., he simply believed the new technical expertise he learned in group coaching would get him a better result than what he had done in the past. However, what Sean did unlike the recent group members was to apply the material and gain the experience. As a result, each new referral reinforced his new belief system that asking for referrals was not painful but fun. Remember, you can’t win the game if you don’t play.
If you can relate to this story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share what fear is holding you back from success. I would be happy to help you gain the technical expertise to find your will to succeed.
Daniel C. Finley
St. Paul, Minn.