You may be aware of the phrase 'eat that frog', referring to the fact we all procrastinate when it comes to doing the tasks we don’t enjoy.

    Advisers are no exception, especially when it comes to prospecting and asking for referrals.

    Psychologists will tell you such reluctance stems from an engrained fear of rejection. An aversion to working on bringing in new business plays into the rules that are likely to be hard-wired in your brain. These are rules such as:

    • Nobody likes a salesperson
    • I am a professional - I can’t overtly ‘sell’
    • I am a trained professional, not some lowly sales person
    • Asking for a referral makes people uncomfortable

    So when the financial services industry talks about compliance and the banning of cold calling, it becomes the mental excuse for dropping the dreaded ‘s' word - sales - from your vocabulary.

    Below are five golden rules that will help you to overcome this and any other personal behavioural barriers.

    1) Focus and plan 

    Write down a one-page plan and process, along with the positive outcomes if you do those activities related to attracting new business.

    Research repeatedly shows that those who write down their strategies rather than keep them in their heads are massively more successful.

    2) Leading activities 

    Create a weekly or monthly plan of the activities that you need do, and how much of each. This becomes the execution of your plan, with clear numbers behind it. You can also look at this as your activity timetable.

    For example, for prospecting it might be:

    • LinkedIn messaging - how many do you need to send, on what days this week will you do that?
    • Talking to x potential channel partners such as lawyers, accountants or mortgage brokers - how many partners should you contact each week or month? How will you do that?
    • Running advisory seminar for potential clients - Who will ask? How many prospective clients will you approach each day?
    3) Set SMART goals

    Each activity should have SMART goals attached to it (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based).

    However, it's worth make sure these goals align with your activity plan.

    For example, if you run seminars each month how many people are you targeting to attend each one?

    Make sure these numbers are realistic based on the number of people you are approaching. I like to set ‘BHAGS’ – big hairy audacious goals.

    4) Book into your calendar 

    Book all the activities set out in your timetable into your calendar as appointments.

    So, if you need to talk to four potential partners a week, put an hour in your diary as an appointment each week to do this.

    That way, the old excuse of ‘not having the time’ is removed, and your calendar becomes the boss.

    5) Believe and journal

    Write down daily why you need to do these tasks and what they will deliver to you personally.

    Remind yourself of how important they are. You can find a great deal about journaling and the impact it has on positive behaviour online. Look, try it for yourself, and believe that it will make a difference. 

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