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Last week, I got an email from an advisor in response to my article about the need to devote three hours a week to reaching out to prospective clients. “My business has been stalled for the past five years and I know I need to spend more time on prospecting” he started. “I’ve tried everything but just can’t seem to get myself to make that happen I wonder if you have any suggestions.” In a short follow-up phone call, I asked what he’d done to build more prospecting time into his routine:
“I’ve read lots of books and articles and attended workshops on prospecting” he said. “I’ve got tons of ideas, in fact almost too many. I’ve tried writing down my goals and reviewing them at the start of each week. I hired a coach for a while. But nothing seems to work – I start down a path, but then don’t see results, get discouraged and run out of steam.”
Mismatching cost and benefits
This advisor is far from unique in his struggles. Without spending more time with him, it’s impossible to know exactly what the problem is, but from our short chat on the telephone, my guess is that he suffers from the same problem that afflicts many clients. Today, many clients to invest in safe, low-return investments that will sabotage their ability to achieve long-term goals.The reason they do this is the mismatch between the cost and the benefits of what they do. The price for investing in stocks in terms of volatility and risk of short-term loss is immediate, the benefit long-term. The benefit of being in cash is immediate, the cost long-term.
There’s been lots of research on the extent to which people discount long-term benefits and instead fixate on short-term rewards; a classic example are students who go out for a beer with friends when they had planned to work on a paper due in a week’s time. That conflict between short-term benefits and long-term cost is true of many clients and it’s also applies to many advisors. The challenge is how to reframe the choice.
Two kinds of pain
I’m personally not a big reader of self-improvement literature (I recognize that it helps many people, just doesn’t work for me). That said, a couple of years ago I was struck by a quote from motivational speaker and author Jim Rohn, who passed away a couple of years back. Here’s the quote:
“There are two kinds of pain in life – the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. The pain of discipline weights ounces and is fleeting, the pain of regret weights tons and lasts forever.” Rohn wrote a great deal about the role of discipline in life. Another of his quotes: “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
The difficulty for this advisor wasn’t the absence of goals or the desire to make those goals happen – the problem was that, like many of us, he struggles to summon up the discipline to translate that desire into reality.
In Thursday’s article, I’ll describe my conversation with this advisor about strategies to increase the level of discipline to make those goals happen.
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About ClientInsights.ca A breakthrough in client communication Not long ago, clients read what you sent them. Today that's changed. In the You Tube world we live in, many investors would prefer to hear from a portfolio manager directly. And instead of reading an article on tax saving or estate planning strategies, more and more Canadians would rather watch an expert discuss the topic. Clientinsights.ca was developed in response to these changes - to deliver information in the form that investors want to receive it. It provides over 150 short video interviews, each about 4 to 6 minutes - you can email them or watch a video along with clients to start a meeting. No matter how you use it, Clientinsights.ca is designed to help you take client communication to a higher level. Dan Richards Founder and CEO, Clientinsights.ca Read more from the author/contributor here.
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