Advisors get into this industry for a number of reasons. For many of us, we want to be in service and to help others; we also want to make a decent living for ourselves and for our families while doing it. Even if you’ve embraced this business as your calling, however, there will still be days, weeks and sometimes months where things become overwhelming.
Have you compared yourself to other advisors and wondered how they manage? Is it their drive or luck that seems to help them through these moments? When having those periods where the world feels off kilter, experts recommend you take a moment (or an afternoon) to get clear about your needs, to recognize which parts of the business you like best, to appreciate the value you bring to clients and to clearly understand who you serve best. They also recommend you revisit the results of your introspection, almost daily, if necessary.
There are strategies you can employ to make things better, but implementing those without understanding your real problems first, will likely only add complexity to your existing juggling act.
“If things aren’t working then something needs to change,” says business coach, Sylvia Garibaldi, principal and founder of SG and Associates. “It could be your schedule. It could be your way of asking questions or it could be who you’re targeting,” she adds.
What Are You Good At?
She recommends advisors look within themselves before plotting new courses of action. For the advisor who knows they need to delegate more, for instance, she recommends looking closely at daily activities to honestly determine which tasks they like and which tasks they don’t.
“I think if you’ve been at this business for a while, you know what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at,” she says. “Is it something you like to do or should you delegate out and trust others to do it for you? This is what very successful advisors do. They don’t get involved in details that they’re not good at. That’s the key. Being in tune with what you’re good at will help you to decide what you should delegate.”
Where Do You Offer the Most Value?
For the advisor who is running himself or herself ragged, meanwhile, she recommends doing the same introspective exercises to determine who they best serve.
“Sometimes you need to do some internal work to understand who you enjoy working with. Go through your book, look at the clients you have and figure out who it is that you best serve. Doing this provides a lot more focus and clarity about where you should be spending your time,” she says. “Be very clear about who you best serve and where you find them. If you think that you serve everyone, you’ll be running around all over the place. It will feel futile, talking to so many people, but not moving forward.”
Change Your Mindset
In stickier situations the younger advisor may need to take a closer look at their inner mindset and how it might be informing or affecting prospect conversations. Advisors who’ve moved past chasing the next sale are often those who firmly believe in the value they bring to every client meeting.
“The successful advisor really believes they’re transforming the lives of others,” Garibaldi says. “If you don’t believe in the service, the impact that you have on clients’ lives, you’re going to have conflict. For this particular group, I would recommend they really look at their mindset – shifting your mindset in a way that serves you and serves your clients better.
“What do you believe? What is your internal mindset telling you? Aligning your inner thoughts with your outer thoughts is one of the most profound changes you can make.”
Write It Down
To make this change stick, or to make any goal more attainable, she recommends advisors put the results of their self-reflection – who they serve, the value they bring, and the goals they want to achieve – into writing, every day.
“The journaling exercise is a great place to start. If you don’t want to write it out, (write it once and) read something out loud every day. It goes into the subconscious. That’s how things start to happen,” she says. “It’s all about being very clear about what you want, writing it down, and starting to believe it. A lot of high-earning service professionals do this every day. They’re very in tune with that.”
For those who feel pulled in too many directions by a complicated work week (insurance advisors, more than most, know how unforeseen circumstances can derail even the best laid plans), simply carving out personal time and protecting that personal time as if it were an important appointment, can be an important first step.
“One advisor I'm working with right now, she actually schedules a date to make sure that she gets that ‘me time.’ It's a date to go out with a friend. It's a date to go golfing. It's something that actually goes into your calendar.”
Ultimately it’s important to evaluate and understand what makes you happy and what drives you in this business.
If you don’t know why you’re doing certain things, or how you’re going to manage conflicting priorities, stop, breathe, think – and really take the time you need to do some internal reflection that will guide your next steps. Don't underestimate the support of our industry through groups like Advocis or reaching out for a cup of coffee with a colleague or networking with other advisors who can team up with you to offer support and growth.