I started my business Nov. 11, 1977, 38 years ago this month.
After training tens of thousands of advisors over these 38 years, there have been many lessons learned. They range from cold calling, to product presentation, to dripping, to team building. But before any of these comes planning.
Plan your growth strategy and then spend some time planning every day.
Of all the lessons, business and personal planning is, in my opinion, the most important and most fragile. As some sage noted, “Without a plan, you wind up somewhere.”
It does not necessarily follow that a plan guarantees success. However, a good plan, faithfully executed, comes as close as anything I know.
A few years ago, a very senior branch manager at one of the national firms asked me, “How long have you been doing this?”
When I told him, he said, “We don’t let anyone do the same job for more than two years.” True enough.
Well, I’ve been doing the same thing for a lot longer than two years. By staying the course, I have been able to piece together the success puzzle.
Key pieces involve planning.
Develop a Strategy
How many times have I heard, “It worked so well I quit doing it”?
The greats in this industry develop a strategy that works and stick to it until they find a better one.
They always have a growth strategy. They deeply understand the business not growing is either at its high water mark or, more realistically, on its way down.
Before we get into strategies that do work, let’s see if I can put one to sleep, at least for now: the “Social Media Strategy.”
This is a deathtrap for advisors with too much money to spend.
If you think you can build your business today with social media, you are dreaming.
I know of no instances, as in zero, nada, zip, where an advisor is building a business through social media.
Countless advisors have sipped or even drunk a deep draught of the social media Kool-Aid, and then … nothing.
Today, in this market at this time, social media does not generate new business.
People don’t look for financial advisors … or dentists, or attorneys, or any other brand of professional services by searching the Web. They instead research advisors that have been referred or approached them.
That, and that alone today, is the reason why you need a good Web presence.
Your Web presence is: (1) a website. This promotes you and your team. (2) LinkedIn. This is your online résumé. (3) Facebook. This features YOU, your family and your community involvement.
The three sites together are your online brag wall.
One final point: please, no pictures on your website of old people. Some Web designer somewhere decided that old people wanted to look at pictures of old people.
As soon as you can, get rid of them.
You are not selling old people, especially an old couple wearing white, walking on the beach with their grandkids, also wearing white.
You are selling yourself.
But spend a lot of money on social media? SEO? Please don’t. If you get the urge, take out your checkbook. Write a check payable to me. Send it to me. I will cash the check. I will spend the money. I will be better off. You will not be worse off. So there will be a net social gain. Just don’t do it.
So what is your strategy?
Let’s call it “Referrals Plus.”
Every financial advisor wants to lay down, mouth open, and wait for the referral manna from heaven to drop. It just doesn’t work that way.