Earlier this week, Carson Group’s Excell conference landed a coveted spot on Michael Kitces’ The 13 Best Conferences for Financial Advisors to Choose From in 2018. Having just wrapped up Excell Fall 2017, we couldn’t be more excited about cementing our place among the industry’s leading practice management conferences.
As planning gets underway for our next event in Vegas, we wanted to give you a glimpse into some of the key messages delivered during our most recent edition. True to Kitces’ words, our final conference in Omaha proved “pure with practical takeaways.”
Bill Rancic Shares His Traits to Emulate and Traits to Avoid
Known as America’s first Apprentice, Bill Rancic got his initial taste of owning and operating a business when he started a makeshift “restaurant” out of his grandmother’s kitchen at the age of ten. In his keynote speech, Rancic went on to talk about accepting his first post-college job, a position which would ultimately change his life. Only a couple of months in, he witnessed a 30-year veteran fired simply to reduce expenditures. It was in this moment he vowed to get back in touch with his entrepreneurial roots.
Rancic never looked back. Instead, he started a successful cigar of the month club, which would pave the way for his current career as a real estate developer, restaurateur, motivational speaker, author and, of course, reality star. Discussing the knowledge he’s gained studying some of the best business owners in America and helping transform some of the worst, he imparted his leadership traits to emulate and traits to avoid.
Traits to Emulate:
- Decisiveness – Bill asserts business owners who struggle with making big decisions let opportunities pass them by each and every day.
- Creativity – Citing his own experience launching his cigar company via popular drive-time DJs, Bill stressed the importance of finding new and inventive ways to break into the market.
- Tenacity – Early on, one of Bill’s real estate ventures went up in flames – literally. Since this experience, he’s met many entrepreneurs who, like him, refused to quit even when faced with losing almost everything.
Traits to Avoid:
- Reaction – Bill warned of the dangers of being reactive rather than proactive. While it might feel good to solve problems, it feels much better eluding potential problems with preemptive measures.
- Negativity – Amidst those he’s seen struggle most are the business owners who surround themselves with negative people. His advice: be aware of others’ intentions.
- Self-Doubt – When leading others, there is no room for a lack of confidence. Understand and embrace your own potential, said Bill.
Kindra Hall Shares the Secrets of Storytelling
How does storytelling relate to financial planning? According to Kindra Hall, a former Vice President of Sales who has worked with innovative brands such as ConAgra, Stryker and Hilton, storytelling is an incredibly effective way to capture attention and connect with clients in a distracted market. The reason storytelling works so well, she said, is because it is a co-creative process – as you tell a story, the listener creates one of their own.
When rethinking the way firms are presented online and in person, Hall urged attendees to consider the ways in which telling a story could make their prospects stop concentrating on price and start focusing on value. The biggest mistake is ALLUDING to a story without actually TELLING the story. Hall suggested asking yourself what real-life goals you have helped your clients reach. Have you worked with a couple to purchase their dream vacation home? Have you given a recent divorcee the tools to regain their financial footing?
Once you have these stories in mind, build them out with her tips:
- First, identify the nouns of the story. Use people, places and emotions to really set the scene.
- Second, make sure your story has a beginning, a middle and an end. While this may seem like common sense, when the stakes are high, it’s easy to sidetrack and just start spouting off facts.
- Finally, after you’ve finished this story, start telling your clients or prospects their story. Help them put together a narrative of where they’ve been and where they are going.
Colonel Arthur Athens Shares How to Become a Selfless Leader
At Carson Group, we spend a lot of time talking about IQ, a person’s Implementation Quotient. Taking the stage, Colonel Arthur Athens challenged attendees to take a deep look at their own LQ or Love Quotient. He emphasized in order to be a truly great leader, one that deserves the upmost respect from your followers, you must demonstrate a genuine concern for everyone on your team.
Relaying several powerful stories based on his career in the military, Colonel Athens broke down the ways in which stakeholders need you to be present. Notably, he reminded the audience that sometimes the people who need your love the most are those who deserve it the least.
Colonel Athens’ rules for becoming a selfless leader:
- Give feedback to your staff, ensuring the motivation behind what you say is sincerely invested in their growth. Even if the message can’t always be praise, the right intention will show you care.
- Make your stakeholders feel special and valuable. Speaking from personal experience, Colonel Athens said even the simplest act – like remembering the name of someone’s spouse – makes an impact.
- Form an environment where people feel comfortable coming to you with their ideas.
- Be available in their times of adversity, whether that adversity relates to their job or not.
In 2018, Excell promises to be even bigger and better. Excell’s recent growth has given us the opportunity to look forward, exploring how we continue enhancing the experience for our advisors and their teams. As Ron announced from the stage in Omaha, we’ve made the decision to move from a biannual format to one awesome, annual conference!
We understand how many conferences you have the chance to attend, and we’re honored to make it to the top of your list year after year. Expect to hear more announcements soon around next year’s sessions, high-profile keynotes, spectacular venues and, most of all, implementable ideas for your firm.