Why Client Insecurities Will Wreck Most Advisors' Careers

In this episode I ‘m going to cover why client relational insecurities and a scarcity mentality will wreck most advisors’ careers.

What am I talking about here? Basically, I mean this. If you’re an advisor and you basically allow your clients to run your schedule, every time they call, you pick it up. Every time there’s an email, you’ve got to answer in the next 5 or 10 minutes. You’re so afraid that you’ll get fired by a client that you operate in this fear scarcity mode. You can never scale your business. Let me explain why. You can go ahead and make a decent/good living operating your businessthis way but really, what we’re talking about here is operating your mind that way. Why do most advisors do that? I think in my work, what I have found is that there has to be a point that you pivot somewhere in your career and probably within the first three to five years in your mind you say, ” Okay. I know now how to do this business. I’m viable, I will now be profitable in where I need to go, what I need to evolve into.”Unfortunately for a lot of advisors, they never get to have that conversation with themselves and they operate as if they were really three to four-year rookies and it’s almost always fear. Now, how do we get there? I think a lot of it has to do with your own mindset. An advisor’s mind set. This is not about being arrogant, or cocky or anything like that. It really boils down to just being confident. See, if you’re not sure of the value it brings to the table, if you’re not sure on building those deep relationships, you’re always going to sit there and wonder about that next client phone call.If you think about it, we all must lose clients. I as a coach, have some small turnovers every year. They die, the kids go into the business, they just want changes, or they just want to chase their own “shiny object”.If your goal is to sit there and say to yourself, “I never want to lose a client”, it is a very bad call. In business plans that I do with my clients, we talk about a 5% attrition rate based on number of households.Very rarely do we see it but, we would want to have that inner psychology in our thought process so when it does happen, we’re not “Oh my gosh!”, right?And thinking about this, most advisors (especially if you’ve been around for a bit) when you got into the business, what did you do? You were making the calls, you were making the knocks, the emails and one day you said to yourself. “There’ll be a day in my career where everybody’s going to call me”.When that starts to happen, we get all excited. We get to a point where we say “Ah! This is really cool! People needing me, I feel valuable. The problem is, you can never get your arms around your business. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a good living.I look at the clients I have that have been with me for quite a while and have been very successful. Their approach to a client relationship is really one of partnership. It’s not that they have this multi-billion dollar business and I’m just lucky to have them so I’m just subservient to them. They don’t have that idea.They have a partnership and while we love to retain them, there will be boundaries. For a lot of my clients, it’s about how they treat your staff, how they treat or need you, how needy or demanding they are. What we do as advisors is important but very rarely urgent.In my world, urgent would be the death of the client or a close family member. That would mean “All hands-on deck” and let’s make things happen”. That’s where you’re going to approach us. If you do not, what you’ll end up doing is probably doing a daily game plan or a to-do-list and as soon as you get to your office, the phone is ringing, outlook is “dinging” and you’re sitting there not getting things done.The worst part is that when somebody wants to come in. They would want to meet with you and your staff goes, “well, when can you make it.” “We’ll see you tomorrow.” No rules.

So here are some you need to establish to get your control back.

1. I’d like you to create an email autoresponder that basically says something like this:“Hey, thanks for emailing/ contacting me. I check emails once or twice a day, I will reply to this within the next 24-36 hours. If it is urgent, CALL MY OFFICE.”A lot of people will sit there and say, “Isn’t it bad client service because you’re not handling it right there? They’ve got to call. We want them to elevate it and like what most advisors do, everything is important.It’s because we have this insecurity around relationships. That is the first thing that I’d like you to do is to take control of your inbox and I want you to do those 2 things. The autoresponder, and most importantly, close your outlook/email.Only open it when you need to open it like checking emails, (which we’ve done no more than 2-3 times a day). Or to send an email, which is going to be batched 2-3 times a day.It drives me nuts when you’re sitting there and we’re having our coaching work and I hear email notifications in the background, it drives me nuts.You’re spending top dollar here. Take note my fees aren’t that cheap. Again, the reason for this is that we’re afraid that we’re going to miss something important. There’s that fear, that scarcity, and psychology showing up. 2. When clients are due for reviews do not ask your client, “When are you available?” It needs to be that you’re in his/her slots. Reviews are just reviews. This is not 911 stuff. 911 is a whole different animal. 98% of what you deal with is not 9-1-1.Have review slots, and have them done within 7 to 10 days from now. That way, you’ll have time to prep, review, be orderly, and you need your calendar organized with very specific slots of how many reviews per day, what days you want to do them and what the flow is. MORE IS NOT BETTER in a lot of cases. That’s the 2nd thing I’d like you to do. 3. I’d like you to eliminate other distractions.Again, shut your browsers down. Get some block time. Do some things to get control of your day. Your team needs to take and filter the calls. They need to be trained and instructed. If you’re sitting there and you’re paying your staff and you’re dealing with stuff like your the help desk, that’s a problem. Going back to the psychology of this fear, insecurity, and scarcity. If you’re driving your client relationships based on those 3 emotions, you will never have a good night’s sleep. You will always feel like you’re just one bad phone call away from losing a client. How many times have you mentally set yourself that the person is not staying with you and that you don’t feel good about the relationship?You’ve got all these insecurities. Yet the client stays and it almost shocks you sometimes. The reality of the matter is, they are viewing the relationship in a different way and we want to have those boundaries.Some of you would say, “Joe, if we’re not responsive, that’s not good client service.” Well, define the word responsive to me.Related: Top 5 Elements of a Great Daily Game PlanWhat are the rules around responsive? Because if I’m one of your clients and I’m coming in tomorrow for my review and instead of “prepping” for me you’re off doing this and that. You’re patching together my review and my agenda and you’re heads not in it because you’re just all over the place. Tell me how that is good client service. Tell me how that makes me feel. Remember. What we think is important, it is very rarely urgent. We are not a trauma center.For a lot of you, you just need to make a decision to take control back of your business. So many advisors are literally running this thing like a high paying job, but a job nevertheless thinking “Oh it’s a good day today! 15 inbound calls and we were able to do this, but I’m still wearing this as a badge of honor.” That is a business you can’t scale. The only way you scale it, is to work harder and longer and less vacation, less renewal time and that is not what we are after here. In my mind as a profession, nor should you be as part of this industry.Here’s a couple of things I’d like you to think about. If you have needy clients, that literally need to talk to you every day, or every other day, and stuff like that, it would probably not be good to sit there and tell somebody, that, hey, for the last 10 years I’ve talked to you every day, for 30-45 minutes (which goes on a lot more in this industry).It becomes where you’ve got to take that call or you get on that phone and say, “Hey, thanks for calling or I’ve got 5 or 8 minutes, lets cover a couple of things because I’ve got to jump on another call or meeting.” If you’re too accessible, it does two things. First, it sends the wrong message to our clients that we must not be that successful because we always seem to be available to just chit chat.Second, we don’t have any rules around the client communication, relationshipand it’s just literally an absolute free for all that does not serve anybody well. Can you change this? YES! But this is all on you.The problem is in the mirror and so is the solution as we say. You need to do this. Scalability, sustainability is critical. We talk about the industry about how we want to be seen in the same plane as doctors and lawyers, but we don’t act like it.We act like people who are so afraid of losing a client or a deal that we basically make ourselves appear like salespeople. How congruent is that Think about it as you go through your day. Think about how much control you really have over your schedule. Remember you have 100% control over your calendar. If you don’t want to see people on Friday, then don’t see them. If you want to take a week off, do it! It’s your business so it’s your rules.