4 Minutes

Investment Industry Icon Tom Dorsey of Dorsey Wright & Associates Interviews Financial / Wealth Advisor Coach Bob David – Richmond VA

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Investment Industry Tom Dorsey Interviews Advisor Coach Bob David

Lamb to Lion

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Have you ever gone through a period of feeling weak, uncertain, worried or doubtful about your career, business or personal life? If so, then you know how debilitating that can feel. Its that sense of hesitation, vacillation, floating along without clear purpose or confidence in a particular direction or course of action. If we’re not careful an insidious form of helplessness can set in that stifles initiative and creativity, lowers our future expectations and discourages us from taking needed action.

In contrast, we all know how good it feels to have unshakable confidence in what we’re doing and our future. Its the same for the economy and in the world of business. If you think about it, everything in business is based on confidence or a lack of it. When we are confident, we buy and invest, but when we aren’t we don’t. And regardless of ones political affiliation, its hard not to feel a real positive, palpable, seismic shift and surge in economic / business confidence since Donald Trump won the election.

In all due respect and deference to how recent protestors may feel about the man and angst about specific policy changes, its hard to deny the power of “animal spirits” pushing the Dow Jones past 20k to all time highs and a resurgent sense of business confidence rising across the economy. And that confidence is contagious. In fact, I don;t know about you but lately, I have to admit that every day when I wake up and turn on the news to see swift, decisive change and action taking place with our new President, I find myself feeling more energized and emboldened.

And its been a reminder for me that when we go from feeling like lambs in life to feeling more like lions – it feels good, damn good, and thats a good thing!

And here are 3 things you can do starting today to feel less like a lamb and more like a lion:

1. Break glass. What I mean by that is stop over analyzing everything and take bold, decisive action instead. Most of us have a tendency to over think things and as a result procrastinate. Don’t let “perfect” get in the way of “good enough”. Wake up and realize that the biggest mistake is not making one. Get moving and do something. Many people float along not realizing that if you are not setting goals and taking proactive steps to reach those goals, you will become the ultimate “Lamb”….a sacrifice for somebody else or something else that did have goals and took action. In my coaching work, I often find people who are stuck in a rut or struggling to break out of a plateau. They give counsel to fears and doubts. Take a clue from the most successful leaders and make a move – to hell with the critics.
2. Major in the majors. This recent surge in business and market confidence is a reminder that the business of America is business! And at the end of the day, as Bill Clinton once famously declared back in his 1992 presidential campaign “its the economy stupid”. When our jobs, careers and finances are moving in the right direction, its amazing how so many good things can flow from that….including better physical, psychological , emotional and financial health. Even our relationships improve. Have you heard the statistics that many divorces are caused by financial angst? I’m not advocating working all the time without the right work/life balance but when you follow this President’s lead and “get down to business”, a lot of good things can happen.

3. Don’t stop. Keep it up. Inevitably our new president’s frenetic pace will ebb as the reality of the “sausage making” mechanism of democracy sets in but the key to achieving anything is not giving up until the job is done. Make sure you are a finisher. Its not enough to get started and stay focused….you also have to take consistent action towards your goals to have any real chance of achieving them. It was good to see the bust of Winston Churchill return to the Oval Office. I once read a great biography of Churchill called “The Last Lion” written by William Manchester. It should serve as a reminder of what he famously said in a speech: “never give up, never ever give up.”

Its time to stop “baaaaing” and start roaring!

Sniffle, Shimmy & Planned Spontaneity

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Did you watch the first Presidential debate and find yourself “armchair quarterbacking” and “second guessing” the responses made by the two candidates? Beyond the sheer spectacle of watching two culturally iconic figures clash who bring vastly different personalities to the battle, there are some Advisor success lessons to be learned here that go beyond just pure entertainment value. Namely, when you get past the media coverage of Trump’s sniffles vs. Hillary’s shimmies, there is something to be said for what I call “prepared spontaneity”. Here’s what I mean:

Victory loves preparation. As you may recall, there was much pre-debate chatter among the “talking heads” on TV about how each candidate was preparing for the debate. The contrast could not have been more stark. Hillary Clinton was holed up in a hotel for four days like a college student cramming for finals (conjuring up visions of her days at Yale Law school with Bill, thick glasses and all). She proceeded to eat, sleep and breathe material via a total immersion exercise replete with consultants, “mock debates” and market research on how to best get under Trump’s skin. Donald Trump, other the other hand, ostensibly to play to his strength of “thinking on his feet”, “counter punching” etc…which had worked in the primaries, chose not to engage in the traditional debate prep as done by previous candidates. Without delving into a politically charged conversation about who would make a better President, I think that by just about any traditional debate performance measure, one can conclude that Hillary narrowly “won”. And I believe her competitive edge in the contest was a direct result of her simply being better prepared for it. But I also think that had Trump taken the time to do a similar immersion exercise rather than demonstrating hubris, he could have easily won the debate focusing on a theme of “insider” vs. “outsider” based on an electorate unhappy with the direction of the country and longing for real change. Have you ever given a “huuuge” presentation (as Trump would say) or had an important client meeting where afterwards you didn’t get the result you wanted because you really didn’t adequately prepare?

Style + Substance= Success. As a success coach who helps Advisors better communicate with clients and develop a compelling value proposition, I’ve always been intrigued with how the first televised debate of Nixon vs. Kennedy back in 1960 showed that radio listeners thought the exhausted, cadaverous looking Nixon had won, while TV viewers thought the tanned and rested Kennedy had prevailed. Clearly, Hillary had heeded some consultant’s advice. For example she chose to wear bright red. Could that have been to project someone of high energy, health and vitality to quell rumors of poor health?) And did you notice her smiling more than usual (though stopped short of laughing to avoid the infamous annoying ‘cackling’ sound) ? Was this a tactic to project more confidence, trustworthiness and warmth (who knows it might have even been “Bill” himself doling out the tips). On the Trump side did you notice the all too obvious pivot from calling his opponent “Hillary” to using the more respectful moniker “Secretary Clinton” instead? Was this an attempt to woo professional, suburban women who are an especially important demographic in the swing states vital to victory in November? In my coaching work, I’ll have clients video themselves making a presentation and provide feedback. While this can feel quite awkward its really the only way to see what clients and prospects see and make adjustments accordingly. Do you have something akin to the sniffles or the shimmies when under the spotlight? Its best to have that fixed before a big presentation not after.

Opportunities and Sunsets: Have you heard the saying that opportunities are like sunsets? They both appear and fade quickly so you have to take advantage. One measure of success in a debate is whether a candidate took advantage of an opportunity to deliver an effective “zinger” or “sound bite” when an opening appeared. Do you recall the famous Vice Presidential debate between Dan Quayle and Lloyd Benson where after Quayle compared his age to JFK’s he was told “I knew Jack Kennedy…Senator you’re no Jack Kennedy”? I believe one of the glaring weaknesses in Trump’s debate performance was that he missed multiple opportunities to draw a sharp contract based on topics where Hillary is vulnerable such as more effectively pointing out the failed foreign policies as Secretary of State, conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation, being part of the “do nothing Congress” that allows wealthy people like himself to pay less federal taxes etc…But instead he was put on the defensive and reprised his feud with Rosie O’Donnell and bragged how paying less taxes made him smart….all of which only served to reinforce the point that he may not have the judgment or temperament to be President. Are you ignoring opportunities all around you? One of the exercises I coach is to think about your commute and identify prospects you may pass by everyday but have never given a second thought of approaching about your services. One hallmark of successful people is they have an ability to recognize opportunities that others don’t see.

Whatever line of work you’re in, remember that proper planning and being better prepared will make you more effective when the moment arrives- thus the phrase “prepared spontaneity”. It may not help you cure the sniffles or prevent the shimmies, but it just might boost your overall client approval ratings.

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The Next Best Thing to Winning….Is Losing

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Fall is my favorite time of year here in Virginia for lots of reasons…the arrival of cooler temperatures, colorful leafs on the trees and of course football season. One of my fondest fall memories was playing football for Coach Dick Sheridan at undersized Furman University back in the 80’s when we celebrated major upset victories “David vs. Goliath” style over much larger, better equipped school competitors such as University of South Carolina, Georgia Tech and N.C. State. This past weekend when I saw Furman give a scare to #12 ranked Michigan State then University of Richmond decisively beat the bigger University of Virginia on their home turf in Charlottesville and my home town team University of Georgian best UNC, I was reminded of just how exhilarating it is to experience a win if you are playing for the right team. But unfortunately, in business and in life we can’t always be on the winning team. And though winning will always feel better than losing, sometimes that taste of bitter defeat can plant the seed for something positive down the road if you are smart about how you respond after being knocked down. Have you had the experience lately of having an expected win turn into a loss?

Case in point: I just found out my coaching firm didn’t “win” a team coaching engagement after making it to the “final two”. After feeling the high of being close to the goal line only to somehow “fumble”, I felt crushed under a wave of disappointment and “second guessing”. But then I picked myself back up, went back to the sidelines and began the process of learning from the experience so I can better compete next time I’m back on the field. And this meant I had to “practice what I preach” in my coaching engagements as painful as that is because one of my core beliefs is simply this: The next best thing to winning….is losing.

Here are three reasons why:

Must put loss in context: Its been said that “nobody remembers the loser of the Super Bowl”. Just look at NFC Champion Carolina Panthers who in spite of losing the “big one” against the Denver Broncos, had an amazing season- pundits be damned. As much as i could be flogging myself right now for losing a team coaching engagement I competed for, the fact is my firm beat out numerous other firms just to make it to the finals which is a much better result than had I not been in the running at all, right? That gives me a better, more realistic context within which to work and move forward. Are you being too hard on yourself after experiencing a defeat in business or in your life? Are you still on the ground after getting sacked?

Failure is essential to success: Have you gone through a time consuming, arduous screening and interviewing process with a new prospect only to lose the business in the end? I know exactly how that feels. In my firm’s situation, it began by being one of five “pre-screened” recommended coaching firms out of dozens. Then there was the initial interview followed by more follow up interviews. There were references provided and grilled. Then there was the drafting and presenting of a proposal tailored to their needs. And then there was the dreaded “waiting game”. The emotional roller coaster from this process can be brutal even for the most seasoned veteran. Yet we tend to ignore all the valuable feedback we can get from the process. For example, this team was kind enough to share the reasons why my firm was not selected. And as painful as that was to hear, it was absolutely essential to improve my services and how they are packaged and presented. Are you asking for feedback to improve when you don’t get the business? Remember what legendary Coach John Wooden said: “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be”.

Focus on future and take action now: after a loss do you find yourself hosting a “pity party” and making excuses? Can you imagine what would happen if a football coach allowed his team to wallow in self pity after losing the season opener? These are toxic habits that can be the “kiss of death” for anyone choosing to indulge, leading to stagnation and loss of momentum. One of the things we all should do is as quickly as possible is to: assess the takeaways from a losing experience; focus on how we can make immediate improvements ; take immediate action. For a football coach that means adjusting personnel or the playbook or both. On the political front its been interesting to watch how Trump has been slowly creeping back up in the polls after it appeared Hillary was on a clear glide path to win the Whitehouse. It appears Trump’s attempts to change course by hiring new campaign management and “softening” his tone may be paying off. Only time will tell but one thing’s for sure: if he had not changed course its likely his loss would be a fait accompli come November. Now lets see what happens in the debates…..

For me, based on the feedback received, I’ve already determined the specific areas I need to tweak / emphasize in my next presentation. And to make sure this doesn’t get me bogged down, I’m reaching out to several new prospects to re-fill my pipeline not next week but today. Remember that whatever you focus on grows in your experience so its vital to put all your efforts and energy into future efforts rather than spending too much time in the “film room” of life reliving “bad games” over and over somehow hoping to change the past. The rest of your “season” is still ahead. Get back on the field and be ready for the next game!

Coach Bob David

Agony of Defeat

Agony of Defeat can be a good thing

The Salesy Socialist

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Have you noticed the slow, creepy shift happening with the next generation away from the virtues of business competition, hard work and free market capitalism towards a culture of entitlement, “participation trophies” and socialism?

In my speaking, coaching and consulting engagements, I know that words and their meaning matter. And though the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” might hold true physically on the playground, I don’t think that’s true culturally. In particular there are two specific words impacting some core beliefs underpinning our free market capitalist system that I believe provide us anecdotal evidence of this “culture shift”. So what are the two words?

  1. “Salesy”– In my coaching work with newer financial advisors especially I often find that their biggest obstacle to success is their fear of appearing “salesy” in the eyes of prospects when implementing a new client acquisition strategy. On one hand I can totally understand where that comes from as we’ve all had the experience of being around a “back slapping”, “hand shaking”, obnoxious loud mouth, trying to sell us something we don’t need or want and making us feel super uncomfortable. But on the other hand lets all be real clear here about something so obvious and fundamental that maybe the next generation is not being shown the light. Nothing and I mean nothing happens in the world of business unless somebody sells something to somebody else ok? I don’t care what line of work you are in either. Everyone and I mean everyone is in “sales” in some form or fashion whether they realize it or not. For example, a physician would likely cringe if you claimed they were in sales but then watch them turn right around and “sell” you on their expertise and/or treatment plan. A CPA would most surely balk at the label “salesperson” but must convince you on their ability to provide their tax preparation services. Even a receptionist is “selling” your firm’s services indirectly. So let me suggest that its fine to want to avoid appearing “salesy” but please don’t avoid approaching someone about your services using your fear of appearing “salesy” as an excuse – not going to fly with this coach. Do you need to accelerate revenue growth? Are you working to improve your “sales skills”? Have you considered hiring a coach to help a new member of your team shift their core beliefs around selling your services so they become comfortable and confident approaching prospects?
  2. “Socialist”- When Bernie Sanders started winning primaries I was “feeling the burn” alright but not because I liked him, but because his message about socialism literally gave me heartburn! Are you like me and found it alarming that so many young voters were falling for this fantasy of everybody getting free stuff with no concept of paying the bill? When did socialism become so “hip”? Have we totally forgotten the lessons of history? Can anyone name even one successful socialist society? Are we teaching our kids how we won the cold war with the biggest socialist in world history the Soviet Union and what happened to the Berlin Wall? And please lets agree not to pull out Sweden as the poster child of socialism working. When you peel back the veneer there you quickly realize they are basically living off the hard work of previous generations and their current economic system is untenable long term. My favorite question to ask a socialist is “how much do you deserve to get from someone else who earned it?”. I’m becoming convinced that part of our problem is we’re not properly educating the next generation on why free market capitalism, while not perfect, is the best system for peace and prosperity. Unfortunately it seems that the term “capitalism” has become a pejorative term since the “great recession” of 2008 . I see this with newer financial advisors who have a since of entitlement when joining established teams at investment firms and expect to be “given” clients without prospecting. Basically they buy into the fantasy that they deserve to inherit clients that someone else put in the hard work to acquire and service. If you want a good read on this subject, Ive heard good things about a new book recently published called “The Problem with Socialism” by Tom DiLorenzo and I intend to pick up a copy to read myself. Imagine a world without “sales”, without incentive, without competition, without free enterprise….its a pretty scary picture. We should be teaching the next generation that egalitarianism (a socialists best friend) where we guarantee equal outcomes for all regardless of effort is the surest path to poverty and result in a “race to the bottom”. Are you warning your kids about the real dangers of the socialist mind set? Its not going to feel so “hip” when we all wake up and realize there really is no free lunch after all and our nation is bankrupt. Are you challenging educators in your community to teach the virtues of a free market capitalistic system?

Be proud and stand up for our free market capitalist system which rewards “sales” and promotes the power and true meaning of other words like “excellence” and “competition” as the surest path to lasting freedom and prosperity. And don’t let any “salesly” politician try to convince you otherwise!

Bob David www.bobdavidlive.com

Summer of Love for Clash, Trash and Cash

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Did you hear that loud noise coming from across the pond after the Brexit vote?
Like the culturally iconic Woodstock concert of the 60s, this event likely portends a summer of lots of background noise full of love for clash, trash and even cash for everyone within earshot.

Time to “clash” : Just when you thought fomenting issues like a shrinking middle class, income inequality, anti-globalism and crony capitalism (which spawned a populist revolt visa vie the rise of candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump) were limited to Americans, here comes the Brits onto the world stage voicing a similar clash of cultures and a shake up of the status quo. Like Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, the UK people told the EU “hey you, get off of my cloud”. And like Jimmy Hendrix we are all now feeling the “Purple Haze” economically and politically as a result. But all is not lost….we all should just take a “chill pill” this summer until this all blows over. If history is any guide, this “crises de jour” will present new opportunities and toxic overreactions should be avoided. After all, even most Woodstock attendees survived right?

Now lets talk “trash”: Have you ever seen such vitriol and finger pointing among those that disagree with the course of our political and economic futures? Pundits are predicting both the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer will usher in a new low of mud slinging and “trash talking” the likes of which we’ve never seen. But again history can serve as a guide here. If you’ve watched the recent HBO special “All the Way” about former President LBJ, you know how the TV commercial in the 1964 election cycle showing the little girl picking a daisy with a backdrop of a nuclear mushroom cloud scared the electorate away from republican nominee Barry Goldwater. Then in the next election cycle we saw the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention which lead to Richard Nixon’s Republican party victory. The point is that we’ve been in this trash dumpster before and somehow we came out the other side smelling like a …well maybe not like a rose but also not like the hippie who didn’t shower for days at Woodstock!

And as for “cash:” There is an old axiom in the investment world that says “cash is trash”. The rationale goes that because purchasing power is lost over time to inflation and rising prices, keeping money in a mattress actually loses money and thus really “stinks” if left sitting around. But this summer could well be an exception to the rule here but not because of what you may initially think. History is pretty clear here about the negative consequences of keeping too much cash uninvested for too long. But this summer is a reminder that having a love for an emergency stash of cash to bail you out of trouble or take advantage of opportunities makes a lot of sense. Most Americans are spread so thin financially that a summer of love for cash could just be what the financial doctor ordered. Are you saving enough regularly to cover unexpected emergencies? Do you have at least 5 or 10% of your investment portfolio in cash to take advantage of summer bargains created by this Brexit or Presidential election year uncertainties?

Do yourself and your family a favor and enjoy your summer in spite of all the political and economic news headlines. Remember a pearl of wisdom former President Bill Clinton famously shared with us back in the roaring 90s and whatever you do, make sure many years from now you can look back on this summer and plausibly claim “I didn’t inhale”.

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What do Advisors and Trump vs Hillary have in common?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Advisors who may be tempted to “sell in May then go away” for the summer might want to reconsider that strategy given what’s happened this crazy Presidential election year so far and focus instead on aggressively prospecting and managing expectations  like leading candidates  Trump and Hillary are being forced to do. Consider the daunting challenges faced by both candidates and Advisors alike:

  • “Lesser of two evils”:  Just what does it feel like to be a recent retiree when interest rates are still at record lows and the stock market is still near record highs?  What does it feel like to be an advisor guiding clients in this kind of precarious environment for investors? My guess is its the same way voters are feeling right now with the two leading candidates who’s “unfavorable” ratings are at record highs. Its a feeling that either way we go investment wise I’m going to have to “hold my nose” and try to select the “lesser of two evils”. This lack of enthusiasm for existing choices means Advisors must attempt the unenviable task of properly managing client expectations while justifying their fees. This means “retail campaigning” one client review meeting at a time. Clients may still not be happy with their choices but at least you were there showing you cared. Can everyone remember when former President Bill Clinton famously said in that televised town hall “I can feel your pain”. As it turned out, that made all the difference.
  • “Expand your tent”: There is a raging battle between candidates for newer voters and young people in general. The same can be said for Advisors who have aging clients. The statistics are pretty grim when it comes to retaining assets after a client passes. Have you developed and implemented a strategy to connect with the next generation to improve the odds of retaining those assets? How may new ideal client relationships have you brought in so far this year? This summer would be the perfect time to expand your tent.
  • “Control the news cycle”: One of the things we hear has been the key to Trump’s success so far is his ability to control the daily news cycle and get his message across. Advisors can take a cue here and make sure clients are getting properly informed. When is the last time you offered an educational seminar designed to educate clients and prospects around a topic of interest? If you aren’t providing it rest assured clients are getting it somewhere else. I coached a team once who initially was very resistant to offering educational seminars to their clients. They insisted that because they did one on one reviews there was no need. But then they got a surprise ACAT from one of their top clients who as it turned out went to a social security seminar offered by a competitor.

The bottom line is advisors can learn some lessons this summer from the political process as clients  “vote” with their assets….

Bob David

UPCOMING EVENTS

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