Winning is a Process (The How of Winning)
Do you agree with this line? Even if you do not, you will agree by the end of the next few paragraphs.
Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) in his book “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” writes “Let me put it bluntly. Goals are for Losers. If we are going to focus on goals, we are going to struggle. Instead focus on doing what needs to be done. When you are focused on goals, you are always losing because you are away from them. You are never at your goal. Instead, if you focus on systems (I would say processes), you can celebrate your little wins through the day and that boosts our personal energy; the energy we have throughout the day.”
Just think about how true this is. We set goals but we are always far away from the goals. This causes many to give up as they do not see sufficient progress and do not understand the nano-compounding of their skills that is really happening beneath the surface.
I must share this story from Lanny Bassham’s Book “With Winning in Mind” to illustrate this point. Lanny is an Olympic Champion (Shooting), an author and coach to high performance Golfers, CEOs, US Navy Seals, and the FBI. Lanny writes about one of his golfer clients who won the tournament but did not even realize he had won. This golfer had not won a tournament in a few years. So, Lanny tells him that “Let us not set a goal of winning the tournament. Let us focus on the process of winning golf tournaments.” These words are gold so read this bold line again and try to understand the significance of the lines. In our profession, Forget the Goal of winning a Client. Let us Focus on the Process of Winning a Client. Can you see the difference?
Back to the story, the Golfer is now in his 4th tournament of the year and on the 18th hole. The crowd knows he has to make the put to Win. The golfer is however focused on the Process and he puts it in the hole. His playing partner shakes his hand, and the golfer thinks he is just being polite. His wife comes running and hugs him. At that time, he asks “Did I Win?” Yes, he had just won 1 Million Dollars. Just think about it. If the golfer had instead thought “There is a million dollars at stake and it’s a Million Dollar Put. I have to Win this”. This plays in our head and people mess up, not this champion. He was so focused on the process and execution that he just went through his routine and ended up winning.
I have experienced exactly this (not in golf but in prospect meetings) several times. I can recall one of my key prospect meetings in 2006 where I did not even realize that the client had signed up. I was so focused on the process and delivering a world class experience that I did not even realize the client signed up. Imagine the pressure that many go through “I have to get this client on board or What if he says No?” Many financial professionals take this pressure, come across as desperate, needy, and then mess up.
So, what are the processes that you need to master to Win in this business? Here are 3 of the important ones (there are many others):
- The First Meeting Process: If there is one process to master, it is this. Everyone does first meetings, but it is the way you do it that matters. Doing this in a world class way and delivering an outstanding client experience is key.
- The Client Referral Process: Everyone will say that getting referrals is how most professional firms grow. Yet most firms do not have a defined process to get referrals.
- The Retirement Conversation Process: Majority of the financial professionals that I see today have a long way to go to become exceptional in guiding pre –retirees and retirees on living the lives they have imagined with their money.
The way to master these processes and more is by Purposeful and Deliberate Practice. Not just any Practice. Purposeful and Deliberate Practice. Elite performers and average performers practice differently. Troy Bassham, who is Lanny’s son, and a Coach says “An Average Performer practices till he gets it right. Elite Performers practices till he gets it wrong.” The late Kobe Bryant was doing 1300 – 3 pointers in basketball every day. They do not get bored of the basics and fundamentals.
If you master these processes, I can guarantee you that there will be a day when you will have signed up your biggest client and will not even realize that you have done it.
Raising a Toast to Winning and the Winners in all of Us.