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Going the extra mile

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The following is based on one of Norm Trainor’s clients, Wes Barrett.

Top advisors have one simple message that describes what makes them unique. When someone asks Wes Barrett what he does, he responds by saying, “We help our clients live their perfect calendar.” Typically, the response Wes gets to this statement is “Wow, what do you mean?” This gives him an opportunity to describe his services.

My colleague and associate, Bill Whitley, calls this the “Wow” statement. The next step is to illustrate the “How”. The two most important indicators of what people value are how they spend their time and their money. Financial independence gives us the freedom to spend our time doing what is meaningful to us. Wes Barrett’s mission is to enable his clients to live their lives doing what they value. In that way, they create their own perfect calendar.

Wes uses stories to illustrate how his financial advisory firm helps clients live their dreams. One of the reasons his message is so powerful, is that he is living his perfect calendar. He and his wife, Hy, take a minimum of 150 days a year to pursue their dreams. They have travelled all over the world. Hy and Wes are fully engaged in living their lives. When they go away and enjoy their experiences, they come back to the business renewed. Wes truly believes that people are either growing or dying. There is no status quo. Horowitz, the great pianist, practiced continuously because he believed that you can always improve.

Wes is motivated to make a positive difference in a lot of peoples’ lives. He truly loves his work. He is completely focused on his unique ability, working with clients and potential clients. Planning is integral to his success. Wes and Hy plan their year well in advance and then build their work calendar around their free time. Conferences are an important part of their year. They will build their holidays around a conference in Europe or Asia.

Wes considers middle age to be 72. He spends 12 hours a day on health care. This includes sleeping 8 hours a night, taking a nap, stretching, running and weight lifting to maintain his energy. This leaves 12 hours to live life fully and work at the highest level of his capability. Wes limits the amount of downtime watching TV. He makes a conscious effort to focus on what is positive in life. His philosophy is that there is something good in every aspect of life, even if it is only a lesson in what not to do again.

Throughout his life, Wes has worked hard. He learned to run as a child and competed in track and field in high school and college. After his children were grown, he returned to running competitively. Running made him healthier and led him to change his diet and habits to maintain the sense of well-being. As a competitor, he has run ultra-marathons, including five 100-mile runs.

His perfect work day is to have 10 or 12 appointments, some of which are with clients and some with prospects. Client meetings usually take place in Wes’ office. Preparation enables Wes to limit the meetings to 30 minutes. The objective is to have six work days a month with a minimum of 10 meetings per day. Wes combines marketing, sales and service activities in each of these meetings. This usually leads to additional sales and introductions, recommendations and referrals from satisfied clients.

Wes is always looking for opportunities to expand the equity for clients and, thereby, create more client capital. This involves the cross selling of additional products. Wes can do so much because he has a very good team supporting him. Delegating tasks and functions enables Wes to go the extra mile personally and professionally.

Norm Trainor is the founder of The Covenant Group, a company specializing in practice development for advisors. For further information, visit his Web site at


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