By ADELIA C. CHUNG
Success is not a destination; it’s a process, and it takes a lot of persistence and hard work. Create a strong foundation for the process by establishing a solid work ethic and cultivating relationships with your community and clients. Unfortunately, there’s no industry secret or shortcut, but if you dedicate yourself daily to your practice, think outside the box and establish roots in your community, you’ll create the proper groundwork for industry success.
When At First You Don’t Succeed
I often tell the story of how one of my best clients took years to schedule her first meeting. When I initially called her, she told me to call her back in six months, so I did. This went on for five years until she actually agreed to see me. When I asked her why she finally decided to meet, she said that my persistence eventually persuaded her. Don’t get discouraged when a prospective client’s initial response to a request for a meeting or suggested product purchase is “no.” Instead, remember that client commitments take time, so it’s normal to continually follow up with prospects for months or even years.
As long as you believe in what you do, persistence will come easily, as will stepping outside the box. If you’re having trouble prospecting, try heading to a bus station, food court or a park. Seek out people who look like they have time to talk and strike up a conversation about what they do for a living. You’ll be surprised how open most people are and how curious they are about our industry. Your new clients are all around you, you just have to make the effort to reach out to them.
Always Show Up
If you’re new to our line of work, you’re learning how important it is for your clients to trust you. One of the most important components of being trustworthy is to not overpromise and to remain open about your capabilities. When a client asks a question you don’t know the answer to, be honest with them. Let them know you plan to look into it further, and you’ll follow up with them once you have found a solution. Remember, our industry is built on long-term relationships and personal connections. Those relationships take time and effort to build, but they pay off.
You’ll often find the relationships that help your practice thrive are right in your own community. We work in a field that rewards its altruistic practitioners, so become involved with causes and places with missions you support. Municipal organizations, non-profits, sports clubs and houses of worship all offer chances to contribute to your community and put yourself out there as a trusted advisor. Any chance to talk with people about why they do what they do is an opportunity to offer your services.
On top of community involvement, take advantage of the opportunities the industry offers. Traditional networking events are great places to meet other advisors, and they allow you to learn and share innovative ideas with peers. Join financial services organizations and aim to qualify for top-tier ones like MDRT. The custom across the industry is to pass down knowledge, and these organizations have more experienced advisors who can serve as mentors.
Our industry is built on the trust sustained by perseverance, healthy relationships and community. Demonstrate your work ethic, be honest and trustworthy with your clients and keep your promises in and outside the office. If you do all of these regularly, you’ll establish a solid foundation for long-term career success.
Adelia Chung, CLU, ChFC, is the owner of Spectrum Wealth Management and has been an MDRT member for 36 years. She served as MDRT’s first woman Executive Committee President in 2005. Adelia has also qualified for multiple Top of the Table and Court of the Table honors, and she has been honored as a YWCA Outstanding Woman Leader. She serves on the Board of Governors at Chaminade University, as a Deacon at First Presbyterian Church and she is past President at the Friends of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.