Like most men, I learned many of my most important life lessons from my dad. Some intended, and some not. By example, he taught me how to work hard, keep my promises, value a dollar, and help those in need.
He also taught me a few things NOT to do.
I can remember as a kid, my younger brother and I absolutely hated Brussels sprouts. I swear my mom served them at least once a week, and we would do ANYTHING we could to avoid eating them. Dad hated them too. In fact, he flat out refused to eat them. Unfortunately, that led to two stark realities for my brother and me. Not only did we have to eat the bitter little buggars, but there were even more of them for us because Dad didn’t have to eat his share.
One evening I was feeling particularly daring, so I piped up, “Why do we have to eat these awful things if you don’t have to?”
Dad lowered his newspaper, looked at me with laser focus and commanded, “Boy… Do as I say, not as I do.”
My dad had a lot of one line commandments like that, but that one has always stuck with me. There wasn’t much I could do from such a weak position, but if the right to choose had belonged to me, I would have certainly expected him to eat his share or I would have walked away.
I see a parallel with financial advisors and their clients. If you don’t practice what you preach to your clients, what makes you think they won’t eventually walk away?
Now, I fully understand that everyone’s situation is different. I know our products are not “one size fits all”. What specific product makes sense for your client may not make sense for you, and vice-versa. But generally speaking, do you live the financial principles and concepts you recommend to your clients?
Is your financial house in order? What does your retirement plan look like? Does it reflect what you recommend to your clients? Do you have the discipline to pay yourself first, make your payments, and keep the tax man off your doorstep?
If not, you can assume the truth will eventually come out. Thanks to the data-driven world we live in, it’s a lot easier for people to learn about your financial situation than you might think.
In addition to the obvious client trust and confidence issues related to these questions, there is another very important reason to walk the talk: You will likely be more successful selling products and services you truly believe in than those you don’t.
Sales guru and best-selling author Jeffrey Gitomer has helped countless sales professionals increase their production and exceed their expectations. He is so passionate about the power of “belief” in sales, he talks about it repeatedly in his books.
Gitomer’s 4.5 “core beliefs” are:
Belief in your company
Belief in your products
Belief in your service
Belief in yourself
Belief that when a customer buys, they are better off
The last belief is particularly powerful. What better way to show your clients, your competitors, and yourself that you truly believe in the products and practices you promote than to use them yourself… and SUCCEED.
This time of year is a great time to make an honest assessment of your situation and your own financial habits. If you see discrepancies between what you advise others to do and what you do yourself, work to close the gap. Nobody’s perfect, but the more effectively you align your actions to your core beliefs, the more your clients will trust you, your stress level will decrease, and your business will benefit.
And don’t make the kids eat Brussels sprouts unless you’re willing to eat your share.
Submitted by: Paul M Mallett, SVP/CMO Postema Marketing Group, LLC
Postema Marketing Group is a full-service Independent Marketing Organization (IMO) dedicated to providing world-class products and services to our clients. We have partnered with some of the strongest names in the insurance industry and proudly serve independent agents from coast to coast.
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