As Financial Advisors we hear objections from clients, prospects, and sometimes managers all the time. We are taught to ask more questions to understand the objections and allow each person to feel comfortable with our recommendations. But what happens when the objections are in our own head? During a recent conversation with an advisor, I learned the rep was reluctant to embrace some new technology offerings because they thought their clients wouldn’t like them. When I followed up with the advisor about what their clients said when they discussed the offerings with them, I was shocked when the response I heard was, “I didn’t ask them, I just know they won’t be interested.” How many times have we made assumptions about what others will or won’t like based on our own perceptions?
Over the years, I have found that taking some time to invest in my practice can pay big dividends down the road. Here are some tips to pushing through the perceived roadblocks that we may build for ourselves.
- Gain An Understanding.
A successful rep that I used to work for would always say to his clients, “If you don’t understand it, you will never be comfortable with it.” This is so true in our own practices as well. It could be a new technology to use or a new product that may be right for your clients, but if you do not understand it, you will never feel comfortable using it. Take the time to become more familiar with the “scary new idea” you are thinking about implementing. After you start to feel more comfortable, practice using it and become more familiar with it. If it’s a new technology, use it with some of your existing clients with whom you already have an established relationship. Be honest with them that you are just starting to familiarize yourself with this new technology and want to see if it’s something that they would benefit from using. After you have used it with some existing clients, get their feedback. What did they like? What could have gone better? Is this something they are open to using in the future?
- Find Where It Fits In Your Practice.
A former Michigan Head Football coach, Bo Schembechler said, “Every day, you either get better or you get worse. You never stay the same.” This idea is very similar to what happens in our practice as well. How many times have we done the same thing over and over again, because it has been successful for us? In an industry as rapidly changing as ours, we can’t afford to just repeat the same routine because that’s the way we have always done it. Technology, regulatory changes, and other factors should cause us to periodically look at our business and figure out what we can do better. If there is something new that can help us, where does it fit within our practice? If it doesn’t fit in with our current system, does that mean we should change our practice? Apple and Amazon are perfect examples. Their companies started off with their main focus being computers and books. Now, both companies can be found in almost everyone’s life, from their back pockets to their front doorstep. They evolved from their starting point, to somewhere entirely different. Being successful in this business requires you to take a hard look at what you’re doing or not doing and to make the necessary changes. Take time for self-evaluation at least on a quarterly basis.
- Give the New a Chance.
To be successful in our practice, we have to be open to new ideas and technology. That means giving new ideas an open and honest try. No one benefits from just going through the motions in a haphazard way. Take time to embrace the new and work through it. It takes time to adjust to new processes, ideas, and technologies, so be patient. Give you and your business a chance to flourish, grow, and evolve. After you have given it an honest try, if it truly doesn’t fit, at least you can say you gave it the effort and you can pass on the wisdom you have gained.
Change can be scary, no one is disputing that. And not all new things are right for everyone. But for many of us, in order to take our businesses to the next level, we have to mix things up and try new ideas. New ideas don’t always work, but there is no shame in trying. The only shame is avoiding something new just because our own objections kept us from trying.