Have you ever thought about how many moons there are in the universe? If you answered no, that’s not surprising. But as we have more time at home and I’m traveling less, I’ve spent more time outside. In addition to enjoying my balcony, I’ve dedicated time to looking at different industry thought leaders. And I’ve spent some time gazing at the night sky, just enjoying the view.
Last weekend, I read an article from blogger Seth Godin who, in his post “How many moons?” was reflecting on similar topics. Someone asked him recently how many moons he thought there are in the universe. Not having any idea, he made an educated guess. The Earth has a moon. There are nine planets in the solar system (if we consider Pluto a planet). So, he guessed there are probably around 22 moons in our solar system. But he was way off. The correct answer is that we have more than 200 moons. In fact, one planet alone has 80 distinct moons.
By now you’re probably wondering what moons have to do with retirement planning? Or anything, actually. Here it is. Just like when Seth tried to figure up the moons, he thought only about the things that were relevant to him. He wasn’t thinking big enough.
Getting a little more specific, let’s focus on Social Security. If you talk to your clients about Social Security, they will think small and consider what’s in their own neighborhood. What did their friends do? Or their parents? And most likely they will conduct an internet search or two about the best way to get the most out of Social Security. But they won’t be thinking about the bigger picture, which is the Social Security System itself. And that’s something that’s worth considering.
Historically, only 2% of men and 4% of women take Social Security when it’s maximized at age 70. So the vast majority of Americans take Social Security early. In fact, more than 50% take it early, and that’s a reduction number. Why are so many taking Social Security early, instead of waiting for it to max out?
One reason is that they don’t trust it to be there when they reach full retirement age. But according to US Treasury regulations, if there is even $1 of tax revenue coming in, Social Security is going to be paying out. So, the next thing to consider is what that payout is. And the amount paid out might very well be reduced.
So what your clients’ friends and parents used as a planning strategy for Social Security likely won’t be right for your client. Think back to the moons and looking at the bigger picture. What are they, and we, missing?
We need to figure out how to shift that risk which, before now, wasn’t feasible. But with innovative product design and more appropriate asset location than asset allocation, there are more options to consider. Or, we can see beyond our own small neighborhood and catch a view of a moon in another sky. But it requires you to think differently.
Instead of thinking about the funding crisis of Social Security, think about how to shift that risk of the reduction. Don’t focus on the elimination of Social Security It’s an opportunity to attract more clients and earn better assets under management. And it will add longevity to your business, allowing you to remain relevant through the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement our country has ever seen. And, by changing your thinking, you are taking a necessary step to building your business into a High Performing Practice.
By broadening your thinking and looking beyond common strategies of the past, you can help your clients maximize their Social Security benefits. And you’ll be growing your business at the same time.
Time management. It’s a catchphrase we’ve all heard, and in theory, we all understand what it is. So it should be easy to use our time effectively to grow our business and have the greatest impact possible on our clients. And yet, many of us admit to just not being very good at it.
It makes sense that using your time wisely, spending it on the most important tasks, allows you to maximize your day.
Many of us have also heard that it’s important to work on your business, instead of in your business. At first, this can seem contradictory to your instincts, since we’ve also talked about the value you have inside your practice. As a financial advisor, your value to your clients is your expertise and your ability to have an impact. Which sounds an awful lot like working in your business and not on it.
So, the question remains: When maximum growth is the goal, where should you be spending your time?
The first step to finding the answer is to take stock of what you’re currently spending your time on. So, let’s try an experiment. For the next two weeks, jot down how you spend your time. Each time you complete a task for your business, record it. Write down everything. And then categorize it as either a sales or revenue-generating activity or as a non-revenue-generating activity.
Sales and revenue-generating activities include:
Any activity that has the potential for bringing more dollars to your business is a sales or revenue-generating activity. Figure out how many hours you spend each week, and then divide them into your total revenue to find out how much you’re making an hour on these specific activities.
And then do the same for your nonrevenue-generating activities. These include time spent on office management activities like organization and administration.
If you are spending more time on nonrevenue-generating activities, it’s time to make a change.
When administrative tasks turn into a time suck, consider hiring an assistant or another salesperson. And use your freed-up time to reinvest in your business. This means you can start working on your business again, instead of getting weighed down in it.
And, as you evaluate how to spend more time on tasks that directly result in growth, here are a few more points to consider:
Creating a High Performing Practice isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Take the next few weeks and pay close attention to where your time is spent. I think it will be eye-opening and potentially lead you to a more efficient — and profitable — business. I promise it will be time well spent.
Recognize the opportunity to transform your business by taking our free course.
Lately, our world has been faced with events we can’t control. And as one situation looks like it’s improving, it seems that additional hard circumstances arise. The dilemma is how to succeed in those circumstances -- over which we have no control. And the solution is simple: control the things you can. Namely, attitude.
When you hear the phrase “the space between,” what first comes to mind? Is it the space between your ears? Or maybe the space between where you are and what you are working to achieve? Either way, the space between is where you control your attitude and, by doing so, set yourself up for success.
My business coach just wrote a blog that really resonated with me. In the blog, The Space Between Emotion and Behavior, CJ McClanahan discusses the existence of a space between the time that you feel an emotion and when you react to it. It’s during that space between that we have the opportunity to shape our attitude.
You might be wondering why this matters so much. It’s because how we shape our attitude is how we choose to live our lives — and run our businesses. It’s important to think about how we choose between different options when presented with a challenge. For instance, how did you react when interest rates dropped? Collectively, our actions caused the market to drop.
When something happens that we can’t control, how we interact with our emotions – and how quickly – will define whether we succeed or fail. Mastering your reaction is essential to success. What I suggest is removing that space between. Instead of reacting, anticipate. Have automation in place where available. Take time to understand what your clients want and use that research to make recommendations that fit logically with their goals, and that aren’t based on an emotional reaction. This level of discipline will naturally lead to different revenue streams and more diversification within your practice. And, most importantly, you will no longer be dictated to by an external fact.
Transformational tactic: By replacing the space between with deliberate, well thought out responses, you can shape your attitude and set yourself up for success.
We’re coming to the end of our series on the Go-Giver mindset, based on the book by Bob Burg and John David Mann. The last law from Go-Giver to delve into is the Law of Reciprocity. It’s one of the easiest to understand, but also one of the hardest to implement.
Let’s start with a simple exercise. Take a big, deep breath. Then push all the air out from your lungs. How long can you hold that position before your lungs naturally start to fill back up with air? Not long. In essence, that’s how the law of reciprocity works. In everything — business, sports, relationships – there is a natural back and forth. We let out a breath and our bodies immediately start filling our lungs again with the oxygen we need.
In business, we need to continue to focus on giving value and paying attention to others and to those other laws of stratospheric success we’ve already discussed. Keeping this focus, and practicing patience along the way, is eventually going to lead to success. After all, you just never know when that big case or amazing opportunity is going to come along. But by systematically continuing to focus on what’s important, you’ll be prepared when it does. And you’ll be able to grow your financial services practice while attracting and retaining quality people.
And, I can’t emphasize this enough, you’re going to remain relevant with your clients during the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement our country has ever seen.
Learn more about how to change to the Go-Giver mindset. Let’s schedule an hour to talk specifically about how to grow your business and achieve your financial dreams while helping your clients.
Paying attention to your clients’ and adding value is essential to mastering the Law of Reciprocity. And that is essential when it comes to your own success.
In our digital world, we have ample opportunities to be influenced. We talk about influencers, centers of influence and influential marketing. And as advisors, we are careful of the financial influence others have over our clients.
Influence is found on more than just social media, although that is what first comes to mind. It’s easy to get caught up in social media, and it’s important for many to be well-liked. But what does it actually mean, to have influence over another? Influence carries a lot of power, and it’s important to use it carefully. If exercised incorrectly, influence can be dangerous.
In past blogs, I’ve mentioned different principles from the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Today, I’d like to discuss one more, and that’s the Law of Influence. According to the authors, the Law of Influence says that your influence is dictated by how well you serve other people’s interests. Although this is important in all industries, it really hits home for us. Our professional existence is based on how well we advise our clients and help them achieve their goals. Having influence allows you to drive the conversation and to drive your clients to the desired outcome.
We need to keep our clients’ interest as a priority, and we need to be attuned to any changes. That is perhaps more important now than it was in the past. Think of how things have changed over the past 60 days. As the world continues to struggle to get back to its normal flow, our perceptions have changed. So, it stands to reason, how we exercise our influence needs to change as well.
We need to stay in front of our clients. We need to ask the right questions, and we need to make sure we’re delivering value.
Fortunately, value can be delivered in many ways. It could be delivered virtually. It could be delivered in group settings. And it can be delivered one-on-one. But however it’s delivered, we have to make sure we are hitting the value proposition. We are best able to serve our clients by listening to them and addressing their concerns.
So, think about how you define influence. If your definition doesn’t include putting your clients’ concerns ahead of yours, it might be time to change your thinking. And, I think that if you keep the other person’s interest first, you’ll find that you’ll grow your business. You’ll attract quality people and you will remain relevant with your client in the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement we’ve ever seen.
When determining how to influence your clients, the most important thing you can do is put their concerns first.
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