The Verus Team

Milestones and Reflections

Written by: George Shirley   Any opinions are those of George Shirley and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.

This Fall marked 20 years in the financial services industry for me.  As with many milestones, I took some time to reflect on my time in the business, where I have been, where I am and more importantly where I am going.  Much of this has been shaped by changes in the financial services industry and technology—specifically access to information—has continued to change the role of an advisor. 

But the longer I spend in this line of work, I find that with even with all the information, data, and innovation that relates to investing and wealth mangement, this business is people.  Their hopes, dreams, concerns, values and the people in their lives that are important to them.  Getting to that point with anyone requires the most important skill anyone in a professional services career can have: the ability to listen.   

Early in my career, I was far more interested in telling people what I knew and what I thought in an attempt to earn their approval.  Showing them that I was knowledgeable and competent would certainly win them over.   Little did I realize at the time I was making it even less likely that I would be able to address the issues that were on the top of their list.  Assuming that I know what they needed only made it more difficult.

One of my favorite quotes about business is “People don’t care about your product, they care about their problem. “  Hearing that significantly changed the way that I would engage people in regards to their finances.  Even today, I need to catch myself if I am talking too much in a meeting.  If I could offer advice to my younger self, I would simply say, “stop talking so much, and listen.  You will be amazed what you can learn.”   

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