You’ve no doubt heard that taking cold plunge baths will make you a multi-millionaire. Celebrities swear by it; people say it transforms their bodies and their minds—and that your business will skyrocket if you do the same.

But there’s a problem. A really big one. It’s often the social media influencers with zero business experience that confidently share that message. Sure, cold plunge baths have many health benefits. But is it the secret elixir to business success? Probably not.

You and I both know that creating a successful financial advisory business doesn’t just magically happen from sitting in ice cubes or scrolling through TikTok for hours at a time.

There are three simple steps that guided me in building a multimillion-dollar financial advisory business.

Step 1: Sit eyeball to eyeball with preferred, prospective prospects and clients.

Step 2: Listen, empathize with them, and understand their problem.

Step 3: Be the respected specialist with the solution.

Right about now, you might be thinking to yourself that building a seven-figure advisory business is far more complicated than that. But does it have to be?

As I coach advisors all over the country, I find one common mistake they make that reduces their ability for business growth. It’s how the initial prospect visit goes. (By the way, going forward, please don’t call them meetings. Meetings are what you have with your proctologist. Visits sound a lot more friendly and engaging)

Whether by referral or through your own marketing efforts, you now have an ideal prospect sitting in front of you. They’ve taken time out of their busy day to determine if you can help them. So, what could possibly go wrong?

Here’s what often leads to disaster: You jump right into describing your financial planning process before getting to know them personally. You don’t ask about their family, where they are from, or what they like to do for fun. Then, you start solving what you think their problem is before they feel like you truly understand the root of their financial problems. And you spend more time touting your professional credentials than you do making them feel valued.

It’s the unintended action of overselling yourself that is selling yourself short.

This is a relationship, not a transaction. Think about one of your good friends. Did the friendship form in exactly 45 minutes and then you mutually declared you were officially good friends? Or did it take a bit longer for both of you to feel comfortable with each other? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

For a healthy prospect/advisor relationship to form, you must give them space to form their own opinions about you and your process as they begin to know you, like you and trust you. That’s the foundation of how a prospect becomes a client, and it creates a path for them to become raving fans of your practice.

The good news is that overselling yourself can be easily corrected. And we can take a lesson from how doctors model this. When I go to the doctor, I never get the feeling that they’re trying to sell me on why I should trust them. Nor do I ever feel like the doctor is trying to push me into doing something. My doctor does three things. He sits eyeball to eyeball with me, he listens to understand my problem and then he offers a solution. Sound familiar?

Here are three steps to stop overselling yourself.

Step 1: When your prospect sits down, give them your visit agenda. On it is their name, date and the following agenda items:

1. What would be the greatest service we could provide for you?

2. Discuss your financial goals and concerns.

3. Review your investment details.

4. Discuss the financial planning process.

5. Review fee structure.

6. What questions do you have for me?

7. Schedule the next visit.

This immediately signals to the prospect that you are organized and have a plan that is built around them.

Step 2: Ask open-ended questions. For example, when your prospect tells you about a concern they have, ask, “What worries you most about that?” Then follow up with, “How long has this been a concern?” Then ask, “Is that something you would like my help with?”

This lets the prospect fully share the problem, so you fully understand how they want you to help them.

Step 3: Recap the visit by saying two things: Tell the prospect what they’ve done well. Then, tell them what concerns you. Here you’re restating each of the concerns they told you they are worried about. Then ask, “Is there anything else that is of concern to you right now?”

You then transition into telling the prospect how you get paid, describing the process of working with you, and what the next steps are for them.

As you ask better questions and become a laser-focused listener, you’ll likely begin to see more prospective clients schedule their next visits. It’s actually not rocket science. It’s a result of them selling themselves on you and their belief that you understand them and can help solve their most painful financial problems.

Cold plunges and social media influencers might be today’s hot trend. Expressing sincere empathy and making prospects feel understood is the lasting path to financial advisor success.

Derrick Kinney is a best-selling book author, podcast host and financial advisor, known to many as the Advisor to Advisors. He is a sought-after keynote speaker on how to attract more high-net-worth clients to grow advisory business. Recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s top financial advisors, Kinney has coached thousands of clients to financial success. His mission is to teach his proven framework to financial advisors, so they can build the businesses they’ve always wanted and enjoy more freedom and meaning in their lives. Learn more at Get a copy of his “10 Fatal Mistakes Financial Advisors Make (and how you can avoid them) Guide” here.