by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
Do you draw imaginary lines around your practice as far as geography that keep you playing small? Without realizing it, most Northwestern Mutual Financial Representatives (FRs) think of their markets as local and within driving distance. Without realizing it, this impacts prospecting and phoning as well as your mindset.
Imagine if you told your clients: "I run a national practice."
Let your mind react to this thought for a moment. If you are like most FRs, you start to see new possibilities, feel a little excited at whom you can now work with and sense the boundaries expanding. What kind of advisor would you be if you worked with clients all over the country? How might this change how you conduct meetings (your use of technology, for example)? What new possibilities open up with this fresh outlook?
Another change you might notice is that your practice feels bigger. You can play big and create greater impact with better clients. Whatever excuses are keeping you playing small in your own market are erased.
Let's look at how prospecting would be impacted. "George, I have really enjoyed meeting with you today. What did you enjoy most about our meeting?"
"I'm so glad to hear that. We'll be sure to discuss how to balance saving for education and retirement at our next meeting. As I mentioned at the start of the meeting, I'd like to spend a couple of minutes discussing anyone you know across the country who might enjoy having this same conversation that we just did. I run a national practice and focus on executive level leaders and business owners."
What do you notice? First, you just threw the door wide open for the person you are prospecting with to provide you with great referrals. If you can guide the client to thinking bigger and widening a national scope, it's far more likely they know someone who fits your ideal client. It's tougher for them to say they don't know anyone when you've just blown the geography out. Also, you have a stronger chance of going up market since you have cast a wider net and elevated your practice.
Another impact of working at the national level is that more of your meetings will occur on the phone and via technology. This can save you time, resources, and allow you to keep more meetings each day. There is efficiency in this format for both parties.
Now imagine how phoning might change. Mentioning that you run a national practice means you can call anyone in the United States. You can specialize if you'd like in certain types of clients or cases (and really provide more relevance for specialized clients) without worrying about your local market size. A specialist would naturally work at a national level. Might it give you permission to focus on more of the work you really enjoy and the kinds of people you like to work with most?
You can live anywhere, work anywhere and connect with nearly anyone. With time zones, you can expand your workday on either end potentially, depending on where you live. There is tremendous flexibility in broadening your reach and raising your sights. Go big! Erase the lines and step up to serve the market you most want. There are no boundaries anymore!
Coaching Tip It's easy to get overwhelmed when you go from a regional market to a national one instantly. While it does start with a powerful mental shift, the next steps are smaller. Begin by changing your language in phoning, prospecting, in meetings and anytime you're describing what you do. Refer to your "national practice" consistently. You can make slow, incremental changes in your practice. For example, prepare for all of the phone meetings you'll be holding by getting the right technology and practicing using it. Acquire better equipment such as a higher quality webcam that is built-in to your computer. Examine your systems and processes to ensure that they serve a virtual client just as well as one sitting in your office.