Recently, I hired a marketing company to help me with, well, my marketing. Anybody who’s a business owner knows that one of the many hats that we wear is Chief Marketing Officer. This reminded me of why people hire financial planners, people like me, to help them with their financial life. I got a chance to sit on the other side of the table, and we’re going to talk about the experience in this week’s Inside Look at Building Towards Wealth.
I am admittedly early in the process with Seven Marketing, the company I hired to help me with my marketing, but there are a few things that become readily evident to me as I went through the early process.
Everything they’re doing I COULD do on my own. Just as there is nothing that I do for clients that they couldn’t do on their own, if they really wanted to spend the time and energy, there is nothing that Seven Group is doing for me that I couldn’t do on my own. I have heard about everything that they are executing and planning out for me, either on their own podcast The Advisor Lab, my friend Taylor Schulte’s The Experiments in Advisor Marketing Podcast, or elsewhere.
There is a difference between being ABLE to do the job and executing a job.
It reminds me of this great story that I was once told.
There was this little old lady who had a creaky floorboard in her house which was bothering her. She called an expert carpenter to come over to fix the problem.
The carpenter walked in, stepped on the floorboard a couple of times, took out a single nail and hammered it in. He stepped on the floorboard again and there was not a sound.
He then wrote out a bill and handed it to the lady. She said, “How can you charge $100 for driving in one nail?” He then took the bill back, scribbled something on it, and handed it back. The bill now read $1- hammering nail, $99-knowing where to hammer the nail.
I find this story especially compelling because it illustrates the value in expertise. It is not the execution, but the accumulated knowledge that is the real value. You pay for the years of education and practice, so the expert makes it LOOK easy.
Here are three other similarities that have immediately stood out to me in my experience that draw direct parallels to the financial planning process.
They’re helping me focus my energy, You know that I believe Your Most Valuable Resource Is Time. Use It Wisely!
Over the past couple of years, I have done several marketing efforts and expended a lot of time, energy and sometimes money with varying degrees of success.
Sometimes the problem is that I only have a finite amount of time and energy in my day. If I spread them out too thinly, then it is not effective. Working with the marketing company helps me focus my energy. I only have a couple of tasks to focus on in each week, and I feel I am getting a lot more accomplished in that time.
With clients, it is the same thing. I keep an eye on the long-term objectives and break it to down to small, manageable tasks for my client.
Lots of small actions often amount to huge results.
They help me stick to a game plan. As Alex Cavalieri stated on Twitter, I bet shiny object syndrome jumping to a new tool audience series or initiative kills more progress than anything else. That is true with investment strategies as well. If we are trying to always follow the hot strategy, and we will always be chasing returns, which can oftentimes hinder our own investment returns.
It is the idea that “we pick a course and stick to it through both good times and bad” that often leads to the best results. If our goals haven’t changed, it is unlikely our marketing strategy should.
This is true in marketing and in planning for our financial future. This is not to say that we do not adjust along the way. Of course, we do. We just don’t make 180 degree turns unless our end goal has changed just as much.
They keep me accountable. This is an often-overlooked benefit of working with a professional. I am an organized individual that gets a lot accomplished every week.
Sometimes there is a task or two that I look at and try to avoid because it just does not spark joy. However, it needs to get done if I want to accomplish great things. Working with this company helps me remain accountable because they have a timeline for me to execute on, and they follow up with me regularly to execute on this timeline.
Knowing that they are working on my behalf helps keep me accountable to the timeline that I want to accomplish.
The timeline is based on my overall goals we discussed in our first meeting. They have just given me the game plan to execute to help me reach my goals.
The same is true for financial planning. Business owners are amongst the busiest people that I know. Our hair is always on fire with some new business initiative.
For those of us that are married with families, if it’s not a fire on the business front, then it’s a fire on the home front.
What often ends up happening is all the things that we need to get done in our financial lives get put on the back burner.
Regular follow-ups with clients help keep them accountable to their overall goals. They have charted the destination; we’ve put together the plan. Part of my responsibility is to help them make sure they stay on track for the plan.
I hope my own experience has helped clarify some overlooked values in having a financial planner. It’s not just about the investments
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