San Diego: “I’m four years into the business and recently got asked to speak in front of my wirehouse’s regional conference. I realize; this is an honor”, said Tim, a recent participant in our Rainmaker Weekend. He then said, “We brought in more business than 90% of all advisors in my region, but that’s not saying all that much. If we’re in the top 10%, everyone else must be really struggling.”

Tim is winning amidst these tough times and is a clear example of someone doing it right. He’s actively engaged in marketing his practice, very disciplined with his activities, and he’s always looking to refine his sales skills. The ongoing financial crisis has only intensified his drive to achieve. It is these traits that initially helped Tim build a practice and now are accelerating his growth. With only four years in the saddle, he’s become the envy of many veteran advisors.

Unfortunately, Tim’s observations about the other advisors at his firm speaks volumes for the entire industry. His firm isn’t the only one with paralyzed advisors. Many advisors, rookies and veterans alike, are struggling to keep their heads above water. I’m sure we don’t have to remind you of this. One step into most offices makes this case ten times over. The atmosphere is like a funeral home, attitudes are down, incomes are down, prospecting is non-existent, and it’s no wonder so many advisors are in a funk.

Greg, another new advisor in Tim’s office who, if Tim is Advisor A, would be the ideal template for Advisor B, Tim’s polar opposite. Because Greg is a rookie, the pressure is on to bring in new clients. Unlike Tim, who is able to use pressure as a constructive motivator, Greg falls into what we refer to as the “negative programming cycle,” which is too much thinking (too little action), which leads to negative thinking, which leads to worry. And too much worry paralyzes, it’s a cancer to any productive behavior.

So it comes as no surprise to us that Greg’s numbers are not where they need to be. Now he has created his own reality as his fear of losing his job, for lack of performance, are real. Advisor B’s come in all tenures, rookies and veterans, and although veterans might not be worried about losing their job, many are concerned about their standard of living.

In Greg’s case, we’ve been told that he once had a positive attitude. Now he’s probably spending more time looking for a job than for new clients. To top it off, he’s taking heat from his firm because his assets are below their benchmarks, and from his clients because their portfolios are down. According to Tim, and we’re not sure how this has occurred, he’s even been taking heat from the prospects he’s been contacting. You don’t need to be an industrial psychologist to recognize early career burnout.

Our job, as researchers and coaches, is to find out why Tim and other Advisors A’s are having so much success, while the Greg’s of the world, young and old Advisor B’s, are struggling to stay afloat. The answer, in its most basic form, is that Tim is living The Achievement Cycle while Greg is not.




The Achievement Cycle epitomizes the idea of doing whatever it takes to succeed. As you see in the model. It starts with setting a GOAL. Tim set a Rainmaking goal of bringing in 15 new clients, each with $1 million or more of investable assets, with at least $15MM in new assets for 2008. Greg’s goal was to keep his job. The key is setting a goal that ignites your internal fires, that allows you to dream, not merely survive. Survival, just hanging on, is not motivating at all. At best it’s simply a hygiene factor, “I need this job.” Goals that are most motivating are one’s that are tough, yet attainable. It is then, and only then, that these goals can become so firmly imprinted in your mind that you often dream about them in your sleep.
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The next step is where the achiever’s (Tim – Advisor A) and non-achiever’s (Greg – Advisor B) paths split. Once the goals are properly set, and Tim bought into being a Rainmaker with his heart and soul, achievers move right into ACTION. They execute the activities that are directly linked to the big goal they’ve set. And they perform these activities even when they are forced out of their comfort zone, even when they’re tired, even when that little devilish voice of doubt is whispering in their ear “You’re not going to make it,” they execute no matter what.

Your challenge, if you accept, is to become Advisor A – be like Tim. We’ve created the following little assessment to help you take an honest look in the mirror and assess your current achievement drive.

(Click to Download)



To Rainmaking Always,
Stephen Boswell Kevin Nichols