Financial advisors are in a commoditized business. Investment products and insurance can be purchased just about anywhere. That is why financial planners need to become the Xerox machine in their towns.
I was asked to elaborate and continue the series “ARE YOU THE XEROX MACHINE IN YOUR TOWN?” Because I have been thinking about my own “WHY,” the idea and words came quickly. In “ARE YOU THE XEROX MACHINE IN YOUR TOWN?” we discussed that the brand a financial advisor creates needs one of the four qualities: simpler, faster, cheaper, better.
But how do you get a prospect to recognize these attributes and buy?
In “DON’T TELL TO SELL: SHARE A STORY,” I discussed the power of sharing a story. This is a powerful tool in enabling others to feel your conviction. But it is not all. As a sales trainer to financial advisors, I ask my clients to take a step further. You need to share with individuals your WHY. Your WHY is the passion that creates the conviction for you to work hard, long hours toward an end goal. Your WHY makes your services tangible and rational.
22 Years to Why
Chester Carlson needed to have his WHY. Carlson was the inventor of the Xerox machine and patented the idea in 1937. But it was not until 22 years later that his invention became an overnight success.
As a patent clerk for AT&T Bell Labs in New York City, he constantly had to make copies of patent descriptions and sketches. His WHY was a purpose: devise a way to make copies. Investors were skeptical; companies thought they did not need to make copies. Even Carlson believed that someone had to make at least a hundred copies a day for the machine to be commercially viable.
It took 22 years from patent to the launch of the “914” — the fist Xerox machine — but by that time, the first users were making more than 2,000 copies a day. What’s the key here? Carlson persevered because he wanted to accomplish his WHY a reality and reduce the time he spent making copies in AT&T’s patent office.
This uncompromising passion is what led Xerox to become a great company. This is the same WHY financial planners need to bring to your business relationships. Otherwise you face the wrath of commoditization.
How Do You Find Your Why?
So how to you determine your WHY? Start by asking yourself three questions:
- What is your Purpose (the outcome or end you wish to attain)?
- What is the Cause that you are passionate about (the reason you act)?
- What is the Belief that guides you (your state of mind or your faith in something)?
By answering these questions, you will get closer to your WHY. Simon Sinek is a progenitor of the thinking around finding your WHY. In “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” Sinek espouses the energy that inspires us to act when we know WHY. Check out his TED Talk on finding your why:
Leaders like Carlson fit Sinek’s mold perfectly. In fact, U Thant, former secretary-general of United Nations, noted in Carlson’s eulogy that, “[Carlson] belonged to that rare breed of leaders who generate in our hearts faith in man and hope for the future.”
You can generate this same hope in your clients by finding your WHY.
What WHY Means To You
AUM in a Box has a WHY: Create the discipline and resources for you to succeed. Anything that I have ever done in my life came as a result of being disciplined. When I was young, I won the town science fair, because I was determined to classify more marine animals than anyone else. I was able to accomplish this by going to beaches and rocky coves at different times of day, at high and low tides, to gather shells and moulting cases.
In my young career, attaining the Charter Financial Analyst (CFA)® designation required at least 200 hour of studying each year for three years. Between January and the first Saturday in June, when the exam was given, I snuck away early in the morning to study and quizzed myself at family vacations to build my knowledge for the exam.
Today, as a triathlete, I take a disciplined approach to etching out two hours a day to swim, run, bike or get in the weight room. This commitment to discipline is the purpose that drives our company’s success, and it is that tool that we use to help financial advisors achieve success.
At AUM in a Box, each individual uses some discipline to further our success, and we use our common purpose to help financial planners to achieve their success. Our accountant uses discipline to make corporate decisions. Our office manager is disciplined about how she wants everything organized. And our analyst is an analytical junky, turning things upside down and sideways to find a trend. The outcome is that our own discipline allows us to help financial advisors create a discipline to succeed. We lead by example, and we offer the resources for you to be disciplined in your business.
If you can inspire this same conviction, and determine your own WHY, your prospects are more likely to become clients.
Take your WHY to the next level with our upcoming on-demand class. Stay tuned for more information soon.