Want to Get Out of a Rut? Focus on Becoming Exceptional
We can all remember when we first became financial advisors, feeling like we could conquer the world. With our entire careers in front of us, we were excited, motivated, and ready to commit everything we had to become successful. The great thing about starting out as an advisor was that there was never a dull moment. Everything was new, and we thrived on the daily challenges of learning how to build a successful practice.
Flash forward a few years, and time seems to slow down. The hours don’t fly by as they once did, and the pace of change has slowed to a crawl. That’s when you know you’re in a rut, which can be agonizing for someone who once braved the many obstacles that lay in front of all new financial advisors. For financial advisors, being in a rut can seem like dying a slow death.
To get out of a rut, understand why you’re in one
There are many reasons financial advisors get into ruts. Complacency, lack of focus or vision, and misplaced passion are among the more identifiable causes. But, in many cases, there’s something deeper going on that brings these symptoms to the surface, and that’s the feeling that, while you are good at many things, you are exceptional at nothing.
When starting out, most advisors try in earnest to be all things to all people, driven, in large part, out of necessity. The main objective was to capture as many new clients and generate as much revenue as possible. Advisors trying to be everything to everybody find themselves spending too many hours on low-production activities, yielding mediocre income, and working with clients they don’t really like or who drive them crazy.
Sliding into mediocracy
Over time, these advisors become competent at many things, which means that, at best, they are average at many things. How can you expect to be motivated about your career if you’re average? More importantly, how can you expect prospects or clients to become motivated to work with you?
Clients today expect much more than a satisfactory experience from their advisors. At a minimum, they expect excellence. But, in today’s highly competitive environment, you gain no real advantage or differentiation by being excellent because that’s now the minimum standard by which all advisors are measured. You don’t set yourself apart by being very good or even better than most advisors.
Exceptional is the new Excellence
What sets people apart in any field or endeavor is being exceptional. Being exceptional at something doesn’t just mean you are better than most; it also means you exude passion when delivering it. That’s what clients want from an advisor, a passion for the business—in the way their advisor treats them and how they approach the business.
If you are exceptional at something and passionate about performing it, wouldn’t that motivate you to use it, develop it, and improve upon it as much as possible? Would it even be possible to fall into another rut?
The path to becoming exceptional
The first thing that needs to happen on your journey to becoming exceptional is you have to stop trying to be everything to everybody, which is the definition of mediocracy. Find something in your business that excites you, makes you want to learn more, and that you want to be able to do every waking minute. Then map out a plan to follow that path.
Learn to delegate or outsource
Before you can allocate any time to your plan, you need to liberate yourself of any function that only requires competence, which can be performed by a well-trained staff person or outsourced. That could include booking and rescheduling appointments, organizing and managing your office, handling client requests, and even prospecting or marketing tasks. An increasing number of advisors are outsourcing investment strategy and management.
Narrow your focus
When you specialize, you can narrow your focus to what you enjoy doing. In doing so, you can more clearly define your target market, focus your marketing efforts, and create a unique brand highlighting your particular expertise or skills. The most successful advisors have clearly defined niches in which they become recognized as an expert, making them more referable for their clients and centers of influence.
There are several ways to specialize your practice:
- By demographics, focusing on a clearly defined client persona such as high-net-worth seniors or smaller family-owned businesses.
- By product or service, such as retirement income planning, executive compensation, or pre-retirement tax planning.
- By life stage or events, such as post-divorce planning, college funding, or exit planning for business owners.
Become a life-long learner
Many advisors find themselves in a rut when they stop learning—when they have no motivation to learn. When you do something you truly enjoy, you never want to stop learning or improving as you strive to become the best or most exceptional in your field.
Watch this 3-minute video to learn how our 24-step program can help you change your practice and take it to new heights.
Available as a self-paced program (always open) or as a 12-week coaching program (open only a couple of times a year), this program will change the way you view your practice. Select your format and enroll today!