Publication: The Trusted Financial Advisor
Date: Jan 2008
Your Best Marketing Strategy: Walking Your Talk
By: Bill Bachrach, CSP, CPAE

It was my first week of production, and I was waiting my turn at the cashier's cage. Several of the veterans were ribbing a young guy about his early retirement. Besides being fit and healthy, he had the look of a man at peace. I wondered what he had retired from. As it turned out, Pete had worked for our firm, and he started in the business at 22. Apparently, he was very successful. I don't know his last name, but I do know that he "retired" at 42.

I discovered he didn't actually retire - because he was too unhappy with the business. Pete retired because he was financially independent, and there was a whole lot more to life he wanted to discover and experience. He earned good money, made some smart choices, and was done by 42. Wow! Wouldn't it be great to be a working financial advisor who doesn't have to? Have you ever noticed the financial advisors who need the business the least attract the most business? Listen up. This is a marketing idea.

Why don't we pay better attention to these lessons? Within a short time, my production was very good, and I started earning a good living. Unlike Pete, however, I had debts, and my money habits weren't going to make me financially independent. I must have thought it was more important to look successful rather than be successful. I remember thinking, "If I can make this much money in my 20s, imagine how much I'll earn in my 30s and 40s!" So, I spent everything I earned and as much as the credit card companies would lend me. It was a good thing I could prospect and sell because I spent the first half of my 30s recovering financially from my 20s. Fortunately, I had an awakening. Part of what jolted me from the path of total financial annihilation was the marketing idea this article is all about: the most important thing financial professionals can do is walk their talk. It is more important to be an example than it is to be an advisor.

It's not good enough to assess people's needs and give them our best advice. The true professionals are role models. Whether our Clients ever discover the truth about our financial success or not, we ourselves know the truth. And if this truth is not congruent with who we hold ourselves out to be, it will gnaw at us until it destroys us or until we make the commitment to fix it. I decided to invest at least as much time, effort, and money working on myself and my finances as I invested in my prospecting, marketing, and selling skills. Aldous Huxley said, "There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."

Over the years, I delivered hundreds of speeches to more than 50 different companies in the Financial Services industry. My Clients are the biggest names in our business, and not one of them has a requirement that the people who sell their products and give financial advice have their own financial lives together. I spoke at many top-producer events where "successful" financial professionals who had a negative net worth were being honored for their production. How long should it take advisors who gives financial advice to become financially independent themselves? Do you know someone in this business who is getting awards for production, but their personal financial life is in the toilet? If your Clients knew how you handle your own money, would they be impressed? Do you think this is important when it comes to earning Client trust?

Your fastest track to your next level of success is to go to work on yourself and become a financial role model. The closer you live your life to the proven laws of financial success, the more likely you are to attract a better caliber clientele. Even if you are an effective advisor and have good production, your success pales in comparison to the success enjoyed by those who walk their talk. What does it mean to walk your talk?

Walking your talk means having a written financial strategy, implementing it, and following some basic financial success principles:

* Pay yourself first
* Live within your means
* Have adequate cash reserves (2-6 months)
* Have complete insurance coverage (risk management)
* Pay off your debts
* Make regular contributions to your financial independence plan
* Give generously to charity, and
* Hire a financial advisor.

I am not suggesting you have to be rich to give others financial advice. Though, there is a certain logic that people who give others financial advice ought to become wealthy. Wouldn't you prefer to be coached or advised by someone who walks their talk?

Your best prospecting tool, marketing tool, and trust- building factor will always be walking your talk. I can teach you many methods and skills for earning your Client's trust, but none is more important than who you are. One of my favorite laws from success literature has always been the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction states that you do not pursue success; rather, you attract success by the person you become. You will attract great Clients by the financial professional you become.

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