Across all industries, people sometimes fall into a rut by continuing to do the same things that made them successful in the first place.
Anyone remember Borders, the once-high-flying bookstore? How about Blockbuster, the place where you routinely handed over $4.99, plus tax, for a two-night movie rental? Or Oldsmobile, long ago considered a pioneer in the automotive industry?
As a financial professional, you probably had to do certain things really well to get where you are today. The biggest challenge is knowing where to go next. Thinking you’re going to do the same things and grow your business at the same rate — and in the same manner — you did in the past isn’t logical.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and examine the key components to grow and be successful.
If you follow college football, you know Alabama is in the national championship conversation every year. Through changes in the game and the rise and fall of new powerhouses, coach Nick Saban’s program is always relevant. The Crimson Tide are consistent and should never be discounted.
Transamerica has a similar goal, which represents the first key to growth: Be relevant — always. To continue to grow, you need to do more than just provide products and services for your clients. You have to be relevant through every stage of their lives. You should always be part of the conversation as they seek new solutions to their changing needs.
In 2018, we unveiled our Wealth + HealthSM brand because it allows you to tie financial objectives to changing healthcare expenses at every stage of a client’s life. The door is open for those conversations to continue as clients mature and their needs change. Make sure to keep those conversations going in 2019 and beyond.
Good coaches such as Saban have their finger on the pulse of the team, as well as the landscape around them. They’re always on top of new developments and making adjustments to help their team be successful.
Whenever possible, you should take that same sense of productive omnipresence with your clients. Continually think of how you can adjust and stay ahead of the game. Leverage the tools around you, including social media, to engage people as you help them create a big-picture financial strategy.
And when your clients need you, always be there. Recognize when they have life moments by being among the first to congratulate them. Your priority should be making sure you can help clients choose the right option for their particular needs.
Build the system
One of my favorite books is “Moneyball,” the story of how the Oakland A’s adopted a revolutionary model for assembling a successful team.
You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate how Oakland general manager Billy Beane and Yale graduate Peter Brand turned conventional wisdom upside-down. Instead of evaluating high-priced players based solely on their individual skills, they used statistical data to determine how players can fit the payroll while fostering team success.
Beane believed a good system was more effective than a disconnected collection of individuals. Building that system — and sticking to it regardless of doubters and critics — would determine the future success of his club. The A’s have reached the playoffs nine times in the past 19 seasons. Only five other teams have more postseason appearances during that span.
Similarly, your continued growth depends on developing an effective system and remaining true to the ideals of that system. Evaluate how you acquire clients, how you service current clients, how you communicate with clients, and how you research new products.
Every aspect of your business needs a process that’s consistent and repeatable.
Assemble the team
Once you’ve built an effective system, you need to put it into practice with the right people.
As a financial professional, your team includes your field-based consultants for annuities, mutual funds, insurance, and retirement plans. You depend on our wholesalers to be knowledgeable and professional and to offer new ways to better serve your clients. These are people who make it easy for you to do business and can be trusted to put your needs in front of theirs.
And because your clients are at the center of everything you do, you want a company with longevity and sustainability, so you know it’s going to be around to pay off any claims.
Finally, your team includes the support staff that helps you run your business, along with your existing clients. When they’re happy with the experience, they will help expand your business by referring people who can also benefit from your services.
Fine tuneEven dominant teams can’t count on staying on top automatically. It requires insightful change and continual fine-tuning.
The United States women’s soccer team was No. 1 in the world for more than three years running when it was upset by Japan in the 2011 World Cup final.
Did the loss cause the team to crumble and fall apart? No, it led to adjustments to the system and personnel. In 2012, the U.S. women won the Olympic gold medal. In 2015, they reclaimed the World Cup title. Both times, they beat Japan in the championship game.
Financial professionals also need to make constant adjustments. That means updating your team, your process, and your technology. Find out if your digital presence is working and evaluate how you’re interacting with clients and wholesalers.
Fine-tuning your business can help drive growth and encourage positive change.
When everything comes together — the philosophy, the system, and the people — the end result is a successful business that boasts a healthy bottom line and high client satisfaction.
When you deliver on expectations and prepare clients for the future, it’s more likely to lead to referrals — and hopefully more financial success.
The system has been established. The team is in place. The adjustments have been made. Now it’s time for your drive to the top, which means a business you can be proud of and pass on to future generations.
Prepare for the future
After winning it all, do great organizations sit back and bask in their success? Maybe for a day or two. Then, they double down on their efforts because they know the challenges ahead will be even greater.
Even as you build a winning team, you need to be thinking about how to improve.
Every day, every week, every month, there are more people who need advice and guidance, but fewer people in the industry are providing it. That puts a burden on financial professionals to become more efficient and effective while trying to help more people.
You need to use the tools around you — technology and data — to attract additional customers and better serve current and future prospects. To that end, Transamerica is developing a new digital experience for financial professionals.
It’s a constant, repeatable process, and part of the formula for success. Through hard work and dedication, you can use this formula to foster sustained growth and a future full of unlimited promise.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide medical, tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as, medical, insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.