‘Practice Growth’ Archive
The Trowbridge Report is yet another step in the inexorable march toward a completely conflict-free, totally transparent and true fiduciary financial services industry where the client pays the adviser directly for his or her service and the value the adviser provides.
The only conclusion a rationale person can come to is to stay far ahead of the inevitable by delivering a comprehensive and powerful client experience, based on the clients’ goals and values, and charge for that experience in a way that is completely disconnected from investments or any other product. Don’t let government regulators determine your destiny! Instead, skip the FUM-based fee (including the game of setting a fixed annual fee based on a % of FUM) and insurance commissions, level or otherwise, altogether. Life can be so simple for you and your clients. Make it so.
We have helped thousands of financial professionals make this transition and we can do the same for you. www.billbachrach.com/oz-workshop
Hint: It’s not about pushing products and sales.
Financial advisors sometimes joke about their clients’ unrealistic expectations. They smirk about Mr. Smith, who’s looking for a no-risk, high return, government-guaranteed investment vehicle. They snicker about Mrs. Jones, who wants a fund that performs well in any market. Meanwhile, those same advisors are on the quest for the perfect client acquisition methodology. They want a system that’s easy to implement, fairly inexpensive, requires very little risk and makes the phone ring off the hook with no effort on their part. I’m sure we’d all like to find something like that, but it simply doesn’t exist.
In this business, there is no nirvana. No matter what methodology you choose, you have to put in the time, energy and money to make it work. M. Scott Peck began his book, “The Road Less Traveled,” with the famous line, “Life is difficult.” Once you understand and accept that, Peck says, then the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. The same is true with finding a client acquisition methodology. Instead of trying one program after another in search of some method nirvana, successful advisors understand that discomfort is inevitable and they work hard to push past it. That’s the first secret to success-being willing to do the uncomfortable things.
Going into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the U.S. gymnastics team was not expected to do very well. Against all odds, they won the gold medal. The team’s captain, Peter Vidmar, scored a perfect ten on the pommel horse and took first place in that event. People often ask Peter what it takes to become an Olympic champion. He tells them, “It’s pretty simple, really. You only have to work out two times-when you feel like it and when you don’t.”
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Besides owning and operating a training and coaching company for financial advisors for 21 years, I have been a regular consumer of personal and professional development for almost 30 years. In that time I have developed a point of view about how to choose a program and/or a coach. I was recently asked to comment about how I would advise a friend to make a good choice in this area. Here’s what I recommend:
First, let’s examine some distinctions between training and coaching.
Financial advisors tend to participate in training programs, some with support. The support element is often referred to as coaching, largely because coaching has become ‘cool’ as in, “Tiger Woods has a coach and so do I.” Because the term coaching has become more fashionable, what are actually training programs are frequently being called coaching programs.
Training programs have predetermined content, processes, and systems that are taught. The participants participate because they want to learn and implement these methods, usually created by a subject matter expert. Over time, the subject matter expert builds out the curriculum to be more comprehensive and develops a team of people to help run the company, attract new clients/students, and deliver the training and coaching.
Pure personal coaching is typically where you work with a single coach, usually by telephone and e-mail, to achieve your personal and/or professional goals. Generally speaking, pure coaching has no “content.” It is more of a set of processes or exercises that are applied by the individual coach to help his clients achieve their goals.
A combination of training and coaching can be valuable. For example, you could participate in a training program to learn the content and hire a coach to hold you accountable to better implement that content. It all depends on your situation.
1. If you invest the money they tell you to invest and do what they tell you to do, will you get to where you want to be in a reasonable time frame?
In other words, is there a clear and compelling description of where you will be in, say, four years if you actually do everything they teach and coach you to do? If so, is that somewhere you want to be? If not, you may find it difficult to make a good decision about which coaching train to board if you’re not sure where it’s going to take you. You might be wary of general statements like, “Your production will go up,” “You’ll be a million-dollar producer,” “You will have more free time,” “You will make more money and have more fun,” “Your life will be better,” “Your relationships, your health and your finances will all improve,” “You’ll get more prospects,” “You’ll get wealthier clients,” etc.
There should be a finish line and it should be consistent with a time frame that’s realistic to achieve a significant goal.
2. Does the program last forever?
Some programs brag about how long their participants stay in the program. They say things like, “We’ve had clients in our program for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years!” Personally, I’m a bit leery of programs that want you to participate for life. To me, that’s like a university president bragging that his students take 10 years to graduate or a psychologist boasting about how long his patients keep coming for therapy.
That said, I don’t think you ever outgrow self-improvement. However, as you grow, develop, and achieve your goals it’s likely that you will need a different type of training program or coach to help you grow and develop in other areas of your life. For example, if a business coaching program actually works to help you build your business the way you want it to be (all the money you need with a team of people in place to help you serve your clients and run your business more efficiently) you’re probably done with that particular training program and coach. Then you may want to focus on some other aspect of your life where a different program and/or coach can help you achieve another goal, probably not even business-related. For example, perhaps after you have your business operating well, you want to be a scratch golfer, run a marathon, drop a few pounds or become a philanthropist. A different program and coach is likely to be more appropriate for your distinctly different objectives.
3. Is the program content-specific or general?
My bias is specialization. Michael Jordan was a great basketball player, but that didn’t transfer so well to the baseball diamond. A little common sense goes a long way; If you want to build your business, work with a company that specializes in that. If your current goals revolve around your personal relationships, attend a program or work with a coach or therapist that focuses on that. If it’s your health that needs attention, go see a doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer. If it’s your spirituality or faith, work with a priest, rabbi, minister, imam, guru or some other spiritual leader qualified in this area.
4. Is expensive better?
Expensive isn’t necessarily better, but cheap is always a red flag for me. In the area of training and coaching, you do tend to get what you pay for. Your greatest asset may well be your undeveloped potential. Don’t be skimpy in tapping your potential.
5. Can the people at this company really get you where they promise to?
How well do they interview you before they begin “pitching” you their program?
Does their offering seem plausible or too good to be true?
Is there a step-by-step game plan and someone to help you implement it? All of your results come from implementation, so how well do they remain engaged to help you implement, or do they just teach the content and you’re on your own to follow through? Financial advisors are not famous for their follow- through. If you don’t get support in this area you can waste a lot of money on good, but unimplemented, ideas.
How do you get your questions answered and get supported? Find out if the program is complete and comprehensive or if there are there gaps, and what are they? What is the creator of the program credibility and a track record? Look for real examples of advisors like you who have achieved the results he is promising. Are they verifiable?
Some training programs have a coaching element and some do not. What matters is that you are getting good content and good coaching so that your results improve.
6. While you should see some tangible and measurable results in the first month or two, remember there is no “silver bullet.”
My observation is that many advisors jump from program to program looking for something that doesn’t exist: an easy and inexpensive way to build a highly successful and sustainable financial services business. It’s the equivalent of believing diet-pill promotions, or that you can exercise on one machine for 20 minutes a week and look like the fitness model in the commercial. There simply isn’t a “fit pill,” and there isn’t an overnight success formula in the financial services business.
Are you being realistic in your expectations? Are you willing to do the work?
7. Are you ready for serious coaching?
Another observation, as both a serious student and serious trainer/coach, is that almost every program works. I may have philosophical differences or even ethical concerns with some of the training and coaching programs in our industry, but they all produce some or all of the results they promise, IF the advisor actually implements. As I mentioned earlier, many advisors don’t follow through well.
Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
This is sometimes the fault of the advisor because some advisors are simply not coachable. And this is also sometimes the fault of the training company and/or coach because they aren’t holding advisors accountable to implement. Why would a person who is not coachable enroll in a coaching program? I don’t know, but it happens more frequently than you might think. And who wants to admit they’re not coachable?
8. Is there real accountability to implement?
Is there enough “tough love” to keep you on track to do the work required or is the “coach” really a salesperson who is unwilling to risk losing your revenue stream and so holds back in what he says to you?
This can be a fine line, but you really want a coach who will tell you the truth and hold you accountable to do the work YOUR goals require to achieve them, not withhold the truth you need to hear that might inspire you and jolt you into action to do what needs to be done, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking said, “Most people would rather be ruined with praise than saved by criticism.”
If your coach is just blowing smoke it should be obvious. You want someone who helps you move outside your comfort zone, because it’s not possible to be successful and be comfortable. You want, and probably need, a coach who combines inspiration and “tough love” so you stay on track.
9. Is the program Industry specific?
That’s my preference, but there are good programs and coaches that are not specific to the financial services industry. The argument for non-industry-specific is that you can learn things from people in a variety of industries. Unfortunately, what you learn from other industries can be a mass-marketing and more product-centric sales approach.
10. How do you begin the program?
You’re probably already aware of the better-known and effective coaching programs in the financial services industry and have colleagues in those programs. If not, they are not hard to find. You might first want to go to a coaching programs’ Web site, read their value propositions and determine which program resonates with you.
Call and ask a question like, “I’m considering enrolling in a training/coaching program. How will you help me make a good decision about whether or not your program is right for me?” What happens next will speak volumes and should be a basis for your decision. Is there even a process to help you make a good decision or just a sales pitch? Their process should be a reflection of what they are teaching/coaching. If it’s not, what does this say about the program?
When it is time to “present” their program, do they do so in the context of your goals and your values or does it feel like a generic features and benefits presentation to you? Is the person you are talking to the person you are going to work with to help you implement the program if you ultimately enroll? Or do you get a salesperson to enroll you and only after you are in the program do you meet your coach, if there is one?
11. Ultimately, the best way to evaluate a program is with some form of personal experience.
Just because the program has a great reputation or your friend or colleague loves a program doesn’t mean it it right for you. Do your own due diligence and be careful of getting involved because “everyone is doing it.” That’s how Bernie Madoff, operator of an infamous 2008 fraud scheme, duped all those smart investors.
You might want some sort of less-expensive and less time consuming real-world evaluation process to help you make a good decision before you have to plunk down more serious amounts money to be involved.
The bottom line is that personal and professional development is a good thing. Among other things, it helps you learn from the experience of others.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
©2013 by Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Bill Bachrach is the author of several books, including the best-selling Values-Based Financial Planning™. He has delivered approximately 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations teaching financial professionals to build high-trust client relationships. For 25 years he and his team have trained successful advisors and planners to dramatically improve their client loyalty, build their business by referral only, and live a very high quality of life.
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to achieve their goals better than others? Have you ever wondered how some people are able to motivate themselves to do the necessary things that are unpleasant or uncomfortable to achieve their goals? Have you ever noticed that some people are un-phased by all the negative events around them and plow through to achieve their goals anyway?
Would you like to tap into an inner strength you may not even be aware you have that will improve your results in all of the areas that matter most to you, such as business success, health & fitness, and relationships?
What if just investing one hour of your time could unlock more of your true potential to be your best?
It almost seems like these people have a roadmap to success that the rest of the world doesn’t have. They do! And you can create your own personal success roadmap. This webinar will show you how. It might be simpler than you think. It’s certainly worth an hour to find out.
In this webinar you will learn:
-The power of tapping into your personal, emotional “why.” This is “why” the most successful people in life, business, and sports are able to achieve so much more compared to everyone else. It’s been said that when you are clear about your reasons why you can achieve almost any what.
-How to define your goals (the tangible “what” you want) in the most compelling way possible and in alignment with the emotional why you want them. This is what will truly motivate you to do the work required to achieve these goals.
-The success metrics that define and drive your professional success and personal happiness, so you can move the needle on these dials to produce the results you need and want.
-How to achieve work / life balance so that you don’t just make more money, but you live a great life!
This is a great business where you can earn Ideal Life income and have time freedom while helping others, yet even successful advisors struggle with cash flow and / or work more than is truly necessary.
Webinar Date: May 22nd, 2013
Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm Pacific Time
Join us for an hour that could truly improve your business and your life. Register for this high-content Webinar even if you can’t attend live. You can always watch the Webinar replay later.
Check out the short article by Mackenzie McCarty who did a brief recap of a recent speech by Bill Bachrach to Brokers in Sydney Australia. Bill Bachrach, offered some practical tips for making solid and lasting connections with your clients. To read this short recap, go to http://tinyurl.com/calf2w3.
They take steps that are inconvenient, uncomfortable and expensive.
Not long ago, a friend asked my advice about a program she was thinking of attending. She wanted to go, but it would be costly. She felt somewhat unprepared, and she wasn’t sure she could afford to take the time away from work. When she told me her reservations, I said emphatically, “This sounds like a really good idea.” She was surprised at my reaction and asked me, “How do you know?” I told her, “I have a really simple way of determining whether something is good for me or not: It’ll be good if it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable and expensive.”
My friend laughed because she knows it’s true. The seminar would be good for her, not in spite of these obstacles but because of them. Although there are exceptions, most anything that is going to make you more successful will by definition cause you to stretch and grow and therefore have these three characteristics-otherwise it wouldn’t have much impact.
Think of the inconvenience, discomfort and expense you encounter every time you take an important step toward your own growth, whether personal or professional. (Remember your first love? Your first home away from the parents? Your first steps into the financial profession?) The things that are going to take you to the next level or make you great will be difficult, and they won’t arrive on your schedule; they’ll appear when they appear, however seemingly inopportune. But there’s the trick: to see them, however ill timed, awkward and high-priced, as the golden opportunities for tremendous growth that they really are.
Who are the most successful individuals in the financial services industry? They are the men and women who seize these veiled opportunities, learn from them and implement them. I learned this from my clients: Advisors who enroll in my company’s programs to grow their practices are willing to do what others aren’t-pay a lot of money for our coaching, spend time with our training and put themselves through the pain of watching themselves on videotape-and the results are proportional to these sacrifices.
If you were buying stock in financial advisors, in whom would you invest? You wouldn’t choose the one who says, “I want to be successful, but a lot of this stuff I’m supposed to do is a pain in the neck. I know this seminar will make me more effective at my job, but I’m going to wait until it’s held in my town, at the hotel next to my office, offered for free. Then I’ll go. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve always done. Isn’t that good enough?”
If you would like to get Part 2 of this article immediately, please send a request to email@example.com.
©2013 by Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
Bill Bachrach is the author of several books, including the best-selling Values-Based Financial Planning™. He has delivered approximately 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations teaching financial professionals to build high-trust client relationships. For 22 years he and his team have trained successful advisors and planners to dramatically improve their client loyalty, build their business by referral only, and live a very high quality of life. www.billbachrach.com
My Advice: Do less therapy and less selling. Be your clients Trusted Advisor.
Over the years, I have written a number of industry-specific articles, conducted thousands of presentations that have been audio and video recorded, and participated in numerous content-rich webinars. To learn how to get access to all of these resources and be on your way to becoming a Trusted Advisor, please click here: www.billbachrach.com/members-area/
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I’m excited to announce Rick Barrera, author of Overpromise & Overdeliver, will be helping our Financial Advisors live there Ideal Life by building an Ideal Business at the Bachrach & Associates, Inc. Academy 1 here in San Diego, CA on Sunday, October 28th.