Have you dreamed of becoming a “scratch” financial advisor? In golf a “scratch golfer” is someone who has a handicap of “zero.” Effectively he/she is playing PAR golf. In 1911 the US Golf Association (USGA) defined PAR as “perfect play” without flukes and under ordinary weather conditions, always allowing two strokes on each putting green.”
For example, a par-3 hole is short enough that one shot is expected to put you on the green, with two putts to follow; a par-4 hole requires two shots to reach the green. PAR, as stated in the definition above is based on perfect play, in other words, it is someone who is an expert at the game.
In the financial services business, “scratch” or “PAR” would be defined as an advisor or agent who has $100,000,000 or more of Assets Under Management (AUM) or $1,000,000 or more in Annual Revenue.
I am not suggesting that every financial services professional strive to reach the “scratch” level. There are more important things in life than production and money. I can’t speak for everyone, but I would think that most golfers enjoy the game and the challenge; they do their best to compete effectively against themselves and with their peers.
I think the key word is plateau. What happens when people hit a wall and reach a plateau? Some would probably just cope with it because they enjoy the game, some might feel a little frustration and would try a driving range, or putting green to see is they could improve beyond the plateau; some might decide that they could benefit from a few lessons and at least have someone critique their swing and their game. Others, who are more serious about the game, may hire a swing coach to help them get to the next level of golf.
If you are already at PAR, congratulations are in order. If you are a handicap player in the financial services business, it may take time to get to PAR. For some it will take a change in thinking and attitude. It will also take discipline and perhaps a coach who can help you make the right adjustments and hold you accountable. For others, it will also take some changes in systems and processes. In this case, you may need a practice management consultant who can help you install the right systems, processes and procedures and help you build an effective support team.
There is an old saying that “practice makes perfect.” This has always been a flawed statement because the reality is that only PERFECT practice makes perfect. There is no sense in repeating the wrong behavior over and over. Most sales people do not spend enough time on the practice field to really sharpen their skills. Hiring a qualified coach will add a measure of accountability and ensure that you are doing the right things right at the right time.
A golfer who knows the game, but can’t perform at PAR would not be considered an expert. To be considered an expert as a financial services professional, it is not just about how many professional designations you have after your name. It not only requires knowledge, but it also requires a performance at the “PAR” level.
A financial services expert then is someone who has the knowledge, the skills and the mental toughness to play consistently at the PAR level or below.
There are a couple of old sayings to keep in mind: (1) the person at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there and (2) everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. Are you really willing to do what it takes to perform at the PAR level?
The Million Dollar Question is: Do you really want to be a “Scratch” financial services professional?
The second and more important question is: why do you want to be a “Scratch” financial services professional?
When you have clarity about the answers to these two questions, you will be on your way to wearing your own green jacket.
From Bogey Advisor to Scratch
It all starts with your thinking. First, you need to know who you are and assess your capabilities? How clear is your vision of the person you could become? Do you have a crystal clear vision for yourself and your family? Do you have a vision of what your business will look like when everything is working perfectly? Do you really know why your goals are important to you? Do you have the mental toughness to reach your goals? Are you paying too much attention to some things and ignoring others? Do you have the right people around you who can help you get there? Will you be able to live your dream?
Long-term change in behavior and results starts with your thinking.
- Do you know how you decide what is good for you?
- How sharp are your people skills? Are people naturally attracted to you?
- What kind of systems and processes do you have in place to manage a $100,000,000 practice?
- At what percentage of your capacity are you currently operating?
There are assessment tools that can help you answer the above questions. If you give me a call, I can help you with each one of the assessments.
Depending on the findings, we can determine what needs to be done to reach PAR and set your priorities. If you are currently a Bogey Advisor (under $250,000 of revenue), then you have a lot of work to do to get to scratch. You will probably need to start with building systems and processes and improve your service capabilities.
If you are a mid handicap advisor (over $250,000 but under $750,000 of revenue), then you have a shorter trip than the bogey advisor towards a scratch practice. You probably need to review your “short game” by working on a detail here and there. You will also have to work on your concentration and do a better job of setting your daily priorities.
“Consistency thou art a jewel” is a quote that many attribute to William Shakespeare. Consistency is the key. In golf it is the money players who can stay out of the rough and the traps; they are the ones who avoid trouble with one hole on the course. For many, it is the one double bogey or triple bogey that sneaks up and ruins their chance at scratch golf.
In order to play at the scratch level, you will need to make more birdies and pars than ever before. The Birdies are the clients who have over $1,000,000 with you, or who can pay premiums of over $50,000 per year. The scratch financial services professional knows how to clone his /her top 20 clients. PAR is about your activity level; it is about the right mix of networking, new prospects, telephonics, face to face meetings closes, and service work.
Par is activity based, but par is not achieved by everyone. Here are the activity levels that are necessary to get you to PAR:
- 60 Prospects. You should have 60 people in the mill. These are referrals and other leads that you have received. These are people who have not done any business with you. They are basically the raw material of your practice
- 60 Phone Calls. Each week you should talk with 60 people on the phone. These are actual two-way conversations (not voicemail messages) including requests for meetings and service work.
- 60 Appointments. Each month you should strive to have 60 face to face meetings. These meetings include first time meetings, discovery meetings, presentations and closes as well as service work.
- 60 Cases in The Mill. These are situations where both you and the prospect/client have agreed that there is a specific problem that needs to be solved. You expect that these cases can close within 60 days.
- 60 Appointments Booked Ahead. Getting 60 ahead is the hard part. Maintaining it is easy: all you have to do is replace the appointments that have taken place or cancelled.
Just like in golf, you are not going to hit par very often, if at all, but it is something you shoot for.
Each day’s activity must be deliberate. The sooner you focus and set your Daily Five Most Important Tasks, the sooner you will become a scratch advisor. Make sure that you are practicing good habits and you are consistent with your routines. Without a strong routine, you will never become a scratch advisor.
If you think 2017 is the year you want to achieve PAR and become a scratch advisor, give me a call and we can create the blueprint, break a few bad habits, get you out of your familiars and ruts, and then take the action steps to make it happen for you.
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Motivational seminars are wonderful, but after a few days, the enthusiasm wanes, the good intentions get crowded out by the urgencies of life and we find ourselves still wishing we could do it better! Professional coaching picks up where the seminars leave off. Founded on the principles of awareness, intentionality, accountability, synergy, commitment and momentum, coaching is about empowering individuals to achieve their greatest potential.
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Are you reaching your potential? If not, then when and how?
Your outcomes are a result of your choices and your choices are the result of your thinking patterns. So, in order to change your outcomes and circumstances, you have to change your thinking. Albert Einstein said it well, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
How much longer are you prepared to work in your business without really understanding the way you think and why you “DO” or “DON’T DO” the things needed to achieve your desired outcomes?
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