Four Tips To Help You Put The Pro In Professionalism

Clients are becoming increasingly aware of the vast array of financial choices and this trend presents both potential problems and opportunities. Planners who are not striving to improve their competence and level of service may quickly find themselves out of business. By contrast, those planners who practice professionalism create the trust that will separate them from their competitors.

Professionalism is one of the critical characteristics that separates high-level producers from those floundering in the financial services business. Your level of professionalism can be enhanced by ensuring you are performing at an optimal level in each of the following four areas:

1. Service: It is critical that we be proactive in dealing with our clients. Stock market corrections are a perfect example of this. Planners who are waiting for the client calls are losing business. Contact your clients via e-mail, snail mail, phone and fax. Reassure them about their program before you get that anxious phone call. I know of one advisor who brought over two and half million dollars in new business by contacting one of his smaller clients during a market correction. It turned out his other advisor who held the bulk of his assets would mysteriously disappear during down markets. Top notch service leads to high level production – people with significant assets want and expect "royal treatment."

2. Appearance: You don’t have to look like Brad Pitt to be a high producer but you do have to look like a professional. That includes common sense items like being cleanly shaven, well groomed and avoid heavy jewellery and perfumes. Don’t give your client extra reasons not to buy from you. I remember when I went looking for a high end automobile a few years back, salesperson approached me to sign the contract with a "chewed up" pen; rightly or wrongly this put a sense of dought in my mind. Don’t let this happen to you.

3. Education: Always stay in tune with the changing financial environment. This will not only allow you to better serve your clients, but give you the confidence you need to build your practice. Professional development courses are also an excellent way to increase your knowledge and develop centres of influence.

4. Enthusiasm: With the amount of negative information cluttering the financial landscape, it is critical we stay enthusiastic about what we are doing. A few basic techniques include making sure you are well rested, trying to exercise on a consistent basis and read inspirational messages at the beginning and end of each day. Enthusiasm is contagious – if yo-e in what your doing and are excited about it; prospective clients will want to deal with you.

Many of these ideas require a lot of discipline but top-level planners are willing to make the sacrifices and develop the positive habits necessary to create a professional practice. And actually, it’s also healthy, fun and most importantly – extremely rewarding.

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