As I began a coaching session with my client, Carol, I picked up on a touch of despair in her voice. She shared her doubt, concern and fear about finding success as a financial adviser.
Her turmoil had been stirring for months, and there wasn’t anything I could say to change her mindset (at least initially). So, I asked her one question, a question I had never asked any other clients: “Do you want me to call a few of my women clients who at one time felt the same way you do and have since found success? Maybe you should hear their stories?” She said yes.
I called Gail, a 30-year veteran, who, a few years ago had been struggling with her business. But she turned her business around, increasing production 60 percent in one year! Almost two years later she was up 75 percent from her previous-year numbers. After explaining Carol’s concerns to Gail, she couldn’t wait to offer up her success story.
Next, I called Viola, a 20-year veteran who just three years ago had similar feelings of being lost and alone in an office full of other advisers. She had been looking for direction, structure and a way to reach the next level. But, she felt she had nobody to help her until we began weekly coaching sessions. We mapped out a plan to find the right adviser who was open to getting out of the business and structuring a deal to buy his client base. After many months and many meetings, she was able to buy a book of clients, doubling her assets.
I made one last call to a client who was a new adviser. Just six months prior, Janet had transferred to a new firm to join another adviser in a team. She had been a referral for me from one of my best clients and she and her business partner were open and eager to build a solid team structure. With systems in place and their increased connections, their pipeline was growing. “I would love to tell her she isn’t alone and that she can make it in this industry,” Janet said.
I then arranged a conference call.
The primary reason for the call was to help Carol hear that it is very common to have challenges in this business, and that for every challenge experienced, there is almost always a solution. I also wanted to let her know she wasn’t alone with her fears and struggles. Everyone one of the women on the call understood what Carol was going through.
Gail told her story of what her life had been like when she was full of anxiety, fear and angst; how not having the right processes, structure and sales expertise had held her back. Next, Viola explained how she too had been lost and alone. Finally, Janet explained that her frustrations revolved around not knowing where to begin. The magnitude of things that needed to be done in order to have a well-run business had felt overwhelming to her.
Carol listened and with a little coaxing from me opened up to tell her tale. They could relate to her feelings of fear.
Creating Your Battle Plan
The interesting thing about success is that when people with integrity start to succeed they can’t wait to help others succeed as well.
Each woman patiently waited while the others explained how they turned their businesses around, what they were continuing to do to succeed and what they recommended to Carol to do as well. But the how-to tips was not the message I wanted Carol to absorb. I knew we would customize solutions to fill her needs. I wanted her to have confidence she could turn obstacles into opportunities.
By the end of the call, Carol had a renewed sense of purpose, and confidence that she could do the same as these women had.
Becoming a Hero
Within minutes of the call, Carol emailed the women thanking them for being “hero” figures. Since then, communication between them has continued, and a monthly think tank is being developed. I am confident that one day Carol will also become somebody’s hero.
So what does any of this have to do with you? Maybe it’s time you became somebody’s hero. If you are a successful adviser, think about a colleague or young adviser, for whom your story could provide a boost.
Daniel C. Finley
St. Paul, Minn.