“The greatest investment you can make is in yourself.” —Warren Buffet
“I have too many leads and am having a hard time finding the right person to hire to help me?” Do you say that? Why or why not?
What makes you unique, different, and special? Why should I do business with you instead of your competition? There are no industries where these questions are more important to answer than in the financial and insurance industries. Competition is fierce. Failure to truly differentiate yourself can prove to be a slow death. If you do financial planning, just doing a comprehensive financial plan is not the differentiator it once was. Providing financial planning, advising, and insurance assessment services to consumers is a much more crowded competitive space than it was just a few years ago. Even those holding their Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations don’t have the edge like they used to because the percentage of advisors holding these designations has nearly doubled in the last decade. Financial professionals and advisors are facing a crisis of differentiation unlike anything before.
“I strongly encourage anyone who is a business owner to take a serious look at the program, especially if you want to have a business that will be highly successful whether you’re present or not. The results that I have experienced within the first 90 days after attending the first session have been phenomenal.” —Chris W., Financial Professional
In addition, many of the financial services are now brutally commoditized by technology. Technology advancement is a doubled edged sword when it comes to the growth of your business. While it makes performing services more efficient and easier, more and more consumers are using the internet, other resources, and tools to do their own analyses and plans. Having a strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is an absolute must if you want to get (and stay) on a continuous growth path.
Honestly answer these questions:
- What makes you or your firm unique, different, and special compared to your competition?
- Why should someone do business with you instead of your competition?
- Do the people who know you truly trust everything about you?
- Do your clients believe you care about them more so than earning their money?
- Do you meet your clients’ expectations in every way?
- Are you highly productive and efficient in your everyday work?
- Do you have a system that generates ongoing quality leads?
- Do you have a strong social media presence that’s marketing you and your business?
- Do you have a specialty or niche market?
- Are you providing ongoing education to your network of clients and contacts?
“I don’t know that I ever, in my wildest dreams expected this much success. It is not possible for me, in mere words, to explain how much you have helped me with my life and new business! Your program challenged me to look into the future, create a vision of how I could transform my job into something much more, and confront my fears that were keeping me from dreaming big! WOW! I have doubled the size of my business since I started with you, and the sky appears to be the limit right now! I am so thankful that I took the leap of faith and committed to it because now I can see the full value of your program; it is the best investment I have yet to make!“
—Dave R., Broker, Owner
Common Challenges For Financial Professionals And Firms
While we see some overall common challenges between different professional groups, each one seems to have its own nuances. All of the Think. Focus. Act. training and coaching will help you and your firm improve in a variety of areas. In addition, the following list shows some of the areas we’ve found to be more critical to address and excel at for financial professionals and firms. We have a number of very specific strategies to help not only improve in these areas but to set you far apart from your competition.
- Trust With Potential Clients
- Studies show that 55% say “it’s hard for me to know who to trust for financial advice”. Even though most financial professionals in the industry are ethically sound, Wall Street along with a few bad apples have soured and blemished it. Plenty of consumers are hesitant to trust any type of financial advisor. A Deloitte study revealed that just 14% of consumers highly trust life insurers, 13% trust annuity carriers, and only 11% trust insurance agents and brokers. That’s a lot of mistrust by your prospects. The good news is that your services are needed whether or not consumers recognize it. And this means there is huge opportunity for those advisors who exude trust and likability.
- Clients Feeling Their Interests Are Put First
- Everybody says they put their clients’ interests first. And every client realizes that’s just talk. In some of the more savvy clients can actually get turned off by these statements if you don’t clearly explain just how their needs are always put first. Today’s business climate is loaded with skeptical consumers. When they feel that you’re the real deal and can see it with your actions, the stage is set for massive growth and referrals.
- Managing Client Expectations
- It can be challenging for some advisors to explain to their clients how they can add value. Obviously portfolio management is a key element. However, often times the bigger issue is with behavioral modification. This gets into the importance of the advisor always adding value in the client relationship. Instead of getting caught up in the finicky market fluctuations, change the ways clients think about their life and the overall economy. Our personality and emotional intelligence training is an area that can greatly help in managing client expectations.
- Keeping In Touch With Clients, Prospects, And Referral/Alliance Partners
- The importance of consistent, effective communication with the three critical relationships (clients, prospects, and referral/alliance partners) can not be overstated. Every business should be doing this. It’s even more important for financial professionals to be doing so due to the sensitivity and additional fears their clients and prospects face. The reality is that there is only so much time in a day to get everything done. So to effectively excel in this area, you need a simple, efficient, inexpensive, and personalized system. The dividends you get back with this system are immeasurable and in essence last forever.
- Operating Efficiencies
- In our experience, even those individuals and firms that have good business systems, processes, and procedures in place, there is still much room for improvement. You can’t get around the multitude of paperwork and regulations. Unfortunately, this myriad of procedures and paperwork can result in weak efficiencies that ultimately cut into bottom line profits. There is always a better way. A step-by-step approach and analysis in your workflow is essential if you want to raise your productivity and efficiencies to the maximum level. As with most other areas, we use a proven process to get you there.
- Human Capital and Staffing
- For many firms staffing is a crisis area as firms struggle to recruit and retain the right talent. There are several ways to reduce and even solve this concern. The training and coaching topics we’ve listed on our site all substantially help this challenge. Creating the right culture and individual personal development of the professional staff are the keys. Once your culture is right, the staff receives effective personal development, and the real desires of the staff are met, your firm becomes a magnet. A magnet for attracting new talented staff and a magnet to retain them.
“I appreciate all the time you have taken to personally guide me through the course over the last two years. It has really made a difference in my day-to-day activities. I work smarter now, not harder. Your program has been instrumental in developing my career and advancing production. In our first year, we increased production by 38% (over the prior year). (Two years later) production has increased two-fold. Again, thank you for helping me turn the corner on my business. I will highly recommend your services to others. Your program is priceless!!”
—Don L., Financial Professional, Owner
Obstacles And Opportunities For Maximizing Growth Potential
As with the above common challenges, there are some additional areas that can hold back financial professionals and their firms from accelerating their growth. How are you doing in the following areas?
- Quality Lead Generation-Quality leads mean people who need your services. This can make or break a practice. Prospects can be reluctant to admit they need what you’re selling. For example, insurance professionals selling life insurance can often face this obstacle. Ironically, sometimes prospects are afraid to plan for one of their own looming obstacles like how they will fund their retirement. Like other parts of running a successful business, ongoing lead generation systems must be in place. And those systems need to create quality leads not just warm bodies that really don’t need you. Quality leads come from strong referrals. Think. Focus. Act. coaches you to spend less time in meetings with prospective clients and to become so focused that you win the majority of the prospects you see. We help you create a strong, documented referral system so that you consistently have a pipeline of new quality leads that turn into lucrative clients.
- Social Media-Like it or not, social media is here to stay. And if you don’t want to get left behind, you must jump on this bandwagon. Is it time consuming? Yes, if you waste time playing and don’t have a well defined social media strategy with documented processes and procedures. The stakes are too high for you to ignore the enormous opportunity social media platforms can provide. Social media provides an entryway to unprecedented client and prospect engagement. We find that financial professionals are either flying high or floundering or even sinking with their social media. Professionals, especially younger ones, who are doing social media the right way see increased client engagement with accompanying income increases.
- Education-Studies show 52% say “to me investing seems complicated”. The majority of people don’t understand the ins and outs of financial planning or insurance. Studies have shown close to 40% of clients to be dissatisfied with their broker’s performances regarding client education. Marketing is about continually educating your sphere of influence on all the supreme advantages and benefits of doing business with you, the reasons they can trust you, how you’re different from your competitors, and the results you provide. The real power comes when you become the thought leader in your area of expertise. Failure to provide effective education can result in your services being viewed as commodities, you earning commodity rates, and clients seeing no real value or uniqueness in working with you and your firm.
- Specialization and Niche Markets-Contrary to what many believe, being too much of a generalist can be holding back your growth and profitability. The trend in a lot of professional services is towards specialization and serving niche markets. Being a specialist does not mean you have to turn down opportunities you’re suited for that fall outside your target areas. Odds are you or your firm have some specialization areas. The bigger questions is, “What are you doing to attract more clients to your specialty or niche?” With the proper strategy, you should be able to explode your area of specialization. The right marketing systems, along with other maximum performance coaching, can provide you more leads in your niche than you’ll ever need.
“I wanted to send a brief note of thanks and appreciation for the excellent program that Mark Eldridge has provided to me. The program has helped me to think and act more like a strategic business owner and less like an employee of my business. In fact, I now strongly endorse his process to our entire firm and staff. Teaching people how to succeed in our business is a difficult task in itself. Teaching them how to manage their business and personal lives at the same time makes it that much more difficult. Mark’s process teaches us how to build our business without being the business. If you follow the principals of the program, you will have more fun, make more money and have control of your life. I would encourage anyone to take a serious look at what this program can do for you.”
—Jay M., Financial Professional, Owner
In general, when it comes to the Wall Street, consumers are more afraid of sky diving than investing their money in the stock market. But did you know people are equally afraid of investing as they are of dying? In fact, a study done by Harris Interactive showed across all generation groups that people actually ranked investing in the stock market more fearful than dying (62% vs. 58%). What does mean for you? You can be your clients’ most trusted advisor and significantly calm their fears. You won’t likely eliminate all their fears but you can be an extremely valuable and powerful force in their lives. We have the strategies to help you maximize your effectiveness in all areas of your financial career and in your life.
CLICK HERE and send a LinkedIn connection request to connect with Mark Eldridge, Founder and CEO of Think. Focus. Act.
For profitable expansion of your business and career, contact Think. Focus. Act. at 402-881-8873.
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