The following is based on one of Norm Trainor’s clients, Steve Wright.
As a financial advisor, are you a Pretender, Producer or Player? That is the question each of us has to answer for ourselves. Steve is a Kentucky-based advisor whom I have the privilege of coaching. A “Top of the Table” advisor, Steve is a Player.
The transition from Pretender to Producer to Player starts with a mental decision to fully utilize your talents and put your clients first. Steve describes this as “being sold out for your clients,” meaning he will do everything he can to meet their needs.
Pretenders overpromise and under deliver. They do not make the commitment to themselves and to others to utilize all of their talents. As a consequence, they often fake it.
Producers focus on making sales and on being recognized as “achievers.” Qualifying for industry awards and company conferences are important milestones that validate the Producer as successful. An important contributor, the challenge for the Producer is that the “game” they are playing is to be seen as a performer. As a result, their measures of success are largely external. They do not have an internal frame of reference of what is truly meaningful in their work.
Steve has a formula for building his business. He shows up on time, does what he says he is going to do, finishes what he starts and acknowledges others. When in the flow, Steve is present and engaged in the client’s situation. The result: Clients view him as a trusted advisor. They not only give him all of their business, but also introduce, recommend and refer him to the important people in their lives.
Steve spends 20 percent of his time in professional development. These professional development activities include one-day sessions on building his business and monthly coaching sessions, plus an hour a day reading and studying industry related material, books and articles. He works hard at being informed about what is relevant to his clients and his profession. As a result, clients tell him that he is the first person who has truly understood their circumstances.
By creating strategic alliances with collateral professionals, Steve has built a resource team that can better serve the diverse needs of his clients. These strategic alliances include an estate planning attorney, a long term care specialist, a funeral planning consultant and a CPA.
One of the characteristics of Players is that they are always looking forward. Steve does planning with his clients that allows them to take advantage of tax changes and opportunities well ahead of everyone else. While Producers focus on immediate sales, Players focus on building long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. Steve understands how to delegate lower-level work and focus on the highest-value activities.
As a Player, Steve recognizes the importance of work/life balance. He works at his relationships with family, friends, community and his own spiritual growth and development. Pretenders and Producers are working for money; Players are motivated by meaning.