As creatives, is easy to be unsure if your ideas are valid, or how to sell yourself and promote your services. Whether you are a full time employee or a consultant, selling your ideas is a skill required and doesn't come naturally to a lot of us creative types! Below is an article written for Model FA, who has partnered with us to inspire and educate us by sharing their point of view. The same principals apply, whether you a financial advisor or graphic designer- Thank you to Model FA for this helpful article.
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” ― Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I’ve read recently that Covey adapted this quote from Gandhi. Regardless of who said those words first, the quote holds the key to the kind of outstanding results you admire in high performers.
And I think that it’s the best expression of how mindset, behavior patterns, and results are connected.
The mind’s power extends beyond our immediate consciousness. Think of an iceberg with 90% of its mass submerged beneath the surface of the water; your subconscious mind is just as vast and powerful. And once something (a belief or a habit, for example) is a part of your subconscious mind, it will drive your daily choices without any surface awareness from you.
The continuum looks something like this:
Doesn’t working hard trump mindset?
If you’ve ever been conscripted into ballet or piano lessons as a child, the idea of routine practice probably came into play. You went to your lessons and followed instructions. You may have enjoyed some practice sessions and hated others. Regardless of how much enjoyment you got out of the process, if you did this long enough then you eventually developed a level of proficiency — perhaps a 5 or a 6 on a 10-point scale. This proficiency came from deliberately repeating certain routines over and over. Enjoyment and fun would have certainly made the experience more pleasant… but they were not required for you to improve, up to a point.
And if you didn’t want to take ballet or piano lessons, you were probably sabotaging your level of success subconsciously. Your brain was in effect limiting you at that 5 or 6 and putting an invisible ceiling on your progress. This is mindset at work.
Self-limiting beliefs at work
As a creative building a business, you are most likely not sabotaging yourself intentionally. However, your self-limiting beliefs could be doing just that below the surface.
Here are a few self-limiting beliefs that seem to be quite popular. The internal dialog might sound something like this…
You: I really hate sales (or promoting myself).
Self-limiting belief: No one has ever taught you to do sales right. You should hate it. You’re right, we suck at sales.
You: Since I suck at sales, why should I spend time prospecting?
Self-limiting belief: You’re right. Prospecting is just a waste of time.
You: The reason I am having trouble finding prospects is because they don’t see me as an expert.
Let’s do some labeling for a minute. This internal dialogue starts from a mindset of “I’m not enough”. The self-limiting belief basically just agrees and acts as a theme for you — unless you are willing to confront it.
What can creatives do about this vicious cycle?
The fact may well be that you’re not good at sales or promoting yourself yet. But through practice, you can change that.
Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself to explore your next steps.
Have you had any training from someone who is better than you at this task? If the answer is “No,” consider picking up a great book about selling, or marketing yourself, signing up for a course with an expert, or getting yourself a coach or mentor.
Have you employed the strategies/techniques that successful professionals have used? The best ideas in the world are worth nothing without diligent implementation. After you read that book, finish that course, or hire a coach, make a list of specific strategies and exercises you will commit to learning and using.
What’s the underlying fear or belief that’s holding you back from committing 100% of your efforts to learning this new skill or trying a new approach? You might discover that you have a self-limiting belief. Perhaps you think you are too old to learn about digital marketing, or that you need just one more designation to truly position yourself as an authority figure. Look at those beliefs closely, because without pushing against them your progress will be modest at best.
Once you answer these questions, you can begin to address your deficiency so you can begin to close the skill gap.
Here’s a piece of good news. Every successful creative has walked this path before. You must face the fact that you are responsible for expanding your skills, and the only way to get better is to practice.
Here are 3 steps to help you overcome self-limiting beliefs.
Record a prospecting call and/or your elevator pitch and have an objective 3rd party give you feedback on your technique and performance. Choose someone who you know is very good at this and ask them to identify specific ways you can improve.
Incorporate that feedback into a “modified” framework. You might write a script that you can reference in future conversations, or simple prompts that will help you have a more productive conversation.
Rinse and repeat while monitoring your close ratio for improvements.
If your prospecting results leave you in a cycle of despair and hopelessness, begin by examining your behavior patterns and underlying beliefs. If you want a real-life example of what that might look like, Patrick Brewer has had two coaching sessions with an advisor in our program using this same framework recently (Note: The link will take you to the private Facebook group for the Model FA, so you’ll have to join the group before you can watch the videos.) This video is a conversation between two financial advisors, but the advice and examples given can apply to anyone selling an idea, a service or going after new clients.
As you will see in this real-life example, an objective 3rd party with more experience than the advisor can help identify blind spots and brainstorm tactical solutions. The ultimate goal of a feedback session like this is to break out of the loop of a low conversion rate with prospects. This takes work and the willingness to make a change — but it’s within your reach. As your mindset shifts from “I’m not enough” to “I’m enough” or “I can be enough”, you will begin to see stronger results, better-fit clients, and a brighter future for your firm.
Dominique Henderson is the founder of DJH Capital Management and director of Client Experience at Brewer Consulting. He’s spent over two decades in financial services helping clients do more with their life and money — and helping advisors grow their businesses.
Thank you to Dominique Henderson and MA Financial for sharing advice with IFD!