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Overcoming Adversity

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Last year, I lost a long-time client with more than $1 million of assets under management (AUM). That really hurt. He is a good friend and client, so it was difficult seeing him move on to another advisor. He said that he just wanted to try something different.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever lost a client? Have you ever lost a really good client and friend?

To overcome adversity, you and I need to refocus on what’s going right. What’s currently going right for you and your firm? For us, a lot is going right, including a 13% growth rate and lots of new clients. We also have opened up a new business unit that has identified $183 million of promising possibilities that may lead to our 2012 goals. We hope to grow our AUM by 46%, gross revenue by 20% and net revenue by 40%. How about you? I give you those details to let you know what I’m thinking about for 2012. Measure, measure, measure everything! Know your numbers and ratios.

You may want to write an annual report every year that looks back at the previous year from a positive point of view. Recall everything good and the progress that you made and hang your hat on that memory. Clear the negative out and put the positive in.

Meet with your team and create four or five strategic initiatives and appoint a champion over each initiative. Then create a score card to track the metrics of your progress toward your goals. Each champion should report back to your team quarterly with their strategic initiative progress.

As the local membership chair for NAIFA – Western Wisconsin, I committed to a leadership training webinar that featured fellow Wisconsin Top of the Table member Van Mueller ( Van encouraged me so much that I decided to incorporate some of his concepts into my client meetings. Hopefully, Van will inspire you to produce more business in 2012 so that you end the year breaking all the records you ever set before.

Van inspired me to ask my clients more questions. He also gave me some new questions to ask. Finally, he helped me understand that we are in one of the greatest opportunities of our lives: to help clients use annuities and life insurance products to bring stability into a shaky world. Since talking with Van, I have identified millions of dollars of new potential premiums that my clients own that would fit very nicely into insurance products.

If Van was coaching you before your next client or prospect meeting, here’s what he might say: “The most important sale is to you.” When you believe in what you are doing for a living and in the products and services you recommend, clients can feel it. Belief is contagious, and the first and most important sale you can make every day is with yourself. As you help more and more people, your belief will grow and your success will breed success. Put it all out there. The more you give, the more you’ll get. Just like with religion, your faith grows in your business, services and products if you share them.

Next month, I’ll share with you how Van can sit a prospect down, ask a question and, 10 minutes later, have a new client. I will share some of Van’s best questions and how he uses an emotional fact-finder to open up doors of opportunity.

To overcome adversity in 2012, write a positive annual report, formulate key strategic initiatives and keep score of your progress. Hang out with guys like Van Mueller, who will help you overcome your lack of belief. Read, listen to and emulate the experts in our industry, and their success will rub off on you.