Strategies for Measuring Success

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Many financial planners measure their success by the end tally of new accounts, new assets and additional gross revenue. Unfortunately, some planners give up before reaching their set goal. Thomas Edison said it best when he said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

I truly believe that Mr. Edison was correct. However, focusing on the journey toward achieving success rather than the destination itself allows for focusing on productive activities while celebrating accomplishments along the way. Isn’t that what we all truly want—to actually enjoy what we do for a living?

Let’s take a deeper dive with a stepwise approach that can help you continuously measure progress instead of using the ultimate endgame in mind as your barometer.

Step 1: Compartmentalize the Goals

Goals are an important part of achieving success however if you don’t break down your goals into daily actions, they are very difficult to accomplish. That’s exactly why Edison conducted 10,000 experiments in order to invent the light bulb—he just kept at it.

Here is a real-world example of how client of mine used this type of process:

Robert E. was an adviser/insurance agent with four years of experience when his boss told him that his life insurance sales had spiraled downward from any other month in production. When Robert and I met, he informed me that he no longer had company minimum production standards to meet upon his four-year anniversary, which he had just passed.

Unfortunately, his boss and the company were taking notice and they were not happy with him. It was time to redefine his goals and map out his daily activities.

Step 2: Create a Game

The next step was to create a game, something that would be fun to do on a daily basis. Having coached hundreds of financial planners and insurance agents, I knew exactly what game would work best for Robert. So, I explained a “cross-selling” campaign that I call the “Oh, By the Way” game.

The title itself was a simple reminder that whenever he was talking to a client, he had to look at the account to see if they had their life insurance with him. If not, he began the conversation with, “Oh, by the way I know that we have been working together for some time now but I see that we aren’t helping you with your life insurance, why is that?” Next, he had to wait for any objections and use one of our “Handling Objections” tools to overcome it.

If he was able to overcome the objection, then he got to mark the accomplishment as a point and then attempt to continue earning himself points.

Step 3: Beat Your High Score

Motivation is an important step in turning daily activities into a habit. The best way I know to do this is to try and beat your personal record and to have daily accountability. At the end of each day, Robert would email me how many points he had earned. Every time he beat his high score he would reward himself with some type of motivating reward.

So, what happened to Robert?

At the end of the month, I called his boss to get his opinion on Robert’s progress. “I don’t know what you did to him but he’s having the best month of his career!” his boss proudly exclaimed. In other words, Robert was now enjoying the journey and the bonus was that his business was picking up as a result.

Why the “Game” Approach to Success Works

The reason this worked for Robert was because he focused on deliberate activities, made a game out of those and kept himself accountable (both with rewards and by checking in with me). When you change your mindset, you can have a good time doing activities that might have seemed like too much work previously. Viewing it through the lens of a game changed his trajectory.

If you would like a free coaching session with me, email Melissa Denham, our director of client servicing.

Dan Finley

Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.

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