Why Presence of Mind Is Crucial for Financial Advisors Success

Why Presence of Mind Is Crucial for Financial Advisors SuccessLet’s talk about presence of mind.

When wagon trains traveled across America, the trips were fraught with peril. Wagon masters hired scouts to go in advance of the wagons to look for potential danger. All human beings are hardwired to be on the lookout for danger. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The media serve as today’s scouts. We want to know what dangers lay ahead. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. And the media outlets do a great job. Be careful! The midterm elections are around the next bend. Heads up! A guy with Ebola rode a subway and went to a bowling alley. Caution! Russian planes are violating NATO airspace.

We cannot control the alerts. They come every day. Bad news sells. But we can control our reaction to the alerts. And that’s crucial.

Your clients are watching you. They pick up cues based on your behavior.

It is up to you to have presence of mind. And even the most seasoned Advisors have their bad moments.

Early in 2009, I did a conference call for our subscribers. The lone agenda item was to put that devastating market in context, to lend some presence of mind. I wanted to redirect my subscribers’ focus away from the bad news.

I said the market will recover and go on to set new highs. I wasn’t going out on a limb. Throughout history, the market has gone down, come back and gone on to set new highs. When I made that prediction, an Advisor yelled (Yelled!), “You are delusional.” I knew where he was focusing and I could only imagine where his clients were focusing as a result.

Perhaps the most underappreciated thing in your world is the success of long-term investing.

Clients know long-term investing works. They just don’t believe it. If they did, no investor would ever consider going to the sidelines. The fact is that fear trumps greed.

Every Advisor needs a strategy for retaining clients. It’s hard enough to get a good client in the first place. To lose one is heartbreaking.

Today’s lesson is this: Even the most hardened, most longtime client needs constant reassurance that he or she is doing the right thing. They need your presence of mind.

Clients are not trying to outperform the Dow. Clients are trying to secure a comfortable retirement.

It’s impossible to save enough money to retire in a fashion to which we are accustomed. We must make the money we can save grow. To make money grow means to flirt with risk. To flirt with risk means to climb onboard an emotional roller coaster. Once everyone’s seated and the safety harness is in place, off we go.

The ride will be periods of calm punctuated by moments of fear. The ride’s not the cool part. The cool part is getting off the ride knowing you did it. It helps getting through the scary part being with someone who has done that ride before, someone with presence of mind.

Presence of mind is not only important to keep your clients focused. It’s also important to keep you focused.

The journey is not the main focus. The destination is the main focus. Clients don’t want your process. They want what your process can do for them.

What we’re selling and what they’re buying are two different things. We’re selling a financial process and they’re buying peace of mind. Shame on us if we don’t have the presence of mind to remember what business we’re in.

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