Here's something that happened to me recently. I had an initial conversation with some prospects, who seemed interested. And as I learned more about their situation, they appeared to be a good fit. After an initial meeting, I could see a way to provide obvious value, and they seemed to understand what benefit would result.

Then ... nothing. That was it; they said no to a working relationship.

I imagine that this is hardly uncommon. Here are three things that I'm trying to keep in mind as I move forward:

It's not personal. A one-hour conversation is not enough to understand someone’s past experience with money, advisors, saving and other financial and emotional issues. I may have used a phrase that they did not want to hear, or maybe I reminded them of a person that they are are not close to. Their decision may be completely unrelated to what I was been talking about.

Maybe the timing isn't right. A friend of mine cleans carpets for a living. I knew I needed to get my carpets cleaned; after all, I had a young child who managed to spit up as much milk as he drank. But it took me a year before I finally followed through; I wasn’t rejecting his service, but I needed to wait till the timing was right (and my child's drinking skills improved). The same could be true for those prospects: Even if they need my services, the timing may not be right.

Don’t try to convince people they need you. Let's imagine that I spent one extra hour convincing a prospect to work with me. I was successful -- but after a year, I still had an unengaged relationship and I dreaded meeting this client to review the plan. Would it have been worth it?

Here's a thought that keeps me on track as I build my practice: I am not in the business of convincing people they need a financial planner; I’m in the business of helping people who know they need help.

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