It’s a Game of “How” – Episode Transcript

How is the game? How is the game? Qualitative, what does it mean to be qualitative? Qualitative means to measure the quality of a thing, the quality of a thing, not the quantity of a thing. Quality is a how issue. It’s a how will you do it. People say, “No, Chris, it’s about why. Why comes before how and what.” Well, why matters, and we’ll talk about that in a second, but let me be laser clear. At the end of the day, where the rubber meets the road, this is a how exercise. If you want to win, it’s about how. You have to do the activity, absolutely, that’s great, and the drivers behind it are critical. We’ll talk about both for just a second, but you need to know it’s about the how you do it, so let’s talk about it for a second.

The what matters. You need to have enough activity in a business, so, largely, if you wanted to dramatically oversimplify the advisory business, there’s two things to be successful:

1. You got to have enough activity.
2. It’s the quality of the work that you do.

That’s the equation. What matters. You have to have enough activity, and if you don’t have enough activity, why you’re done before you even start. You cannot steer a parked car. You’ve got to be in motion. You can talk to other people who’ve driven cars. You can read about driving cars, but until you’re moving a car, until you’re driving a car, it’s a different equation. You need the technical information. You need the product information. You need your regulatory information. You need to know what’s going on in the market. You need to know information about what’s going on in your niche market. All of it’s critical. You have to have it handled. We’re not writing it off. You have to have those basics. The what matters.

The why is also very important, and why gets a lot of air time these days because there was a drift away from it. Simon Sinek has talked lots about why. Lots of other people have talked about why through the ages, right from the stoics and probably sooner. Why is critical because it influences how you do things. It’s the influencer that drives how you do it. For example, if you work out every day, why do you work out? Do you work out because you want to look good and it’s for other people? Are you working out for your own health, or you working out because you have a phenomenal person in your life or a family that you’ve created and you want every possible day you can have with those people? Keeping yourself healthy and strong allows you to do it, or you want to have the vitality needed to be completely engaged with those people. There’s a very different driver for why you’re working out. Are you working out because you want to or because you have to, and for what reason? What’s the why behind it?

We did a webinar recently about meaning and having a meaningful practice, and meaning fuels us. It gives us energy. It allows us to attract a better team. It allows us to differentiate in a marketplace. It allows us to have a higher client loyalty, especially if the markets go down. Why matters because it influences how, but the game is how. The game is quality, and that doesn’t sound exciting. It’s like, “The game’s about quality. Thanks, Chris. Yeah, okay, so have good quality.” Well, it’s more than that because if the game is how … because think about it. You’ve got thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of financial advisors that, in the eyes of the consumer, are all arguably doing the same thing. How do you stand out? What makes one different from another?

Well, it’s the quality of the thing, not the, “Oh, that one does lots so they must be good.” There might be a fraction of people that think that, but if the game is quality, that means you have to up your game. It means you have to raise your bar. You say to yourself, “Chris …” I guess that’s saying to me. “Chris, I have a good business,” or, “Chris, I have a great business.” Well, first of all, that’s fantastic. I’m thrilled, truly thrilled, because that’s business we’re in. We want to see you win. Why should I even take a look at this? I’m good. I’m good, and that may be the problem is that you’re good, and the problem with that is that we’re not here to be good.

If somebody does a poor job at things, they don’t get a poor result, they get pained. If somebody does a good job at things, they don’t get a good result, they get poor results. If somebody does a great job at something, they don’t get a good … If somebody does a great job at things, they get a good result, but if you take it up to the top notch, you go up to outstanding, to amazing, you get everything, and it’s completely unfair, and I love it. If you get to this highest standard, you get it all. You get the freedom, freedom financially, freedom with your time. You get the pride of the work that you’ve done. I don’t mean bragging. Pride is just the truth. It’s more than the truth. I’m talking about pride in the work that you’ve done, the service that you get to deliver, and the mastery that’s possible, because why would you go into this like, “Oh, I’m good. You know, life’s good, so I’m good.” You’re not meant for that.

The pursuit of mastery is really what starts to shift things, but you only get this, you only get to that outstanding standard when you focus on the qualitative side of the equation, when you deal with how you’re doing what you do, how you meet someone. It’s got to be qualitatively different than how most other advisors are talking with people. Your first meeting, your approach, as to be qualitatively different than what everyone else is doing, not just quantity of meetings, but the quality of that conversation, and it doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s the quality of the engagement.

Someone gets into a planning engagement or you’re going to do a fair bit of planning involved in it or product selection and how you’re going to recommend it, how they’re going to select, and the ongoing care for them, this is a qualitative exercise. It’s not, “I’m just going to meet with you as often as I can.” It’s not quantity. Qualitative.

To get there, three things you’re going to have to handle to kill it:

The first is differentiation, and that just doesn’t mean how are you different. It means what difference are you creating in their lives, and how are they experiencing it?

The second is you got to make sure that you’re handling your own capacity so you can do enough of the right work. The same for your team.

The third is system, and systems is key because if your work is not repeatable, you cannot improve it. You may have gotten to where you’ve gotten because you’re saying it different every time and you’re getting away with it, it’s working, but you cannot systematize it, you cannot scale that. It’s one of the reasons that lots of senior advisors and successful advisors can’t teach what they do because they haven’t turned it into a system. They haven’t turned it into a step-by-step. What they’re doing is just thriving on the charisma and connection that they’re able to create with people and their technical abilities to roll with it, but you cannot improve it if you do not have the systems that are there, so this is not just about creating an amazing experience. I’ll read a book and I’m going find out how to create an amazing experience, and I’m going to make sure that the right drinks are there when people show up for meetings and so on. Those are important because they can affect the quality of it, but it’s about care. Successful business is a deep act of love and care for someone else.

Think about the work that we do. Think about the work that you do and the impact that that has on other people’s lives, that echoes on for generations. It’s staggering. When you bring that level of care and attention to the table, when you bring that, it all changes. I want you to get deliberate about it. I want you to watch how your business and maybe your life and maybe the lives of your clients and of your team transform before your eyes. When you’re qualitative and you’re focused, it’s transformational. Until you focus on the measure of the quality of a thing, there will be no transformation, none.