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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Sales-addicted advisors: Focus on values, vision and time management

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Most people don’t know what their values are, and they don’t know the difference between values-based inspiration and unmet need-driven motivation. Inspiration is based on values, like communication, listening and wisdom. These are the core of all positive feelings and beliefs. Inspiration is sustainable because it is driven from within.

Motivation is based on unmet needs like recognition, safety and worthiness. These are the core of all negative emotions and beliefs. Motivation is not sustainable because it is driven from the outside, trying to medicate the unmet need with people, places and things. I believe unmet needs must be met from within creating a foundation for values and inspiration. Let’s apply this theory to the practice management challenges that many financial advisors are facing.

Planning and time management: The unmet need of safety generates the negative beliefs of “I don’t have enough time” and “I don’t have enough money,” which fuel the negative emotions of anxiety and fear. Hence, the advisor is addicted to survival. It is impossible to build a strong set of values, a business plan and a time management plan with this happening. A learned advisor said, “Most financial advisors are addicted to selling, and they will not take the time to build a vision, business plan and time management plan.”

Unmet needs will dominate one’s values, vision, business plan and time management plan and ability to grow until the unmet need is met from within. Like the grain of sand that goes into the oyster, unmet needs like approval, control, recognition and safety will drive and motivate an advisor to reach for and achieve their goals.

The challenge is, once the beautiful pearl is in hand, there is a danger of hearing, “Is this all there is?” because it is impossible to meet an unmet need with people, places and things. They must be met from within to let the true values shine through.

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Simon Reilly, of Leading Advisor Inc., is a financial advisor coach, speaker and writer with over 20 years of experience working with advisors. Reilly writes a daily blog and can be reached at


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