Think like a Lifer – Being a Financial Advisor Is a Career, Not a Job
If anybody asks, you don’t have a job. You have a career. Think that way. Think like a lifer. You are here to stay.
A job involves the pursuit of money. A career involves the pursuit of a lifelong ambition.
A job is something you have to do. A career is something you love to do.
Jobs come and go. Careers last a lifetime.
People with jobs generate wages which allow them to fulfill their daily needs. People with careers set a course of action which lasts for years.
Careers are dignified. Jobs are not.
And most importantly, jobs entail making decisions for the short term. Careers entail making decisions that last for decades.
A Financial Advisor’s success depends upon his or her ability to create and maintain long-term relationships.
And short term decisions are detrimental to the health of long-term relationships.
Money you make at the expense of your client is bad profit. Clients don’t like bad profits. Think of that the next time you pay to check your luggage on a flight.
Money you make for doing the right thing is good profit. Clients have no problem when you profit from doing the right thing.
Your equity is not your clients. Your equity is your clients’ children’s children.
Short-term thinking will lure you into the trap of thinking that you must always be opening new accounts. Your service will slip.
Long-term thinking will focus you on nurturing and making better the relationships you do create. Your service will be far better. After all, you want your clients’ grandchildren to grow up to become clients, as well. Minnesota Fats reputedly said that in nine ball, he always thought three shots ahead. In straight pool, he always thought six shots ahead.
I have no doubt that you are great at making short-term decisions.
Short-term decision making has probably enabled you to do a lot of things right over the years. Short-term thinking can do a lot for you. The one thing it cannot do for you is enable you to grow.
Growing a business or nurturing a relationship both take a lot of time and a lot of long-term decision making. Marriages don’t last without a lot of work and long-term commitment. Neither do businesses.
The more you stay in touch with your clients, the more the client will use your services. The more your clients use your services, the less you will have to worry about the competition.
If you truly are a long-term thinker, you will find bad months to be less debilitating. Even bad years can be less devastating if put in proper context.
Temptation will become a thing of the past. Peter Drucker was right when he said stock options for executives are never a good idea. The executive with stock options cares less about how the company did that day or more about how the stock did that day.
In a recent survey, a number of CEOs of public companies were asked if they would make an investment that would make their company stronger and more sustainable and allow them to hit their return-on-investments goals, but cause them to miss only slightly their next quarter estimate. Eighty percent said ‘no.’
Rarity makes anything valuable and long-term thinking is becoming rare indeed.
Thinking of your clients as clients for life is a form of caring that is difficult to replicate. And caring deeply results in great service. Clients want great service and aren’t the least bit surprised when they don’t get it. Why don’t you decide to become the exception to the rule?
Forego the immediate gain if it can in any way harm the relationship. Don’t get restless. Be patient. If you think a month ahead or a year ahead, you’re competing with a lot of other Advisors. If you’re thinking years ahead, you have the road to yourself.
Long-term thinking is a habit. Get in the habit of thinking like a lifer.
If you think like a lifer, you may be interested in Don’s interview with estate planning specialist Mark Kaizerman about how to become the primary financial planner for an entire family.