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A few years ago, on her own, my client Karen became a Top 10 advisor out of the several hundred agents at her national financial services firm. She received a framed certificate, a $15,000 bonus, and a great deal of attention from her peers.

The next year, she barely made it into the Top 30.

In January, after that “disaster,” as she referred to it, Karen called me on the phone for help. “I didn’t do anything differently this past year than I did the year before,” she told me. “Maybe it’s the economy,” she continued, “’Cause it just seems like fewer and fewer people are saying ‘yes’ to me.”

(Related: All Great Success Stories Begin With Failure)

“When you made the Top 10 two years ago, were you consciously pursuing it?” I asked her.

“Well, no, actually,” she responded. “I was totally surprised by it.”

“What were you focused on, then, that year?” I continued.

“I guess, my total focus was on helping as many people as I could in as many ways as I could,” she explained, with a note of pride in her voice.

“Did your focus change this past year?” I asked.

There was silence on the other end of the line. After what seemed like minutes, Karen responded:

“I wanted to make it to the Top 10 again, and I guess my focus was on that, and not really on helping anyone,” she realized as she was saying it out loud, “But would that really have made the difference? I mean, I was helping people, either way!”

“There’s a way to find out,” I suggested. “Start focusing again on helping as many people as you can in as many ways as you can, and see what happens.”

Karen called me a few weeks ago to let me know she had already made it back into the Top 10, but that she was no longer focused on either getting there or staying there. Her focus was, once again, on what got her into the Top 10 in the first place—serving clients and prospects as best she could.

“But what about the economy?” I teased.

Karen laughed. She knew that this had been a lame excuse for her slip from great standings to less-than-exceptional service.

Serving is simple. Ask this question: “How can I help this [person, couple, family]?” Then provide help whether what’s needed will make you money or not.

When it comes to things you can make money offering, if they’re in the best interest of the client, offer them, even if you believe they’ll object.

If they need a homeowner’s insurance agent, a lawyer, or a chiropractor, and you know one, offer to connect them. If you can change their air conditioner filter, offer to change it. These are things that some of the most successful advisors I’ve worked with have done in the name of serving their clients and prospects.

Set goals, of course, but stop worrying about your standings, your income, or the number of apps you’re writing, and instead focus your energy as Karen was reminded to do: on serving. If you do, you’ll undoubtedly find the personal success and satisfaction you’re after, no matter what your numbers are. But your numbers will also, undoubtedly, increase.

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Sandy SchusselSandy Schussel has been a coach and practice development consultant for insurance and financial professionals for the past 20 years. He is an approved MDRT coach and has served as the national sales training director for First Investors and Foresters. He is the author of two books, The High Diving Board, about overcoming fear and Become A Client Magnet, about attracting and keeping clients.