FPA Annual Conference ⇼ Nashville, TN
I had the good fortune to attend FPA Annual Conference in Nashville this October. Below are some highlights from sessions I attended.
Coach Phillip Fulmer of the University of Tennessee spoke to a packed house about Growing Trust in Business Relationships. I can’t sprinkle the notes with the engaging stories of life as a football coach, but I could have listened to this guy talk about Peyton Manning all day! But on to real notes.
Set Realistic Goals and Follow Up
The key element, whether on the football field or in the planning firm, is to set your goals and go to work. Be realistic, but not too easy on yourself. Your goals need to be challenging, but not crazy. And while you are formulating goals and preparing to run your firm you cannot succumb to analysis paralysis -- you must get moving!
Know Your Clients
To serve your clients well, you must understand each of them on a personal level. It’s important to take the time to learn what matters to clients -- both in your niche and on an individual basis. All of your clients may need student loan help; but take it an extra step and know that a client’s mother has been ill or that they have a new baby at home. Be sure you know each client’s specific pain points and go deeper into understanding what makes them who they are.
Acknowledge Strengths and Weaknesses
You can best serve your clients and be successful by making sure you surround yourself with people who compliment your strengths and weaknesses. Start by 1) building a solid foundation, 2) ensuring that you do the fundamentals well, and 3) acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses.
Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be prepared to build a team that complements your skill set. You’ll also need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your clients so that you and your team can complement their weaknesses with your strengths. Again, focus not just on general niche needs, but individuals.
Remember that no matter how good you are as an individual, what matters is your team’s overall success and ability to serve clients. The game is won not by the team with the best players, but the players with the best team. It’s up to you to build that quality team. (Don’t you just want to run out onto the field listening to this guy? I know Peyton and I do!)
Turn Challenges into Opportunities
It may be a cliche, but that’s because it speaks to a truth in life. When you hit a hurdle, look at yourself first. This disarms those who think they will get blamed for problems. Share that and then get moving on solutions/improvements. Coach Fulmer told a great story about a royal butt kicking Tennessee got one time (all of his best stories involved a butt kicking!) and how the coaches all got together and discussed what they could change. They did this before they ever yelled at the players, as might have been expected. By the time they talked to the players they already had solutions and changes to make and didn’t waste any more time blaming anyone. It was a great “What’s done is done, but let’s be damn sure it doesn’t get done again!” story.
As you heal from challenges, create opportunities, and build your business, you have to get your message to everyone at every level, not just at the top. Make sure each team member knows their part and why they are important to the greater mission. The phrase Coach Fulmer used was to “fix the divot.” If you have a problem you fix it so it doesn't catch you next time. Change is good! I don’t even golf and I loved this analogy. If you leave a divot on the course it will just bump the ball for the next person -- and that next person, in this context, is you. So analyze your mistakes, make corrections, and do better next time.
We were reminded time after time that we will be humbled, and that is a good thing. Another truly amusing story was about getting gas at the neighborhood station after another nasty loss. This was back in the day when people pumped your gas. The guy at the gas station told Coach Fulmer “Those Vols will never amount to anything if they don’t get rid of that coach!” -- oops. That’s no fun to hear. The flip side of this story is to know who you are talking to. The guy ended up quitting his job out of mortification so he’d never have to see Coach again!
Next week: The Women and Finances session (geared toward women, but useful for all!) had great information about running a successful niche firm, leveraging video tools in your business, and connecting with clients in meaningful ways.
Arlene Moss is XYPN’s Executive Business Coach. Arlene gets a kick out of helping financial advisors get over being overwhelmed and take on their frustrations so their businesses soar. Arlene works to ensure XYPN members are able to help their clients prosper while creating a sustainable business model. Through XYPN Academy and one-on-one coaching, members get the support they need to grow their businesses and overcome the challenges that come their way.
When not motivating clients and cooking up new ideas to help XYPN member success, you can find Arlene on her road bike, or trying to master the art of tandem cycling without destroying her marriage. In the winter months, she gets to the ski slopes as much as possible, hunting hidden bits of fresh powder amid the trees of Breckenridge.
If you'd like to learn more about Arlene's member-exclusive executive coaching services click here.