Understanding how to be a lifelong learner can be one of the greatest assets to your business. Unfortunately, many advisors cut their learning potential short once they become comfortable and feel they know enough to get by. They don't see lifelong learning as a business strategy. This mistake is silently at the heart of missed client opportunities and stagnating advisory practices.
Lifelong learners are committed to developing a greater depth and breadth of knowledge, honing skills, and taking time to understand different people and perspectives. These qualities are crucial when it comes to building trust with your clients. If you practice them regularly, your practice and relationships will flourish.
This article explores how to be a lifelong learner in three different ways. You’ll also learn how to incorporate lifelong learning as a business strategy to boost your practice and motivate your journey as a financial advisor that clients trust.
Embrace a Learner’s Mindset
In The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Professor Victor Ottati argues that “self-perceptions of expertise increase close-minded cognition”.
Ironically, the more you think you know, the more narrow-minded you can become. This shows up in many practices where advisors sell the same solutions to every client in the same way.
Instead of promoting a constructive conversation where both client and advisor actively listen and learn, many advisors rely on canned sales pitches and struggle to incorporate the nuances of client circumstances into their presentations.
You know that whole life insurance can empower many dimensions of a person’s finances, including building, protecting, using, and passing on wealth. However, introducing it as an across-the-board strategy without hearing your clients out and learning their objectives, pains, and even fears, is likely to fall flat.
Many people are hesitant to choose whole life insurance because it conflicts with typical wealth-building strategies (which often involve dollar cost averaging into a retirement plan). In order to gain their trust, your curiosity, humility, and empathy are essential, which fuel a learner’s mindset.
A strong way to practice these qualities is by asking questions, openly listening, and then presenting your solution in a way that lines up with your client’s circumstances, which you can visualize for your clients with a whole life insurance calculator.
The calculator will shed light on how your clients can incorporate whole life insurance into the tapestry of their financial scenarios. This brings your recommendations to life, making your clients confident in you as an advisor.
When you position yourself as a reliable authority and an empathetic learner, seeking to understand your clients’ most significant questions and fears, they will continue turning to you for advice.
Let Go of Your End Goal
As an advisor, one of the most rewarding parts of your job is providing meaningful advice to clients. Through times of financial opportunity and challenge, many people turn to you for answers on how they can best steward their resources.
However, your role is not just about providing answers. It’s about empowering your clients to achieve financial well-being and flourishing relationships. This purpose can become a wellspring of inspiration that motivates you to continue learning and propel your business.
It can be easy to lose sight of this motivator when you’re struggling to attract clients. You might have a goal to gain three new clients next quarter, but when you become narrowly focused on the bottom line of increasing revenue, it can be tempting to take shortcuts. This will prevent you from seeking self-enrichment and learning new ways to connect with clients.
It’s important to stay focused on growing your business. However, when you let go of your end goal of making more money, you’ll be freed up to focus on investing in yourself — and your clients — through ongoing education. When this happens, your client conversations will be more constructive and fruitful, and ROI will increase.
As you develop knowledge, you’ll become more skilled at offering whole life insurance solutions tailored to your clients. So seek to invest in people for the fulfillment of their lives — not only for the return on investment. When your business goals align with this deeper sense of purpose, you’ll be motivated to continue learning, which will naturally augment your practice.
Learn in Community
Many blogs that teach how to be a lifelong learner prescribe a reading regimen to keep up with discourse within your industry. Carving out time to read and learn about economic trends your clients are concerned about is a great way to show how life insurance can protect them from personal and macroeconomic events. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to independent learning from behind a computer.
Every day, we’re bombarded by the data we intake from our screens. When we get tired and need a break, we take in more information from our smaller screens. Because we’re constantly taking in information, many of the insights we seek to learn become buried in a sea of data.
In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? / Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
For data to become knowledge you can share with your clients, your mind needs time and space to process new information outside the four corners of a computer screen. Therefore, you should seek to establish dynamic learning patterns that incorporate both individual and collaborative learning opportunities.
Compared to learning in isolation, introducing social components to your learning process will help you learn faster and stay motivated. Learning alongside others in your industry also promotes increased engagement, knowledge sharing, and knowledge retention.
In addition to your weekly reading sessions, attend educational events within your field to take advantage of the benefits of lifelong learning and in-person networking with other advisors.
Take the Next Step in Your Lifelong Learning Journey
The path to lasting success as an advisor lies in embracing a learner’s mindset, setting fulfilling goals, and learning in community. If you’re ready to see the benefits of lifelong learning in your own practice, explore Truth Training. It offers hands-on training and collaborative learning opportunities that will help you grow your business. You’ll learn straight from Todd Langford how to have impactful conversations with your clients and help them make the most of their finances by developing a prosperity mindset.