Excellence Is a Habit – How to Develop it
There is no convenient escalator to success, but rather a stairway which needs to be climbed step by step. No one becomes a great advisor overnight, or by being endowed with extra talent.
Those that succeed do so because they’ve plied their trade day after day to such a degree that they have become the best at what they do. They have a plan and they stick to it; they understand what’s important and put their focus into these areas. They became ‘brilliant at the basics’.
Develop excellence through practice
In the words of Aristotle, “Excellence…is not an act, but a habit.” You, just like anyone else, have every opportunity to succeed so long as you develop the habit of excellence. You need to devote time and energy into practicing your soft skills, and use them relentlessly even in the face of bad markets.
Practice will make you perfect
Create an effective referral script and practice until saying it becomes a habit. Listen to a recording of your voice on the phone. People judge us on how we look, our eye contact and on our tone of voice. Is your voice clear or mumbled, soothing or irritating? Do you radiate confidence and enthusiasm? Everything you say and do are advertisements for you. What do you want people to think as they walk away after a conversation with you? See things from their point of view – would you want to do business with you?
Achieve excellence by having a plan
Know where you want to go. You’re here as a result of the decisions you’ve made in the past, and likewise the future is based on decisions you will make today. Keep pushing towards your goals. Focus on the outcome, and don’t get distracted. Have a comprehensive business strategy and become highly disciplined. Don’t ever abandon it.
Have plans in place for your business in terms of marketing, prospecting and branding. Face problems head on. Keep physically fit, and stay enthusiastic no matter what. Stay away from boring and negative people. Appreciate what you do for a living and have a good work ethic. Write a list of tasks every day – then do them.
Make it a rule to stay on track
There will be ups and downs, good months and bad months, so develop the habit of staying on track and becoming more predictable. Too many advisors react to bad markets by re-inventing the wheel. Great advisors stick to the plan. They don’t feel the need to scramble for a way out, because they have already planned for contingencies. Be prepared. Write your bull market plan in a bear market and your bear market plan in a bull market.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Develop Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and see things from your clients’ point of view. Empathy and understanding are at the core of becoming the best advisor.
Have a robust value proposition. Be interested in your clients and go all out to understand their needs, whether it be to increase their income, reduce taxes or both. Make clients understand that you can solve their problems, find their pain and make it go away. Learn how to deliver great benefit statements. Get them to understand that you can and will help them achieve the retirement they deserve. Don’t fake it. Always be authentic and speak to clients on their level.
Create great stories that you can tell over and over again to cut through the white noise. Decide in advance the message you want your clients to take away. Give your stories life, color, time and place. Present word pictures featuring the obstacles standing between your clients and their goals, obstacles that you can help them hurdle.
If there’s one essential habit to develop – it’s getting appointments
Nothing happens unless you get an appointment, so get one, then another one, and another one – that is your number one goal. Develop excellent time management skills. Get other tasks done quickly so you can sit with clients. That’s the only way you will grow your business and get more referrals.
If you want to excel as a financial advisor, remember that excellence is a habit – develop it.
Learn to put these repeatable processes into place and you will become more than just ‘good’ at what you do, you will become the best at what you do.