What Do You Need To Be Considered The Best In Your Field?

In a recent research study on what separates high performing Financial Advisors (making $500,000 or more in income per year on commission and/or fees) from average or struggling performers – my colleague Bill Bonnstetter, President of Target Training International, found two specific talents that these high performing Advisors shared. One was “empathy” (a component of Emotional Intelligence) and the other was “personal accountability”.

What explains empathy for a Financial Advisor? If you follow our work, which is based on David McClelland and Daniel Goleman’s research — they contend that 90% of star performers have high Emotional Intelligence. Empathy, in a nutshell, is your ability to “get” other people’s perspectives, i.e. walk a mile in their moccasins. When someone believes you understand them, they bond more quickly and open up more willingly. Think about it…how many people actually “get” you? Most are so tied up in their own agenda, you actually don’t factor in! On the other hand, the ones who do get you, typically own you (in a good way of course).

How do you rank on Empathy? For the record, no matter how good you think you are, you are probably wrong. When we do our Leadership 360 assessments, we find most people score themselves much higher than their constituents. Empathy is one of the toughest competencies to master and wield appropriately.

Personal accountability on the other hand, is really about keeping promises. It’s about doing what you say you are going to do – no matter what. Pretty simple, but how many people actually do this as a common practice? Think about how delighted you are when you work with someone who you don’t have to follow up with and that you can always count on to get things done as promised. I can tell you, my high performing clients get strong scores in this area every time vs. my clients who are struggling.

How would you rate yourself on Personal Accountability? Forgive me in advance, but after years of assessing leaders and managers, I can safely accuse most all of you of rating yourself higher than the people who work for you. You’d be amazed at how many innocent promises you can make and break during the day, never realizing how it is impacting the people around you. Your position as a leader also puts you in a position of implied promises and responsibilities. Have you thought these through and how you will honor them?

If you reflect back on the research posed at the beginning of this blog regarding the high performing Financial Advisor, it makes sense that not only do they “get” their target market, but they are vigilant about keeping their promises.

So here’s how I’ll close; we know what we’re looking for from high performing Financial Advisors…What talents do you need to be showcasing on a regular basis for you to feel great about your game and be considered the best in your field?



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