Welcome to November! The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and the distinct sounds of advisors working to meet their production goals can be heard all across the industry. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the final two months of the year, thinking 2018 is light years away. However, in my experience, the calendar turns all too quickly.
As an external wholesaler, November also means it will soon be time to ask my partners, “What are your goals for 2018?” I hear different responses to this question, the vast majority of which contain numbers, like “$5 million new AUM” or “$150K in life premium” or “20 new families” or “10 seminars.” These are all well and good, as goals should be tangible, attainable, and have an expiration date. But, when I ask the follow up question, “What strategies have you put in place to meet your production goals?” I mostly encounter blank stares looking at me from across the table.
During one of his recorded sessions, Mr. Sandler describes a high-profile charity golf tournament a client, who is a professional golfer, invited him to join. Mr. Sandler arrived at the course an hour before his tee time and headed straight to the driving range, because he hadn’t played in a while and wanted to get some practice time. Unsatisfied with his swing, he took every club out of his bag and hit 15-20 golf balls with each one. As his tee time approached, the golf pro who invited him strolled up beside him on the range. In his hands, the golf pro held only five golf balls and one club. After hitting his five practice shots, he turned to walk way. Mr. Sandler, confused and worried, stopped him and asked, “Aren’t you going to practice more? This is a big tournament!” The golf pro turned back and responded, “Sandler, if you didn’t bring your game with you here today, you’re not going to find it on the practice range.”
This story stayed with me as a lesson on preparation and preparedness. The ‘what’ in our goals is certainly important (results, AUM, premium, revenue, etc.). But, in my experience, the ‘how’ is too often overlooked, yet critical to success.
My best advisors know that you can’t get the ‘what’ without first considering the ‘how'. You need to know answers to questions like:
- How will your prospects view you if your website is not up to par?
- How will a prospect know who you are if you’re not a presence in the community with seminars, asking for referrals, or have a recognizable brand?
- How will your existing clients feel about referring you if the solutions you offer aren’t satisfying their goals?
- How will your clients feel about your new recommendations if the current ones don’t work?
- How will you keep up with trends in the industry to ensure you’re offering the best solution if your current partners aren’t giving you adequate attention or offering expertise?
Taking the time to answer these questions and develop a strategy to acheive your 2018 production goals is crucial. If you wait until 2018 to answer the ‘how,’ I’d argue that you’re starting behind other advisors who undoubtedly have it figured out already. Learn from David Sandler's experience. If you show up next year without your game, you’re not going to find it mid-round.
DMI Marketing can help you figure out the ‘how’ in your growth goals. Our team works with advisors who want to improve their marketing process, offer the best solutions to their clients, and want to develop a relationship to ensure we’re all marching towards the same results.
To learn more about the importance of goal setting, download our SMART Marketing goals. It's a great place to start outlining your objectives for 2018 and call DMI to help you figure out how you'll get there.