by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
Planning time is coming up! Do words like Mission Statement, Value Statement and Vision Statement cause a slight numbing in your brain? If so, you are not alone!
As a Financial Representative (FR) you know firsthand from working with your clients that most human beings struggle to plan for the future. We are very good at tending to our immediate needs and wants. The moment we try to imagine our future needs and desires, plan for them and think bigger we may need a little help.
Just like this is a common struggle for your clients and their financial plans, it’s also true for planning for the growth of your own practice. Let’s start with how it usually plays out. I ask my clients, “what do you want most for your practice?” I hear “Forum! Pathfinder! An engaged team!” and so many more enthusiastic, huge ideas. As our session progresses and we start talking about what is happening right now that will create a Forum level practice (for example) it’s usually very hard for my clients to articulate that on their own. They fear they will destroy the quality of their lives if they really go for it if they even knew how. Perhaps really going for it will expose their vulnerabilities, cause them to work too much and feel like they are trapped in a permanent grind to sustain their new “success.”
My hunch is that these dreams, hopes and aspirations most often live in the clouds. They feel and sound good, but the path there is foggy and nerve-wracking at best. How do you dig in and “start writing Forum” RIGHT NOW?
How about one day at a time? It turns out that we can take any high level goal and reduce it to its smallest input or action.
Here’s an example:
Client: My goal is to qualify for Forum in May 2017. To achieve that I need to write at least $45,000 in premium per month.
Coach: What will it take to do that?
Client: I need to keep 15 Fact Finders per month. To do that, I need to set 25 Fact Finder meetings.
Coach: Okay, so how many Qualified Suspects (QSs) do you need to set 25 Fact Finder Meetings in a month—or about 6 or 7 Fact Finder Meetings per week?
Client: I need 50 QSs at least every month.
Coach: What if you break that down to a daily goal? How many QSs could you ask for and get every day that would be ridiculously easy?
Client: (Laughs) If I got two or three every day I would be set!
Coach: What will it take for you to do that?
Client: I am in my own way. I don’t know.
Coach: [Insert lots of coaching around belief systems]
Client: Okay, I feel ready to commit to prospecting for 3 QSs per day.
Coach: What would make that feel like more fun? You sound a little flat right now. Do you feel that?
Client: Yes, I’m nervous about this so it’s uncomfortable.
Coach: You like a little friendly competition. What if we make a game out of this? If you do not have 3 QSs by the end of the day you pay someone $100. If you meet your weekly goal, YOU keep your $100 and do something FUN with it! Haven’t you been talking about planning date nights?
Client: I like that. It scares me, but I think I can do it.
Coach: What if you try it for one week? What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Client: I’m out 100 bucks. I don’t have my QSs.
Coach: Can you live with that worst case scenario?
Client: Yes, I want to try it!
Can you coach yourself through your own personal scenario? What do you want MOST for your practice? What is one thing that if you did it every day you would have the raw material that would serve as the input to create the output? For some it’s QSs, other FRs need to commit to dials, other people just need to make Center of Influence (COI) meetings a top priority. Identify the piece that fuels all of the others, break it down to a daily commitment, find a way to make it fun and interesting and give it a run. Start with a pilot! Notice how easy it is to fall into your old patterns of thinking. When you do catch this, gently guide yourself back to the daily goal.
Trying to achieve Forum within the context of a day is absurd. You didn’t build your practice in a day. Why would you impose such a giant goal on yourself? Break it down into the smallest steps and watch the magic happen.
Coaching Tip It’s common for your inner critic to have some input on ridiculously easy plans. More, more, more! It’s never enough! You dialed already! Dial more! You prospected today! Prospect more! How does it feel in your body when your efforts are never enough? Do not tolerate this another day. It IS enough if you do it every day.