Financial advisor article published at Agent eNews: Storytelling – A Must-Have Tool for Financial Advisors

I’m co-writing a series of articles for financial professionals, along with my colleague Rosemary Smyth, an international coach to financial advisors.

One of our articles was posted at Agent eNews. The article describes how financial advisors can grow their practices through effective and compelling storytelling techniques.

Check out the article at the link below:

Storytelling: A Must-Have Tool for Financial Advisors

Aaron Hoos’ weekly reading list: ‘Early adopters, game-changers, and fear-thwarters’ edition

Aaron Hoos: Weekly reading list

October and early November were INSANELY busy. Things are starting to finally slow down (slightly). I don’t want them to slow down too much but it’s nice to have a moment to catch your breath.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

  • Why the Digital “Land Rush” of 2007-2017 Will Impact The Future of Business as We Know It. In this blog post at The Sales Lion, author Marcus Sheridan talks about how the businesses that started marketing sooner would have a better chance than those that joined the game later. I think the author has a point but as I reached the end of the post, I thought about different ways that late-to-the-game businesses could still succeed online. It comes down to adding value and targeting a narrower market — I think those are the ways to survive if you are coming late to the game.
  • Play a bigger game. This post by Chris Brogan is timely for me. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking about lately, particularly as I work on Finishing What I Start and as I think about what’s next for my business. Brogan says that, if you want to play a bigger game, you need to think a few years out but execute daily. He prompts us to think about what our bigger game really is (and that defines what we should be doing with our time today).
  • Leave no fear unanswered. This is a great post by Christopher S. Penn who challenges us to think about what we are afraid of and to address it. He uses the example of a fear of heights but I think this translates into the business world so well. What are you afraid of in your business? Cold calls? Asking for the order? Negative publicity? Taking risks? There are so many potential fears — and business fears — out there that we should all just pick one and hammer on it until it is no longer a fear.

The end-states of the finish #FinishWhatYouStart

Projects are easy to start but not all of them are shepherded through to a finish. Some fizzle and are left out in the cold to die. I want to see more of my projects end successfully rather than fizzle so I’ve been thinking about the possible end-states of the finish.

What are all the possible ways that a project can “end” successfully? Here are some ideas I’ve sketched out. These are in no particular order:

  • Goals surpassed.
  • Goals achieved.
  • The project is complete (i.e. there are no more project activities to perform).
  • The project has reached a state of critical mass, and the potential exists to grow or maintain the project with continued activity.
  • The project failed.

Maybe there are more but these seem to be the ones I encounter most often. (And as I re-read the list, I wonder if some of them overlap). I call all of these a “finish” or an “end” because you get to the point in the project’s timeline when you reach one of these and you make the choice about what to do next.

Even project failure is a type of “successful” finish (in that it is an end-state that you have reached by the end of your project timeline, and now you have the choice to do something about it or to kill it and go on to something else). Compare this with the problem of not finishing, which means that you start something and then let it fizzle — perhaps because the effort became too mundane or because you allowed adversity to overwhelm the project… so the project doesn’t really end but it also doesn’t really go anywhere at all.

So I guess an end-state is a point in time that you have worked towards your goal and now you can evaluate where you are and decide what to do next. (While an unsuccessful project is one where you don’t have that at all).

Let’s look at each of these end-states:

Goals surpassed. Great! Congratulations on achieving this rare level of success. You set goals on your project and you have blown past them. This is really exciting. Now it’s time to think about setting new goals — stretching goals — and work toward those.

Goals achieved. This is a very good end. Something you can be proud of. Not all projects get here and you have worked hard to get to this point. Now it’s time to think about what’s next. If there is still some opportunity to pursue in this project then go for it!

The project is complete (i.e. there are no more project activities to perform.). Sometimes a project doesn’t have a life beyond the project timeline. When you finish raking the leaves on your lawn, you’re done. There aren’t more to do (unless you want to come over to my house to do it). You can be proud of your finish because you completed the effort and there is no more to do.

The project has reached a state of critical mass, and the potential exists to grow or maintain the project with continued activity. This is an end-state for ongoing projects — like a blog, for example. When starting your project, you should create a goal. It shouldn’t be something like “I’m going to start a blog” but rather something like “I’m going to start a blog and write 25 blog posts and then measure my traffic results.” Once you reach that critical mass, your project is done… even if the thing you’ve built has more work to be done. Getting to this point is still a successful “finish”, even if it’s kind of a milestone rather than an actual end to the project.

The project failed. I still call this a finish because at least you got to the point in your project timeline where you could assess what you’ve done and then decide what to do next. There is nothing wrong with failure. But as someone who starts a lot and doesn’t finish enough, I’d rather fail at this point than to fail because I didn’t do enough to move a project forward.

THINKING ABOUT YOUR END-STATES BEFORE THE PROJECT STARTS

Don’t wait until your project is nearing the end to think about these end-states. Think about them ahead of time… before you even start the project.

Set goals for your project and then think about what each of these end-states would look like. And start thinking about what you’ll do in case you reach each of these end-states. For example, if your project surpasses your goals, does that mean you should find a way to move forward? Or, if your project fails, does that mean you should end the project or should you try something different?

Create a simple chart for your project with the relevant potential endings on them, and some notes about what you should do if that happens.

Finishing. It’s all about getting to an end state where you can choose what to do next with your project.

Aaron Hoos’ weekly reading list: ‘Copywriting, content marketing, and online marketing’ edition

Aaron Hoos: Weekly reading list

Here’s my weekly (er… “weekly-ish”) reading list.

  • 5 ways to write a damn good sentence. I am a sucker for good sentences. This post in Copyblogger describes the elements of writing compelling sentences — perfect for the copywriter, novelist, blogger, content marketer, or anyone else who needs to communicate through words. Bonus: This post quotes Stanley Fish, whose book How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One is one of my favorite books of the year.
  • How to use content marketing for a boring industry. I’m often hired to write content for financial and real estate professionals. As much as I love these topics, other people find them super boring. I love the challenge of trying to make boring topics interesting, compelling, and even riveting. I’ve also noticed that there is no shortage of content in some niches but other (boring!) niches, there is almost none, which hints at MASSIVE opportunity. I’m going to blog about this a little more in the future.
  • One activity you should do on your blog every day. Some people think that blog posts, once written, should never be touched. I don’t agree. I believe you can resurrect old content (see my blog content defibrillator blog post). In this post by Problogger, Darren Rowse gives some step-by-step methods for freshening up your old content to extend its value to you and your readers.
  • The beginners guide to online marketing. Great stuff in this post. I love these comprehensive, easy-to-read guides, especially the stuff created by QuickSprout. If you do online marketing — even if you’ve been at it for a while — be sure to read this guide. Even the “I-already-know-this” content is a really good reminder.

Financial advisor article published at Advisor Websites Blog: Become a Professional Persuader

I’m co-writing a series of articles for financial professionals, along with my colleague Rosemary Smyth, an international coach to financial advisors.

One of our articles was posted at the Advisor Websites Blog. The article lists the three objectives to every conversation and how you can build on each objective to persuade prospects to become clients.

Check out the article at the link below:

Become a Professional Persuader