SCHEDULE ONE-ON-ONE DAYS WITH EACH CHILD TO PROVIDE FOCUSED ATTENTIONBefore she entered the financial services profession, Keunhwa Lori Moon worked 60 to 80 hours a week and frequently traveled out of town. Her job didn’t provide the flexibility that the two-year MDRT member from Fairfax, Virginia, wanted —and now has — to spend with her family.
While her new schedule often means working on Sundays to connect with clients at their convenience, Moon does not work on Saturdays and, as the mother of three kids, has a date with each of them one Saturday per month. Her oldest daughter likes the Cheesecake Factory; her other daughter likes Panera and doesn’t let her go there with anyone else; her son enjoys going to Barnes and Noble to read.
“I felt bad because I felt like I wasn’t doing anything with him and I wasn’t really communicating with him at the store,” Moon said. “But he said, ‘Mommy, I’m having the best time of my life.’”
Both present and available
The individual-dates concept stems from Moon once reading that “the worst parent is the one who’s visible but not available.” That’s why, when she works at home, she closes the door to distinguish the time she’s working; if she’s not working, she makes sure the kids know she is in the room and there for them. The one-on-one dates provide individual attention while also allowing one Saturday each month for Moon to take a break. These priorities provide not only a balance between work and her personal life, but a balance within the personal life as well.
DON’T LET YOUR BUSINESS GET IN THE WAY OF PERSONAL CONVERSATIONSChee Hong Gan, ChFC, CLU, and his wife used to have a date night one Friday each month, but, like many who live in Singapore, he’d spend all other weeknights working. He’s recently made adjustments to his practice so he can take off Wednesday nights to be with his wife and 16-month-old daughter, and toward the beginning of that change, the eight-year MDRT member recognized the impact.
“What happens on Mondays and Tuesdays probably gets forgotten when you want to talk about it on Saturday,” he said. “Introducing a Wednesday helps to keep up with recent events. It also minimizes the time away and gives us some time to sit down, have a good meal and talk about things in both of our lives and what’s happening with our daughter.”
Adjusting the schedule
To free up this time, Gan added a staff member to take over some of the work he used to do, like delivering documents or getting forms signed. Now he focuses more on meetings about the client’s portfolio or agenda, and has more flexibility in his schedule to consider how he can improve the business as a whole.
“The danger of being engaged all the time is you miss the big picture,” he said. As a result, he has seen an improvement in staff efficiency and has more time to do other things personally and professionally. “It doesn’t seem like I’m always rushing for stuff,” he said, adding that he hopes to increase the number of weeknights he spends at home to three.
MANAGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS/FRIENDS IN A SMALL TOWNThe degree to which advisors develop friendships with clients is always an interesting point of discussion. For Mark Robert Rando, a five-year MDRT member from Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia, establishing those bonds is essential.
While Rando lives in a moderately sized community of approximately 60,000, there are more than 100 advisors in the area and four other businesses on his street alone. Plus, many potential clients believe they are better off seeking advice four hours away in a larger city. It all means that Rando and other local advisors need to go above and beyond to be seen positively. “When you live in a small town like mine, the last thing you want to do is go out to dinner and have someone stick a knife in your back,” he said.
A self-proclaimed Harley-Davidson “fanatic,” Rando often texts clients who also own motorcycles about meeting up for a ride and lunch. He connects with the community by sponsoring local projects, attending sporting events and participating in his local chapter for motorcycle enthusiasts. By sharing his passions (which also include fishing and golf) with clients, he has made connections that lead to spending time together socially.
This never creates any complications, Rando said, because he does not mix the personal and professional. He does not talk business when out fishing or riding motorcycles with clients; if he calls a client who is a friend about a business matter, he will begin the conversation by saying, “This is a business call.”
And his clients/friends follow suit. One called him recently and said, “This is a business call,” leading into a conversation about Rando’s office renovations. The day before, however, he called Rando — whom he affectionately calls “Randy” —and said it was a friendly call, asking if he wanted to get a beer. Rando declined, but not because he didn’t want to blur lines about the relationship: “I’m on a diet,” he said.