10 MIN READ
Goal-setting is a hot topic, and for good reason. Goals help us stay focused, measure progress, stay accountable throughout the year, and provide landmarks to celebrate incremental wins as we grow.
However, not every financial advisor has the same goal, and not everyone is confident the goal they have is the right one.
I recently hosted a live workshop to help XYPN members define strong, inspiring marketing goals for themselves.
There was resounding “Yes!” about one point in particular, so I’ve decided to give it some extra air time here.
No matter where you are in the goal-chasing journey, this tip has the ingredients you need to exceed whatever goal you're pursuing.
Want to know my goal for this blog? My goal is that the ten minutes it takes you to read this (and workshop your own answers) will be the best ten minutes you’ll spend all month.
I hope to change the way you set goals forever.
Don’t Skip Ahead
We’re talking about vital business decisions here, so while it might be tempting, or you might be in a hurry, don’t skim the words and don’t neglect to workshop every step!
Good guidance only works when put into practice, just like in financial planning.
The first step toward crushing your goal is pretty basic: define the goal you want to crush.
Often, a financial advisor defines their marketing goal in terms of new clients, revenue, or AUM.
For example: 20 new clients, reach $200k in revenue, or add $10 million in AUM.
These are fine goals—but they’re only partially complete.
You must make sure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (otherwise known as a SMART goal).
Most financial advisors already state their goal in a measurable and relevant way (20 clients, $12k in MRR, etc...).
But you should add specificity about the goal—for example, the type of client or type of revenue.
Are we talking about 20 retainer clients? 20 one-time planning clients? Are we talking about $200k in recurring revenue, or total for the year?
Then, to address the "attainable" part of your SMART goal, I suggest setting a goal you’d be fairly comfortable sharing with, for example, a board of directors. Imagine you have to pitch your plan and goal to a group of people who you admire, and who expect great things of you.
The goal should push you to be better, but not be so unattainable that you’re setting yourself up for embarrassment.
Lastly, add a timeframe. This goal can’t linger on forever; you’re trying to reach it in a certain time period. State what that time period is.
NOTE: The three examples goals I mentioned are focused on the end result of marketing, not marketing actions. You may feel compelled to create a to-do list of core action items, but know that to-dos are not goals. A goal is something you want to reach. A to-do list contains your ideas for how you might get there.
Now Crush the Goal
Now that you have a goal, you’re ready to crush it.
Make sure your primary goal is written down and you feel good about it before moving on. Once it is and you do, read on.
We’re going to build upon a popular goal type and apply it specifically to an independent financial advisory firm.
This can work whether you’re experienced in marketing or not. The goal type is called a “BHAG” or Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
A BHAG is “a strategic business statement... created to focus an organization on a single medium- to long-term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.”
That last part is important.
Others might think your goal is far-fetched, but you don’t see it as impossible.
Don’t be afraid to push the limit a bit. Look at your primary goal and ask yourself how far you’re willing to take it.
Would you tell the Board your goal is to get 20 new clients in X time, but really you want push for 40? Would you tell the Board you’re going after $12k in MRR by the end of next year, but you truly want to hit $20k?
Set a BHAG that is aspirational and inspiring. It’s for no one’s eyes but your own. Write it down.
This next part is where things get really interesting. Equipped with your BHAG, you start to think differently. You’re no longer focusing so tightly on what’s “normal,” what you “should” do, or what other people are doing. You have to level up your marketing ideas.
Look at your BHAG. To achieve that level of success, you can’t settle for mediocrity. You have to push the envelope. You have to try new things. You have to be exceptional.
BHAGs force you to wonder, “How can I make this epic result my reality?” BHAGs dare you to dream. Your old ideas come face-to-face with the demands of your BHAG goal. How do they stack up?
I am NOT saying you should throw away all of your marketing routines, ideas, and plans. Keep them! Those might be what get you to your primary goal. They might keep the Board happy.
What I’m saying is you have the opportunity to do more.
Add five or six action items you will take within a set time period that have the potential to get you to your BHAG.
Are you used to hosting seminars for 20 people, and one usually becomes a client? Well, team up with a large organization and get 800 people to a seminar. That’s +40 client potential.
Now you’re thinking next level. Now you’re aiming higher. You’re forced to consider what truly has the potential to bring exceptional results to your firm. And you have five or six high-impact efforts to try.
Push your limit, reach for more, shoot for the moon and “even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (I didn’t expect to bring a cliché quote into this conversation, and yet here we are.)
Heed These Warnings
Chances are if you’re crushing a goal, it will be a bit uncomfortable. I’d like you to be aware of this so when fear or nerves or uncertainty come knocking at your door, you stay on track. These are simply byproducts of exceptional work.
Exceptional means unusual, and unusual things are not commonly done. So, by definition, these things are not comfortable. This awareness alone might trigger some fear. That’s okay. Push through it and tackle those five or six high-impact action items anyway.
My second warning about the adventure you’re about to embark on is some things flop, even for the most famous creators.
You might try the first two ideas on your list and get nowhere. That's totally fine. You’re pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted waters, perhaps not only for you but maybe for the financial services industry as a whole. Not every one of your ideas will be a silver bullet. Keep trying, keep exploring, and keep strengthening your mindset.
Finally, watch out for fear of success. All too often I see an advisor panic over a sudden influx of prospects. They question whether or not they can handle it. What I'm really seeing is an advisor fearing their own dream.
Do NOT be afraid of success. Embrace it.
About the Author
Carolyn Dalle-Molle is a professional marketer with several years of experience helping small businesses reach their growth goals. Her approach to marketing is both creative and analytical; helping people achieve a creative flow that’s unique and exciting, while using tracking and metrics to learn what actually works for their business. Based in Boston, she's honored to work with XY Planning Network from coast to coast. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering with elderly, making videos, and traveling with her friends and family.