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No man is an island

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Last weekend, while channel surfing, I came across the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away”. If you haven’t seen the film, Hanks portrays a FedEx exec who crash lands on an uninhabited island – think “Gilligan’s Island” without the Professor and Mary Ann et al.

As Hanks finds out in this more realistic version of the oft-told desert island tale, life on the island is not a box of chocolates (or even one of Mary Ann’s coconut-cream pies); it’s full of obstacles to overcome and hurdles to clear.

The challenges to survive are numerous – the search for food, potable water, shelter – and, sometimes elusive, as in the human need for friendship, to make a connection.

For fear of giving away too much, I won’t spoil how he achieves these goals, but the key is – he does. The size or complexity of the challenge did not deter him; it only made him work harder, or at times, smarter.

As an advisor, you’re faced with challenges every day – how to work smart and effectively for your client. Are you hitting your goals? If not, you might want to take a look at our cover story “Ten steps to prepare prospects to say ?yes.’” (Page 109)

However, in this era of increased scrutiny and regulation, getting to “yes” has become only part of the goal; the path you take and the way you do business, is just as important.

Angela Sloan (Page 72) considers herself a “problem-solver,” who uses a holistic approach to accumulating and managing her clients’ wealth. “One of our No. 1 goals is to get our clients out of debt.”

Educating her clients is a big part of Sloan’s practice. She often tells them: “We’re going to take this slow and easy and you’re going to get an education in the process and you’re going to understand everything that is going on here.”

Hearing Sloan’s approach to her practice brings up an interesting question: In addition to hitting your revenue goals, are you also hitting your suitability goals? Are you doing the right thing not only for yourself but also for your client, and, if you take it a step further, for your industry? After all, “perception is everything,” and the “Dateline NBC” expose on advisors that aired last month, painted a negative image of the industry by focusing on isolated incidences.

However, the ripple effect is something we can all overcome.


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