You meet lots of people you could engage in conversation with who might lead you to a business relationship, but you probably choose not to. One excellent way to implement a self-referral program is to strategically put yourself in places where you know your ideal clients are, as long as these are places you genuinely enjoy being. It's painful to hear about advisors who pretend to be interested in the symphony just to meet wealthy donors. You will be far more effective when you get involved in things you actually enjoy, and you'll meet potential ideal clients while living the life you want to live anyway.

Let me wrap up with a few things you can do to keep your people skills sharp:
  Have a list of questions.
  Get in the habit of engaging people wherever you are.
  Keep those "muscles" active that allow you to interact with people. Remember, muscles you don't use do not get stronger by themselves.
  Buy a small digital recorder and record your client meetings, both initial interviews and discovery meetings, implementation meetings and progress meetings.
  Listen to the recordings to see how well you ask questions and listen. One objective is to hear the voice of the other people on the recording much more than your own.
  Go to a communication skills class, preferably one that puts you on video and provides personal coaching. You must see yourself on video. Painful? Probably. Valuable? Absolutely! An excellent and cost-effective program is the Decker Communications Course at

Think about your people skills in the way a professional athlete thinks about her sport or a professional musician thinks about his instrument or a best-in-class surgeon thinks about her specialty. Most of these people have dedicated themselves to being students of the skill. To simply be a glib, spontaneous people person is rare.

What would your business be like if you had world-class interpersonal skills? If you do have them, it's a great time to be a financial advisor.

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