Facing and overcoming our three biggest challenges

All of us have experienced how relationships can be a wonderful source of happiness, joy and abundance in our lives. On the flip side, relationships can equally be a great source of disappointment and frustration. And relationships have a lot to do with our biggest challenges as financial advisors.

3 of our profession’s biggest challenges

Consider these three statistics: 87%, 66% and 35%.

The challenge of 87%

Eighty-seven percent of the time when clients leave it’s because of the relationship they have with us. An interesting caveat is that 90% of the time, clients like the product, they keep the product and it has nothing to do with the product. They simply want to change relationships. I attribute this to leadership fatigue, which can come from the financial advisor feeling tired rather than inspired. Profits can be up, but the spirit is down.

The challenge of 66%

The 66% represents a significant trend based on a Gallup study that says two out of every three clients right now are considering either changing financial advisors or looking for a new relationship. So clients are willing to leave or change. This information either scares us or excites us with regard to our positioning in these relationships. This 66% is attributed to what our clients feel is a lack of connectivity, meaningful dialogue and an overload of choice anxiety. Our clients are drowning in data and don’t know how to interpret it.

The challenge of 35%

The third and most important challenge I think we face is the most significant one. It’s the decline in trust. In a study done by the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business entitled “America’s New Motto: In Few We Trust,” they talked about the fact that in 1964 — this is an ongoing survey — 54% of Americans felt they trusted someone soon after meeting them, and now it’s down to 35%. I suspect the results may not be so different in other countries.

Overcoming the challenges

Our greatness as a profession rests in the unknown and at the end of our comfort zone. Often, resisting something is the first step to making a commitment.

So here are three things we can do together collectively to overcome our challenges, and lead and serve our clients with impact.

  1. Be clear that you make a huge difference. Know why people work with you. Develop a strong cause for your business. It will ground you to this business and propel you through the unpleasant tasks to the results that you want to have. Create your value statement.
  2. Be confident that your process of relating to others is your real product. Talk to people about what they care about, address the core issues of their lives and watch how you transform your position in their lives. They’ll never want to leave you.
  3. Honor our own agreements. The greatest gift we give to other people is the example of our life working. We should be asking ourselves this question: What are we teaching people when we’re not speaking to them?

Always, always, always be a first-rate version of yourself, and not a second-rate version of somebody else. Let’s stop asking ourselves what everybody else needs. Let’s start asking ourselves what makes us come alive and stay committed, because our society and industry needs more of us who have come alive and feel committed.

Louis J. Cassara, CLU, ChFC, of Downers Grove, Illinois, USA, is a Top of the Table qualifier who has been an MDRT member since 1984. This is excerpted from Cassara’s 2017 Annual Meeting presentation “Differentiate yourself in today’s competitive market.”  (MDRT member exclusive)

For more on creating stronger relationships with clients through trust, watch these MDRT member exclusives:

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