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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Are you a salesperson or a businessperson?

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A salesperson makes a living. A businessperson makes a lifestyle. A salesperson is myopic. A businessperson is world changing. A salesperson thinks small. A businessperson understands return on investment.

It would probably be a good idea for someone to create a franchise concept for advisors, just so they would treat their practices like a business, rather than a sales job.

Franchises charge a fee to get started. They require some type of capital investment for infrastructure, inventory, build out, etc. Then they charge a royalty. Sort of like the override the wholesaler gets to keep for support offered.

Our profession can pay well or it can pay poorly. That’s our choice. It depends on what we are willing to invest in time, knowledge and money.

When I started my practice in 2002, I didn’t have a single client. I flew to San Diego to see why seminars could be an effective marketing method targeting retirees.

See also: Are Social Security seminars in your future?

Immediately, I had no doubt about what I would do when returning home. I allocated $30,000 as my investment for seminars. I knew that would allow me to mail twice a month for three months. That would also allow some time to close business on the first month’s efforts to replenish my investment. Then I’d continue throughout the year, rotating funds as they were earned.

I never spent the entire $30,000. In fact, I never spent more that $15,000, but I was emotionally prepared to spend it all in the attempt, even if I failed. That first year brought in more than $500,000 in revenue.

Of course, all of the other pieces were in place. I learned about annuities, presentations and all of the other details, but it was that first commitment that made it all work. The thought of failure never crossed my mind. It was a business. I opened an office and hired an assistant. In fact, the following year, $1.5 million of annual revenues was reached.

It is imperative you believe that the sales process, concepts and products are of great quality. If there are weaknesses in any of these three, the project will ultimately fail and you will have wasted marketing dollars and a significant amount of time and income.

If the sales process — which includes prospecting, presentation and closing — is weak, then the whole system will fail. If the concepts don’t have any real value, not just imagined value, then the prospect will quickly see there is no point in pursing your proposal. If the products don’t deliver at a high level in support of the concepts, the prospect will reject them for an alternative and even follow your concept to implement someone else’s product.

If your sales system is suspect, you should be reluctant to spend money on marketing. But if the system is solid, go for it.

It really is a matter of the chicken and the egg argument. Which comes first, the investment or the sales? My belief in the process allowed the risk of losing the investment.

Treating your practice like a business will take it to new heights. Don’t be afraid to soar a little higher.

For more from Kim Magdalein, see:

Will that prospecting concept work for you?

Beware of false promises

Are your clients special?


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