‘Practice Growth’ Archive

Choosing a Coach

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.

How do you decide which program is right for you? Here are some ideas to consider:

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?

Since the biggest obstacle to our success is always ourselves, do you have a coach who is really, truly willing to hold you accountable to the activities necessary to achieve your goals?

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.

www.billbachrach.com

The Roadmap to Even Greater Success – Register Now

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

Register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/727699010

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.

 

Tips for building client trust – and how to tell if you’ve earned it

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.

What the Top 1% of Advisors Do That Others Don’t – Part 1 of 2

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 info@billbachrach.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 a Trusted Advisor

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/

Client Appreciation Event that Gets More Business

FREE Client Appreciation Event Guidebook

Would you like to have an outstanding Client Appreciation Event that helps keep and get more clients?  Consider Dr. Kris Nelson for your next event and make it a huge success.

 

“Dr. Kris Nelson gave us an outstanding client event! The audience loved her message; Embrace Animals to Improve Your Life, Love and Health. They also loved her! This was the best client appreciation event our firm has ever held. Both clients and prospective clients said they see our firm from a new perspective. Everyone needs to hear Dr. Nelson’s message on wellness and the wonderful animal stories through which it is told.”  –Susan Anastasiadis, Partner, Capital Insight Partners, LLC

 

To obtain more information on Dr. Nelson, go to http://www.fsspeakers.com/index.php?mode=speaker&sid=34

 

Dr. Nelson is a speaker with broad appeal, a fresh perspective with deeply engaging stories. She inspires your audience in an unexpected manner to boost your bottom line. She leaves your clients and prospective clients more bonded than ever to your company and brand. Her first book in the series, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life, provides a look at her triumphs and trials as a young woman owning a clinic. Delightfully told, it affords perspective into what it is like to be a veterinarian. The book makes a great take-home added-value to your Client Appreciation Event.

 

To schedule Dr. Kris Nelson for your Client Appreciation Event, contact Financial Services Speakers Network by going to http://www.fsspeakers.com/index.php?mode=contact.

 

To download your complimentary copy of the Client Appreciation Guidebook to help you have great events that produce big results, go to http://www.fsspeakers.com/index.php?mode=resources.

Rick Barrera Helping Financial Advisors Live Their Ideal Life at the October Academy 1

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.

5 Ways Financial Advisors Leave Money on the Table, Under-Serve Their Clients, and What to do About It – Part 2 of 2

If you would like to get Part 1 of this article immediately, please send a request to info@billbachrach.com.

4. Referrals.

The research on this subject is consistent over my almost 30 years in this business: most clients are willing to refer and most advisors don’t ask.

My informal research indicates that most people have between 200 and 500 contacts programmed into their mobile phones. (The smallest number I’ve heard is 67 and the largest is 2,500.) When your clients come to your office they each bring their mobile phone. Subtract the overlapping contacts in each of their phones, the automobile club, and their favorite Chinese take-out and you have two people sitting in your office at every client meeting with dozens, maybe hundreds, of names with contact information of people you could be profitably helping.

You owe it to yourself to ask for referrals, get warm introductions, and become effective at converting referrals into appointments. We don’t have space in this article for a workshop on building your business by referral. Fortunately, I conducted a webinar on this subject, which you can find by Clicking Here.

How is it good for your clients for you to build your business by referral? It’s good because all other forms of client acquisition are more expensive and time-consuming. Expenses that you have to pass on to your clients or time that’s taken way from serving your clients due to excessive time spent prospecting and marketing or the time you spend with the extra clients you have to take on to pay for your expensive prospecting and marketing methods. (e.g.: advertising, direct mail, seminars, dinner meetings, etc.)

By not developing a way to ask for referrals and orchestrating a warm introduction you are leaving money on the table and under-serving your clients. Stop it!

5. Wasting time.

Yes, time is money. Work time that is. And wasted work time is wasted money. There’s a big difference between being in the office and working. Working is being productive. There are the obvious time-wasters like doing $15 / hour admin work and watching too much finance TV. There are also many less obvious time-wasters like failing to outsource the writing of the plan or more effective use of turn-key asset management programs rather than personally designing asset allocation strategies, selecting investments, and dropping tickets. Do even a small amount of soul-searching as to where you spend your time and you will come up with many personal examples of how your time can be more productive.

Two very powerful ways to the shift your client relationship to a higher level where they will be more willing to pay for your advice, consolidate all of their assets with you, more quickly act on your advice, and introduce you to their friends, family, and colleagues are:

1. Add more value.

2. Deepen the relationship to a greater level of trust.

Adding value can often be accomplished by doing more of the fundamentals of financial planning that most FAs don’t do. For example, what if you created an action item for all of your clients to review their personal umbrella liability insurance policy to be sure that it exceeds the value of their assets? The typical asset gathering investment advisor might react to this suggestion by saying, “That’s not what I do and I don’t get paid for that.” I suppose that’s one reason why the typical asset gathering investment advisor only gets some of their client’s money to manage. Don’t be typical! The conversation could sound something like:

FA: It occurs to me that I’m working hard to make sure your portfolio is as successful as possible and is as protected as possible. While I am doing so you may be unwittingly taking risks that could either wipe out part, or all, of the very portfolio that I’m working to build and protect. Would you like an example?

Client: Yes!

FA: Something we have not talked about is how much umbrella liability protection you have. Do you have an umbrella liability policy?

Client: Yes we do.

FA: What is the total coverage amount?

Client: Off the top of my head, I’m not sure.

FA: It’s possible that it’s not enough. Here’s an action item for you that will make us both feel a lot better once you have eliminated this risk to your money. While you are at it, I advise you to review all of your property and casualty insurance: fire, home, auto… the works, to be sure that in the event of an accident or that you are found at fault or liable that you won’t have to liquidate your portfolio or sell other assets to satisfy the judgment. What do you think about doing that in the next 30 days and then we can have a phone appointment to confirm that it’s done?

Client: I think that’s a great idea and I think you are the most amazing and caring person I’ve ever done business with. The fact that you care enough to advise me to get this done even though you don’t get paid for it speaks volumes about your character. Our relationship has moved to a new level. I trust you more than ever. Can I pay you a fee for financial planning, bring all of my assets to you, implement everything you recommend, and would you mind if I introduced you to my richest friends and tell them to hire you?

It could happen.

Sometimes adding value will shift the relationship, as in the example above. When you do something you don’t have to do that’s good for a client you move the trust dial in the right direction. What else could you do to add value?

The other idea is to deepen the relationship by asking better questions and having better, deeper, and more meaningful conversations. Having a list of questions is not good enough. It’s important to develop skills for having meaningful, deep conversations. I have written articles on this subject for this publication. March 2010: “The Right Fit,” and July 2011: “Speaking the Language of Trust,” that will give you specifics about how to do this.

The Right Fit – Click Here

Speaking the Language of Trust – Click Here

How else can you strengthen the relationship?

These ideas will improve your business in any economy, under any market conditions, no matter who’s the President, or whether it’s a tax or a penalty.

Focus on what you can control and go get clients!

If you would like to get Part 1 of this article immediately, please send a request to info@billbachrach.com.

©2012 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

5 Ways Financial Advisors Leave Money on the Table, Under-Serve Their Clients, and What to do About It – Part 1 of 2

The experts on achieving goals say the first, and a very important step, to achieving a goal is deciding to. My hope is that this article points out some opportunities for you to make more money and serve your clients at a higher level and that you decide to do something about it.

The 5 ways Financial Advisors (FAs) leave money on the table are:

1. Not charging a fee, or charging too small of a fee, for up-front planning and advice work

2. Not consolidating your client’s assets

3. Unimplemented advice

4. Referrals

5. Wasting time

1. Not charging a fee, or charging too small of a fee, for up-front planning and advice work.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard an FA say, “I do the planning for free in the hopes of getting some of their assets” I’d have a lot of nickels. This is an amateurish approach. Instead, charge a fee for quality planning work that stands on its own merits, whether the client implements with you or not. And if they do choose to act on your advice with you then you deserve to be paid for that as well. How is this better for the client? Because when a person pays for advice they tend to be more inclined to act on it. And it’s acting on advice that produces results. No action. No results.

How much should you charge? A good starting place is $5,000 – $10,000. If your spine is still under construction or the idea of charging an up-front fee for planning and developing your advice freaks you out then at least start with $2,000. Just make sure that your fee doesn’t make you look like a weenie. E.g.: quoting a $2,000 fee to someone who has over $1,000,000 will make you look like a weenie. And don’t charge by the hour either. Charge for the value of your advice, not the hours it takes to create it.

The bottom line is that you must have confidence that the work you do is valuable in order to expect other people to value you and your work. It’s business. Value is measured by money. Stop leaving this money on the table and under-serving your clients. Charge a fee for up-front planning and developing advice.

2. Not consolidating all of your client’s assets in as few accounts with as few institutions as possible. It’s common knowledge that most people, especially financially successful people, have their finances and investments spread among several advisors and institutions. Multiple advisors are not diversification. There is no actual benefit to a client to have their money with multiple advisors and more institutions than necessary. In fact, the opposite is true. Multiple advisors and institutions can create the illusion of diversification and security, creates more complexity in their life, and could be a real nightmare for their heirs when they die.

When you advise your clients to consolidate their finances into as few accounts as possible you make more money, their life is simpler, and it’s very likely that there is now less risk to their plan and a greater probability they are on a track to achieve their goals.

Stop leaving money on the table and under-serving your clients. Consolidate.

3. Unimplemented advice. How many clients do you have who have only partially implemented the plan you created for them or advice you have given them? How much did you get paid for that? Probably nothing. How much value do they get from your unimplemented advice? Definitely none.

I wrote Values-Based Financial Planning so people would learn how to tap into their inner, personal motivations to be inspired to act on all the necessary financial action items to achieve their goals. You may find this book helpful in motivating your clients to act on all of your advice. If interested in purchasing this book – Click here.

Give your advice with more conviction so your clients implement and stop leaving that money on the table and under-serving your clients.

If you would like to get Part 2 of this article immediately, please send a request to info@billbachrach.com.

©2012 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

Hotel Reservation Deadline for Bachrach & Associates, Inc. Academy 1

Hotel reservation deadline for the Bachrach & Associates, Inc. Academy 1 is October 9th, 2012. If you haven’t already made your reservation, do so now at www.committedadvisor.com. If you have any questions regarding this event, please call us at (858)558-3200 or email us at info@billbachrach.com.