“The last four months of been the best in my 10-year career,” gushed Joel, his emotions at a fevered pitch as he continued, “I brought in over $30 million dollars and seven new clients.”
Joel was a junior partner, albeit 41 years young, of a very successful Wealth Management Team and for the first time out-performed his three senior partners in terms of new assets. What made all of this even more remarkable was that Joel never met these prospects, now clients, in person. It was all done through video conferencing, with each new client coming from unsolicited referrals.
As I got more details from Joel’s coach, it became obvious that he followed the four basic rules required for skill mastery.
4 Rules of Skill Mastery
1. Set a “BIG” Goal
Joel was good at relationship marketing in the pre-COVID world, averaging between $15 to $20 million in new assets annually over the past five years. However, this year, in his words “Our coach was convinced our team was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the opportunities in this crisis, so I committed to a crazy goal of $50 million in new assets. Every time I say it out loud, I still think I’m crazy.”
Yet it was this BIG stretch goal that forced Joel into his deliberate practice routine. He knew he needed to master the technology and skillset required to connect with prospects through video conferencing. This type of practice requires discipline and commitment necessary to have any chance of achieving a BIG goal. Whether you’re a musician, athlete, or a financial advisor – a serious goal commitment is the starting point.
2. Break Your Practice Into Chunks
In Joel’s case, the practice was for both technology and delivery. He had to determine what technology to use, how it was to be used, and how to overcome the challenges that come along with it. Joel’s team quickly determined the Zoom video was going to be their medium and that Joel was going to master it.
From a delivery standpoint, virtual meetings can be a little rocky your first time. Nobody wants that first time to be in front of a big prospect. That’s where practice comes into play. What will you say? How will you appear on camera? Does your lighting and background speak to the quality of services you provide? These are all things you can work out in advance of a big prospect meeting.
3. Spaced Repetition (Practice)
Joel started by interfacing with his high school daughter. In many ways, she became his initial Zoom coach as she was using it regularly for school and socializing with friends. Once he felt he knew how to set-up a Zoom meeting, Joel began to practice with a couple of his team members. Very quickly the Zoom vibe began to penetrate the team. In Joel’s words, Zoom vibe meant that the team wasn’t simply going to use Zoom video to communicate, they were going to master all the nuances and be as professional in a Zoom meeting as they were in person.
They engaged in repetitive role plays. They practiced client review meetings, sales presentations, and interactions with COIs. Few teams in the industry would do this, but few teams put up these kinds of client acquisition results.
4. Get Professional Feedback
Joel was fortunate to be using our coach (full disclosure, we do a lot of video conferencing coaching), who agreed to provide the tough love necessary to master interfacing through video. Nobody likes to hear negative feedback, especially after working really hard to master a specific skill, but it’s essential. In this case, the team had the professional component down pat, almost too down. They were all too stiff, too rigid, talking too much, too commanding, all of which made them come across as uncomfortable and transferred to whoever else was involved with the meeting.
It didn’t take long for everyone to relax and the team began to have fun with their practice sessions. Their coach suggested they pretend they were in a face-to-face meeting, be conversational and to make their primary objective – connecting on a personal level. Only when that objective was met should they segue into a business conversation.
As for prospects, the objective was to be able to naturally walk them through their sales presentation in the same manner as if in their conference room. They quickly discovered that they could read body language, address questions, recognize potential objections before they surfaced, and ask for their business (close the sale) just as if they would when face-to-face in their conference room.
Joel was the first team member to go live and his early success got everyone’s attention. He’d also been practicing longer and more deliberately than his senior partners. Nothing motivates proactive behavior like success. The partners now conduct a dry-run (a practice session) before every Zoom meeting, whether it’s with a client, prospect, or COI.
It’s no surprise that this wealth management team is arguably one of the most skilled groups of professionals at video communication. And it’s also no surprise that the entire team is on pace to have their largest new asset acquisition year. As for Joel, he’s still not sure if he’s going to reach his BIG goal – but it appears that he’s well on his way.