An Advisor once sent me this message:
“You mentioned in one of your webinars that talent by itself means nothing. The key is to develop that talent into a skill. In your opinion, what is the most underappreciated skill among great advisors?”
That’s a tough question, because the great ones always make it look easy. Michael Jackson made dancing look easy. Anthony Hopkins makes acting look easy. Steph Curry makes shooting a basketball look easy. Likewise, an effective advisor makes it look easy.
So, I could name many things they seem to do effortlessly, all of great importance. To me, their most underrated asset is discipline. They often seem to be working no harder than less accomplished advisors, and in many cases they’re not, because they work so hard to break through to this lofty level in the first place. They’ve always been totally focused on growing the business, and once they break through that level, they’ve got big clients, they get a lot of assets, they can work no harder than somebody at a lower level, make more money, because they paid their dues prior, because they were focused.
What got them there? Discipline. So here are some of the disciplines I see in great advisors that they do so subtly that sometimes we’re deceived. For one thing, the great ones are willing to forego immediate cash flow. There’s this thing among advisors, stay small, keep it all. They don’t take their entire cash home. They invest a great deal back in their own businesses, and they don’t call it an expense. They call it an investment. I see it all the time. They easily pass the instant gratification test.
They’re going to save. If they get two cookies, they’re not always going to eat those cookies in front of them right away. They read, study and learn constantly. They never stop learning. They also don’t do business with just anyone. They have enough discipline to turn people away. They know it’s good for their business and they onboard clients accordingly. I find them totally focused on the client experience. That takes a lot of discipline, to never lose your focus. They never let their service slip. It’s always five-star service, and that’s the key to getting referrals, obviously.
They always ask for feedback. That’s what most advisors don’t do. “How am I doing?” They want to know where they’re doing well, where they’re doing poorly. They always have goals and they write their goals down. Also, they run their business like they’re going to sell it someday. They run it like a business owner. I think they focus on what’s important. That’s where their focus is. And finally, they always have prospects in the pipeline. So that’s not a complete list, but that’s a good look. Elite advisors run their businesses as well as Anthony Hopkins acts.