By JC Abusaid, CEO/President as Featured in Forbes 

Nurturing a sales mindset from within your organization can yield promising results.

There are no shortcuts to achieving growth—at least not for a wealth advisory organization like ours. We’re in an intensively high-service, attunement-to-client-needs culture, and when the team wanted to accelerate growth, the first attempt was to hire it by bringing in outside sales talent to help accomplish that. The outcome was disappointing, and the organization paid a dear price for it.

The team pivoted to an approach that draws on the existing, resourceful workforce and the culture that’s been so much a part of the success over the years. This alternative to shoehorning a sales culture into a service-focused firm is paying off. I hope there’s something in our story and experience that can be of use in your own path to growth. We’re developing ourselves from within, and we’re learning a lot along the way.

How Not To Grow

Several years back, the team was faced with a significant challenge. In this industry, the titans of sales have been seeing slowing production numbers, and some were retiring.

This is an industry-wide challenge, and today’s generation of younger professionals have different goals and motivators. For some firms, jump-starting growth has meant merging or being acquired.

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For us, preserving our culture presented challenges to this approach.

At first, the team tried hiring seasoned mid-career salespeople, although the organization was not a sales-focused company. Long story short, the company culture and values took a nose dive, and the team didn’t achieve any of the growth it was seeking.

The shortcut was a road to nowhere. The painful lesson became: If it doesn’t fit your culture, you simply can’t force growth on your organization. It has to be an organic effort.

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Producers Must Carry Your Culture’s Flag

Reflecting back, it now seems obvious. We have never been a sales organization.

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It’s just not who we are. Over the past two-plus decades, the team had become progressively better at what they do well—building an amazing infrastructure, finessing great services and growing, albeit slower than the team was aiming for.

At the core of what the team considers formidable value to clients is the awesome workforce and the culture that sustains that. And who can successfully communicate your value better than those who know it and deliver it?

The team decided to tap the younger advisors for potential and gauged their interest in taking on the sales efforts to grow the firm. But making this kind of transition means facing a number of hurdles.

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