Matthew's Mind

Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.

Everyone has strengths. Everyone has weaknesses.

We can talk through different schools of thought around strengthening your weaknesses, or doubling down on your strengths. I’m rather opinionated on that one. But that’s for another time. My only point today is that all of us have our inherent positives and negatives.

And I have double zero desire to judge.

Leave your gavel at home. We have no idea what’s happening inside someone else’s four walls. I can guarantee there’s more to the story than we know. Most times it’s more complex than at first glance too. So I beg you to have employ more empathy.

So if we agree everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it’s best to not judge others, what’s that leave us with? Easy. One word.

Intent. Intent is everything.

Intent looks at the macro and gives the benefit of the doubt. Judgement looks at the micro and divides us. Shortcomings are fine and being self-aware enough to know yours and even tell us about them is praiseworthy. But please be true in your intent. If that’s not pure, we have real problems.

(On a related topic, but completely different vibe; one of the top producers at Advisors Excel has told me he only needs two things when hiring someone into his firm. He needs to know that one, they’ll work hard and two, he can trust them. That their intent is pure. We’d all be smart to steal that mindset.)

You made the jump.
You’re doing things your way, the right way, how you envision it.

But not everyone likes it, right? Maybe not your friends, parents or even your spouse. Your competition for sure doesn’t like it and status quo is screaming at you to stop! If we’re being honest, there are times you’re even questioning yourself. But only for a small minute. Because again, you’ve decidedly taken a different path (since you crave different results).

When they push back, what do you do? Let it bother you? Cave and fall in line, taking the same, worn-out route everyone else does? Or…
Can you find a way to “love the push back” because it means you’re playing offense, when they’re playing defense? Your mentality becomes your greatest weapon.

Do you regret it? Nope. Not you.

You’ve already won; because you’ve done what 99% won’t. You leapt. You’re in rarefied air because you’ve already pushed forward.

The market is the market. And long term you’ll win if you’re good enough. (That’s for a different post.) But today, that’s not the point. Because while I hope you win at this long term – I already applaud you. Stop, smile and be proud of the jump.

Leading vs. Lagging Indicator – what’s the difference? And why should you care?

The majority of my coaching time begins with clients focused on the result desired, the lagging indicator. Discussions center on what’s happening after the equals sign, not the equation pieces themselves. We talk about why that number (albeit profit, revenue, production, hours worked or a handful of other “end goals”) isn’t where someone wants it.

  • Profit is down, but doesn’t “feel” like it should be.
  • Revenue is off, but why?
  • Production is flat, but workload is up.
  • Hours worked increased, but efficiency hasn’t.

Ever felt that?
Oh, you have? You feel that right now?!?

Let me suggest it’s because you’re looking at the end result. You’re focused on the lagging indicator, which is the “scorecard” of all your work done and processes in place. And you’re focused in the wrong area.

If a ball team isn’t winning games, they need to back things up and re-evaluate what’s happening before the game. Likewise, if you’re not securing clients, revenue or achieving the work-life balance right for you, you should back things up and re-evaluate what’s happening before the point of sale.

Where you need to focus is an earlier, leading indicator. The earlier, simpler, more concrete and communicate-able (is that a word?) the better. Another fancy MBA term for this is Key Performance Indicator (KPI). But call it a leading indicator, KPI or whatever you want. If you don’t have one, and the support team around you doesn’t know it, then you’re in trouble.

The easiest example…

Before clients are acquired, you obviously need closing meetings. Before closing meetings, you need opening, first meetings. Can you back-calculate (or reverse engineer like I’ve talked about before) into how many opening, first meetings you need to bring on the number of clients, revenue and profit you want? Once that number of first meetings is known, you’re able to tailor a marketing plan to directly aim at that number of first meetings; and communicate the number of daily, weekly or pending first meetings that should be on your firm’s calendar to hit your objectives.

Leading indicator (or KPI) = 1st Meetings
Lagging Indicator = Clients/Premium/Revenue/Profit

Want to crush it in 2018? Find your single-most important leading indicator (or KPI) and focus everything on it. Marketing, sales process, appointment flow, staffing, internal communication, stated vision and goals and tracking. Then watch the lagging indicator take shape.

Head, Heart, Hands.
Head, Heart, Hands.

Say it with me now…
Head, Heart, Hands.

When you’re moving into a “call to action”, albeit at the end of a public workshop, radio show, television spot, in a current client setting or over coffee with a referral; the situation doesn’t matter. As the #1 overall producer at Advisors Excel told me last week:

“Tell them what you got, what it’ll do for ’em & what to do. In that order, don’t over-complicate it.”

  • This is what I’ve got (appeal to logic, their head).
  • This is what it’ll do for you (appeal to emotion, their heart).
  • This is what you should do (appeal to action, their hands).

One more time. Are you sick of it yet?

C2A Formula = Head, Heart, Hands.

Go get it.

It’s easy to get ahead of yourself. With so many success tactics to try (that work for other people, so they’ll work for you, right?) and options at your fingertips – you’re ready to do it all. Now. Yesterday in fact. But recently I’ve needed to slow a couple of you down.

Case #1 involved a client of mine eager to execute on a platform we recently introduced centered on “Earning Stages”. It involves creating a signature talk, valuable calls to action, the “closing heart” and proprietary processes. Beyond that we showed how to scale beyond the stage and place a relative value score on every stage possible. The wrap up involved 5 types of stages to earn, mediums to approach decision makers, materials we’ll create alongside you and an avenue to charge ahead with all of it. At the end of this presentation over 100 clients signed up (at $8k apiece!) within 30 minutes. Phew! Powerful. He wanted in. So it makes sense that my client should move forward, right?

Nope. He wasn’t ready.

When we dissected his 2018 marketing plan there was a gaping hole in client events. No client education, a sporadic client referral event every now and an annual (cost too much, no ROI) client appreciation event. The whole client event processes needed revamped in a big way. So before we charge into a brand new marketing funnel (earning stages) I suggest we fix what’s already in place, but broken. Then, and only then, can we have fully commit to the next big thing.

Case #2 involved someone who wanted to hire their first associate/junior/sub advisor into the office. On the surface, I agreed. Time was stretched thin, service was taking up too much time and one marketing funnel was producing big results; where we could double into that and expect to see amplified results. No brainer, right?

Nope. He wasn’t ready.

As we dug deeper into his marketing processes and tracking, it was clear there was little to see. Very little of it was documented. Looking beyond that, we discussed a repeatable sales process that this additional advisor could step into and use. Again, nothing formalized had been created. Speaking about staff and how they interact with the advisor, what roles they take on and how they fit into the overall picture, it was choppy at best. Heavy doses of communication, transparency and alignment were needed. Show me an intentional marketing plan with basic tracking on the front end, a repeatable sales process outline in the middle and staff who understand where their largest value is created on the back end – then we move ahead full steam. But not until then or it fails.

While we all want to take the next “it worked for them, it’ll work for me” step (a positive trait, since we’re wired for growth) – be careful to not get ahead of yourself. I want that next step for you too. I want that next marketing platform, that next stage, that additional advisor and to see that ear to ear smile on your face at the end of 2018. But make sure we slow down to evaluate your step first, before you take it.

It’s just SO MUCH….

In 2018, can you feel the overflow of information in your life? All the emails, news stories, headlines, “experts”, opinions, divisions, points and ensuing counterpoints. It becomes overwhelming if you let it.

  • If I feel that way – how do you, my clients, feel?
  • If you feel that way – how do your clients feel?
  • And if we all feel this way – what should we do about it?

This “too much information” world isn’t slowing down either. Ever. To the contrary, it’s speeding up and providing more, more, more and more every year, exponentially. (To see something that’ll blow your mind, look at these live Google search statistics). So naturally, that means your access to information decreases in value every second. The way I memorized state capitals or multiplication tables in 3rd grade is no longer relevant. Siri, Alexa and Google own that. Learning to learn is valuable. But memorization for memorization no longer is.

So what Matt?!? What’s it mean to me?

This means that your ability to recall information will constantly decrease in value. Google will relentlessly crush you. But…there’s a heap of good news that follows, to everyone open to it. In this world of  information overload; an entirely new and more nuanced field continues to flourish. As opposed to information recall’s continuous decline in value, this field becomes more valuable by the second.

Your clients we referenced above (who feel the same information overload) want a trusted expert. They need someone to lean into, who has their best interest at heart, understands their situation and is intellectually and psychologically capable of custom curation. Curation they can’t do. Curation Google, Siri or Alexa won’t perform. Curation only you can handle.

A museum curator could choose any number of masterful pieces to display. They have endless medium, artist and subject options. But the best curators have an understanding around what they want to create. They envision what their audience needs before their audience knows it for themselves. They have a skill set that’s incredibly valuable; and your highest functioning level is evolving to become similar.

With the endless amount of information building daily, what does your audience want (even if they can’t tell you)? Then more importantly, how can you take everything available to them (like these 8.77 million search results on “Retirement Planning”) and organize things to make sense?

  • Those who filter…
  • Those who siphon…
  • Those who are the (intellectual & psychological) resource people trust…
  • Those who envision what their clients need…
  • Those who make the complex simple…
  • Those who custom curate win…

Curation is king.

Management a decade ago was carrot or whip. Place a carrot out there for employees to chase or whip from behind and threaten to get what you want. Either way, it’s a jaded, outdated style where the employees work for you and you’re the master manipulator.

Hear me loud on this – to succeed in “management” in 2018 (better called leadership), you work for those people reporting to you. Again, you work for them. Top down culture. Got it?

Ego severely limits your upside in today’s economy. Humility is where it’s at. And the higher and higher you go up the ladder, the more humility you need to deploy. To where all the way at the top, you’re very aware that you’re working FOR a whole lot of people.

They don’t work for you; you work for them.
Humility not ego.

Change your mindset for 2018. Because you deserve it and I know they deserve it too.

I’m 50% average at numbers.

You’d describe my handyman skills as mediocre.

When it comes to anything artistic, I just hope to blend in.

Camping, boating, fishing and anything “car stuff”, you’re kind to call me lackluster.

And I’m absolutely, positively, unremarkable at golf.

But I’m super cool with owning that okayness. Owning that is the reason I can quadruple down on the areas to crush! Strengthen your weaknesses? Or off load them and quadruple down on your strengths? I know which I’ll choose.

Push marketing. It’s been around since you started seeing “sales emails” in your AOL account around 1997. Back then, we read every email, every word. Open rates were through the roof and products flew off the shelves, to be shipped anywhere UPS or Fed Ex could take it.

Fast forward to now, the cusp of 2018. How many daily emails do you get? How many do you read? Then with those, how many do you engage with? Walk that into social media. How much messaging is “pushed” at you, where someone wants you to buy their stuff, use their system and send them money? Where’s the value?

Today I’ll challenge you to break that. Break all of it.

If you want to stand on an island in this sea of sameness, you need to do what no one else is. And in this landscape of push marketing, it means finding a way to pull them in. And how do you do that?

Value. Content. More value. And more content.

All under the pretense of giving, giving, giving and giving more in a spirit of authentic sharing, without asking for anything in return.

Huh?

The concept is jab, jab, jab, right hook. Value, value, value, ask. But for the people who really want to dominate in this arena, it’s more like a full round of boxing – with hundreds of jabs thrown in there. And when you go to throw a hook (ask them to do or buy something), even if they don’t – you’re fine. You’re great. You just keep boxing, keep jabbing, keep doing the right thing for the right reasons. Respect the process.

What’s this look like in your world?

  • A daily one minute video (to clients, prospects, anyone) sharing thoughts and not holding back on incredible strategies?
  • Speaking at community events for free, literally not asking for a single thing in return?
  • Mentoring or coaching others in your business who need it?
  • Sponsoring other professionals or putting them onto a pedestal when it makes sense?

That list could go on and on and on, if you’re not asking yourself, “What do I get in return?”. Because every single one of your clients and prospects are getting marketing hooks thrown at them daily. They’re dodging and ducking all the time.

To stand out, you need to give value repeatedly, consistently, wait for the “pull” into you to happen (be patient, it’ll take time) and smile ear to ear no matter what happens.

Because you didn’t need anything in return to begin with.

Everyone appreciates the truth. And not the polished up, filtered, edited version of what’s going on – but the rough draft, raw truth. This includes telling people when you’re lost, when you were wrong (the more, the better, it’s how we grow), how you don’t know the answer, when you’re nervous, that you’re looking for advice and letting everyone know of your numerous, regular shortcomings.

It’s the truth. And it’s real.

When you become comfortable with this level of truth, a mess of internal struggles begin to melt away. You never need to pretend to be someone else. You can be your true self in good and bad, success and failure. The right people will appreciate your posture and lean into you as a human being. The wrong people, wanting everything to fit inside their spotless box, won’t. That’s how you want it.

Owning this mindset of ultimate truth frees you from always needing to be politically correct for the sake of political correctness. That’s not to say bigotry, prejudice or inequality should own any space in your mind, they shouldn’t. Rather, that’s to say that you can do you. Your work/life balance can be what you decide, your parenting style can be appropriate for your family and the amount of drive and passion you show (or don’t show) for every other aspect of life is your decision, not someone else’s. It’s your truth.

The truth is undefeated. Internalize yours and feel how life begins to flow.