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How Confidence Drives a True Advisory Services Approach

By Joey Havens

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This blog is the third part of a series meant to outline the Four Building Blocks to Move to Advisory Services.

How do we move our organizations towards advisory services? How do we seize our future by being relevant starting now? I think there are four foundational building blocks. Last week, we discussed the first block: MINDSET SHIFT. Today, we’ll discuss the second block: CONFIDENCE. 

I say this to combat our natural tendency to be fearful of doing things we haven’t done before. I often share with our team that we take for granted some of the things that come easy to us due to our natural gifts and talents. These things do not come easy to others, and they value us more when we share them—even if it seems obvious to us.

Our traditional services have allowed us to wear what I call the technical badge into the room with the clients. We felt comfortable because we felt competent and believed that we knew the answers or knew exactly where to find them. When we have to take that badge off and put on the badge of strategy, we get fearful. We do not know what direction this might go, we do not have all the answers, and no one knows for sure if the direction or decisions are right.

One of the best books for insights into how we can be more confident and successful is Patrick Lencioni’s Getting Naked. In it, he talks about three key fears:

  • Fear of losing the business
  • Fear of being inferior
  • Fear of being embarrassed

This should be a required read. It’s a game changer for mindset and confidence.

Our Financial Institutions team recently went through this very experience. We received an invite to propose on traditional services for a large credit union. They had a six-year relationship with a national firm that did significantly more credit unions than us and our competitor also served other credit unions within that state. We had none within that state. To add fuel to the fire, they also invited another national firm that did their work for many years before their present provider. Three providers, two of which had relationships and history, we had neither. Scary!

Our team was composed of three young team members, all under the age of 40. They had just completed a book club on Lencioni’s Getting Naked and committed to each other to put what they had learned to the ultimate test.

They met with the C-suite prior to proposing to understand the issues and what challenges they were having. They also discussed some future hard trends to consider in this meeting. (We will talk about being anticipatory next week). This one was really about pushing past the fear and the lack of confidence in not having all of the answers, past the fear of losing and focusing on the client and how to help them. They had a great meeting with the client and put together a very customized proposal focused on the client and what we had learned.

Our price fell right in the middle of these two national firms but in the end, the client selected our team based on the confidence and anticipatory insights where we discussed future changes and opportunities. We were the only one of the three to request a meeting with the C-suite.

Although we may find it hard to admit, our profession and most of our firms are full of very competent professionals that are fearful of these conversations. How are we serving our existing clients? Clinging to our relationships or pushing past fear to have meaningful, relevant conversations?