Forget reinventing the wheel. Just copy what other top producers are doing. Better yet, hire a coach who has already identified those “best practices” and then pay them a fee to share the ideas and hold you accountable for implementing them.

Is that really the key to success as an advisor?

Whose Speech Is It?

In mid-2001, I partnered with mega-producer Ron Carson to build a financial advisor coaching and practice management resources program at Peak Advisor Alliance. A few months later, Ron was scheduled to speak in Chicago to a large group of financial advisors and share his story about how he went from cold-calling out of his dorm room in 1983 to a $6 million producer in 2000. Ron flew his plane to Chicago from Omaha while I flew commercial. About an hour before his talk, my hotel room phone rang.

“Hey Steve, this is Ron. I have some good news and bad news. The good news is I’m alive. The bad news is I hit rough weather and had to land my plane in Dubuque. You’re going to have to deliver my presentation.”

As a speaker, few things are worse than giving somebody else’s presentation—especially with virtually no advance notice. Luckily, I heard Ron deliver this particular presentation a few times earlier so at least I knew the material. Nonetheless, standing in front of the audience an hour later, I was merely an actor delivering lines. They were his lines, his life story and his experiences. While the attendees still received value because the “material” was good, I was unable to deliver an authentic presentation that connected with the audience.

I learned an important lesson that day—you can’t simply take somebody else’s ideas at face value, implement them and expect to see the same level of success as the originator of those ideas. Taking an idea at face value is just scratching the surface; it’s not really knowing the idea.

Fortunately, there is a way to get great results using the best ideas of other people while still being authentic and true to yourself.

“Be Like They Are”

David Hawkins, author of a very interesting book titled, Power vs. Force wrote,

To be a success, it’s necessary to embrace and operate from the principles that produce success, not just imitate the actions of successful people—for to really do what they do, it’s necessary to be like they are.

Copying an idea is not enough. For example, Love-Affair Marketing is one of Peak Advisor Alliance’s ideas. It has two components:

1. Develop a genuine, caring relationship with your very best clients.

2. Deliver extraordinary service to them.

Now, if you’re not excited about either one of those components or if they don’t “energize” you and your team, then implementing them may result in some level of success but it will be sub optimal. Conversely, if you truly understand the nature of Love-Affair Marketing and fully embrace the principles that underlie it as part of your very fiber, then your success with it will soar.

Approaching a New Idea

While not all ideas are worth implementing, advisors often dismiss an idea before fully reflecting on it. Here are three ways you can approach new ideas.   

1. Not Interested

You make a quick judgment and decide the idea is not a good fit. The risk here is missing out on a great idea because you didn’t give it, “a fair shake.”

2. Okay, I’ll try it

You are open to trying new ideas from respected sources, but, you’re not convinced and committed deep inside. At the first sign of resistance, you may retreat and fall back into your old ways.

3. Is this really me?

Like #2, you are open and receptive to new ideas—but you go one critical step further. You apply discernment to it. You take the idea and dissect it, turn it inside out, challenge it, and then determine if it really connects and resonates with you. You need to reach this level in order to be truly successful with an idea. You need to reach this level in order to become a first-class version of yourself instead of a second-rate copy of somebody else.

Ultimately, what I’m describing here is making a shift from knowing something intellectually in your head, to embracing it in your heart. Your key to success as an advisor is to reach the third level with a small number of highly impactful ideas each year. It doesn’t matter where you get the ideas; the key is to “go deep” with them.

An average idea implemented with deep passion, enthusiasm, belief, and confidence will outperform a great idea implemented listlessly. Imagine the power of implementing a great idea that captures your mind…and your heart!

Steve Sanduski, CFP, is the managing partner of Peak Advisor Alliance, a financial advisor coaching and practice management resources organization. He is also a New York Times Bestselling author and co-author of Tested in the Trenches: A 9 Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice. For more from Sanduski, visit his blog. Also visit here for more information on where Sanduski will be presenting live content to advisors.