Is Your Practice Set Up So 'One-Size-Fits-None'?

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

It is estimated that 90% of financial advisors are what Kolbe Corporation identifies as Initiating Quick Starts. An Initiating Quick Start needs a deadline to create urgency in order to take action. Kolbe measures how you do things when you're free to be yourself–your Modus Operandi (MO).


It's easy to see how beliefs such as “always create urgency with the client” could become prevalent in an industry where the majority of the people in it really do need it! While Initiating Quick Starts are so common in the financial industry, they represent only about 20% or less of the population as a whole.

If you treat everyone with a sense of emergency, trying earnestly to set deadlines and motivate people through pushing them to move faster, you risk losing the majority of your clients somewhere in the sales cycle. Not everyone values deadlines, urgency or speed. In fact, applying pressure will cause some clients with certain Kolbe styles to dig their heels in or avoid you!

Instead of believing any generalization that suggests using the same techniques on everyone, try customizing the way that you bring every individual that you work with to action. This will require you to really tune in to people, learn who they are and form a connection. The payoff? You’ll close more business. You will also provide a truly above-average individualized experience where you deeply focus on the person(s) in front of you.

You can gain insights on the style of the person you're working with beginning in the Fact Finder. Ask the prospective client what they need in order to take action with the following questions:

"I have learned that each of my clients may need something different from me in order to implement a financial plan. Let me ask you four questions that will help me better understand you."

1) do you like to research information and gather as much knowledge as possible before taking action?

2) to what extent do you like to know each step of the plan and have a sense of the system we're following?

3) do you do better following through when you have set deadlines to react to on the fly?

4) do you like to take abstract things (such as financial planning) and make them more tangible? Is this type of planning something that would be easier for you outside of an office?

In general, most people most favor one of the four.

Instead of guessing what your clients want or need what if you just ask them?

Coaching Tip Assuming that you can figure out someone's Kolbe score is not recommended. You only have about a 10% shot at being right with the score as a whole. There are many factors that may cause someone to appear to be a certain MO that they are not. Asking how someone likes to take action at least acknowledges someone’s unique style and gives you a chance to better accommodate it. This can give you a hint at the person’s initiating mode only (there are three other parts of the score that are extremely helpful).

If you have an A or A+ client and you need more precision, contact us. Many fee-based planners work with us to better collaborate with their clients. Anyone can use this tool. We send your client a Kolbe A code ($49.95) that states you’ve asked them to take it. We will provide you with a free comparison report of your style compared with your client’s. This will give you a list of suggested do’s and don’ts’s that can be invaluable.