Article by Kobus Kleyn CFP®

"To be consistently successful and to maintain a sustainable practice you need to know your strengths and incorporate such strengths into your practice building through relationship building."

Some of these I practice are as follow:

Listen to your clients and let them do the talking first and be attentive at all times with real interest. Be in the “NOW”. You will understand what I mean if you read the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Echhart Tolle. Even if you do not agree you should never become confrontational. Show real empathy and understanding as financial planning is never easy and life changing events does happen.

  • Financial planning is not about individuals always but much more about families and therefore gets to know all stakeholders within the family.
  • Always recognise, compliment and commend clients and family achievements but with sincerity as people will know when you not sincere.
  • If you are very sincere and take care of your clients and their families and go beyond the call of duty (provide more services than what you get income for) your clients will become your best center of influences (COI) and you will never have to worry about where your next client will come from as you will receive qualified leads and referrals by the dozens. If you do not get such leads and have to do cold calling you will understand now why.
  • Never pretend or act out of character as your clients will eventually see through the “act” and by following the above you would never have to act in a way you are not comfortable and can be assured of operating as ethical as possible at all times.
  • So find your strengths and hone them all the time as life does change and your environment follow suit.
  • When you feel things are not going according to plan or you are not productive enough it is time to schedule a “Walkabout”.
  • This is achieved by making a list of clients close to your office area and in easy reach (maybe 20-40 kilometers away at max and who you may have not seen for a while and simply without taking anything with e.g tablet, laptop, briefcase, pen or similar just move from client to client with no intend to do business or even discuss business and simply ask “how are you” over a cup of coffee and you may be amazed with the response and action and what follows.! Depending on the area in the world you are in (geographically clients far apart) and if you have very busy clients and depending on the “generation” of clients you deal with, you can practice the same with making a couple of phone calls with “ I just phoned to say hello and to see how you and the family are doing”.
  • I have only found such “walkabout” visits with my clients in their own comfort zone or phone calls to be much more relaxed and it allows for consolidated relationship building with my clients and it certainly has changed the way clients perceive me. It should not always be about business and sales at all cost which is never sustainable.
  • You have to now and then “recharge” your batteries and there is no better way to do so than taking an annual “pilgrimage” to the MDRT annual conference during June month in USA/Canada with over 8000 of our fellow financial professionals worldwide and get revitalise.
  • If you however cannot make it to the MDRT “pilgrimage” then find a reputable financial industry conference locally or not to far from your practice and break away for a couple of days (3-5 days) to the best interest of your clients and family. This will not only reconfirm your faith in what you are doing when uncertainties come around as they will always do and it will reemphasize why you started this mission of caring for families and making a difference but it will also bring you up to date with best operating practices worldwide or locally and learn from your peers.
  • Although I believe motivation come from within even us as financial professionals have to get some motivating juices now and then before we can motivate others to do something about their financial planning and such a breakaway will do just that and revitalise you as well as look after your health.

Like anything in life and to make things happen it is best to break bad habits and create new habits with disciplines intact (just try to work out why most diets never work) and I was fortunate to have read a great book (recommended by a client) many years ago called The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari as written by Robin Sharma. One of the key points in the book is that if you do anything for 21 occasions you will break a habit and create new once.

Finally it may be time to unleash your magic from within and liberate yourself as a financial professional to the best interest of your family, clients, the industry and most importantly to yourself and to understand the concept of living a “ Whole Person Life” . I was so lucky to read one of my best books ever called Unleash Your Magic by Logan Naidu, author, motivational speaker and 33 year qualifying life and Top of the Table MDRT member and current MDRT Divisional Vice President.

This book has taught me that as human beings we are endowed with incredible capacity to dream big and to convert these dreams to reality and how we can rise above self-imposed limitations and imagine our way to success. We are often judged by external indicators of success – our bank balance, the car we drive, the house we live in, the clothes we wear – but in the end, we will be judged by the legacy we leave for future generations, and what we did to make this world a better place. It is the impact, the contribution and the positive difference we make in the lives of others that counts in the final analysis.

It has become so much more important to live my life with purpose and give back and therefore it has become my mission to become a stakeholder within the financial services industry and structures which I love so much as to ensure we all as financial professionals will in the future deserve the professionals status our industry so much deserve to the best interest of our clients.