Years ago, a financial planner called concerned about his business saying, “I read all of the business books I can but nothing happens.”
When I asked why he thought this occurred, he quickly admitted it was because he did not have a plan to apply and support anything he read about that he wanted to incorporate; he wasn’t taking action.
Dale Carnegie said it best when he said, “Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.” Unfortunately, the aforementioned planner didn’t use the knowledge that he had read about despite best intentions and simply went on with business as usual.
So how can you most efficiently apply what you learn and just get out there and do it? Here’s how: create your action process with detailed steps.
One of the saddest things I hear planners say is, “I know what I need to do, I just need to do it.” The reason they haven’t taken action is because they haven’t created a process for doing so and unless they do no real change will ever take place.
Let’s take a look at a step-by-step approach to taking action.
Step 1: Understand the New Process
You need to thoroughly map out any new process so that you know exactly what you need to do to implement it with the end in mind.
Take Robert T. for example, a veteran financial planner with 20 years of experience who unfortunately had become complacent in his business and needed to start prospecting again. As I coached him though a step-by-step process for turning strangers into clients we realized that he had a clog in his pipeline, he wasn’t closing. So, we worked on a sub-step that I refer to as “the psychology of closing the second appointment” and I introduced him to a tool I call “The Second Appointment Template Worksheet” so he could fully understand how to help prospects realize what they needed rather than trying to sell to them.
Step 2: Create a Deadline Driven Time Horizon to Begin
The next step is to make sure that you quickly take action by giving yourself a time horizon so that you have a deadline to begin and another to finish.
For Robert that due date was immediate since he had a big appointment coming up in which he could be gathering a million in new assets if all went as planned. Thus, I had him fill out the worksheet before our next session and we role played it.
Step 3: Put Your Plan into Action
Once you understand your process and create a deadline the next step is to put your plan into action.
Since Robert knew when his appointment was and had already role played it with me, he felt confident about the process. The extra preparation paid off because he effortlessly helped the prospect understand what he needed and why he should buy and turned the prospect into a client, gathering a million in new assets.
Step 4: Evaluate Your Process to Learn from It
One of the most difficult things for any planner to do is to admit they have challenges. However, once you do and are open to implementing solutions all that is left is to learn from successes as well as failures.
Robert learned that the process works. So much so that he used the tools mentioned above and has now (as of this writing) duplicated his success four times.
The Right Action Alleviates Anxiety
If you can relate to the anxiety that Robert was feeling when he realized that he was having a challenge with not closing the prospect, you aren’t alone. Most planners experience anxiety at some point in their business. The best solution is to take the steps to determine what to do, just do it and then evaluate how you did.
If you would like any of the tools mentioned in this piece, request them for free from our Melissa Denham, our director of client servicing.
Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.