Author Archive | Adam Kornegay


I Don’t Know is Okay

For most of my life, I wanted to be the smartest person in the room—the one with all the answers, the one everyone could turn to for knowledge and advice. Consequently, whenever I didn’t know the answer to a question, I was at a loss as to what to say. While I never made up an answer, I usually floundered around with a rambling “non-answer.” No matter what, the last thing I wanted to say was, “I don’t know.” But ultimately, over time, my thinking changed for two reasons: I […]

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Who Do You Know…Who Wants a Tattoo?

This may surprise you, but I moonlight as a tattoo artist. My hands are a bit shaky, and my drawing skills aren’t the best, but it’s my passion. And like most other enterprising small business owners, I’m always looking to expand my client base. I’ve heard that building your network through referrals is a great way to succeed. So at every opportunity I ask everyone, “Who do you know who wants a tattoo?” I can’t tell you how many blank looks I get, but I have had a few people […]

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Did You Know?

The other day, I was asked by one of our clients to proof a letter he had drafted to reassure clients after the start to the year.  As you might expect, it contained a lot of words and phrases that were better suited for a market commentary than a reassuring letter. And perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I read each paragraph several times and still am not entirely sure exactly what he was trying to say. We all know that the words we choose are incredibly important.  As Mark […]

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Is it Luck?

“And, believe it or not, at the end of the meeting he fortunately decided to open an account.” I had been working with this advisor for about a month when he told me of his recent success. Obviously, I was happy to hear that he was getting a new client, but I was shocked at the way he described it to me. The implication was clear – he was very lucky to get such an individual as his client. The words we choose to describe ourselves to clients and prospective […]

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Consider Your Words

Who doesn’t want to look smart? In our efforts to appear knowledgeable, it’s all too tempting to begin switching out simple words and phrases for more complex ones or to use words that can mean one thing to us but something very different to clients. In the classic book, The Elements of Style by Strunk & White, the authors recommend omitting “needless words.” For example, don’t say “owing to the fact that…” when “because” will do. Our tendency to over-inflate our language was examined in a study published by Applied […]

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The Most Important Rule of Networking

I often hear from advisors who get involved in various organizations such as alumni groups or non-profits.  But no matter how many groups they join, they never seem to find any new clients.  They’ll turn to me and ask, “I’ve joined every group I can think of, but nobody seems interested in hiring me as an advisor.  What am I doing wrong?” As is often the case, the issue here is one of focus.  The advisor is focusing on himself.  Why is he joining so many groups? Because he wants […]

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The Holiday Appointment Scheduling Blues

Around this time of year, I often hear from advisors who struggle to schedule new appointments between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the New Year. They are often met with the response that the client or prospective client is too busy and would rather wait until next year. As we know, the “busyness” that everyone feels doesn’t obviate the need to keep financial plans on track (or in some cases, get them started). So how do we break through that holiday objection and keep things moving during the last six […]

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Abundance or Scarcity?

I once had a co-worker who lived in one of those neighborhoods where everyone went all-out for holidays.  One year, she invited me over to help pass out Halloween candy.  When I got there, I learned that she had bought 25 bags of candy! When the first kids arrived, I grabbed a handful to give to each of them.  Immediately I was chastised, “One piece per kid, Adam!”  I couldn’t believe it.  We had over 450 pieces of candy. Just one?  While I was concerned that there was too much […]

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Trust Me!

Have you ever stopped to consider that when you are meeting with a prospective client, their biggest concern may not be the risk associated with the market.  Rather they are likely more concerned with the risk they face by switching to you.  After all, you are going to be the one providing the advice.  The markets may take them in the wrong direction, but they don’t control that.  They do control who they are getting their advice from. Many advisors look to establish trust from the very first meeting with […]

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Life is What Happens…

My dad has always loved gardening…in the spring. He’ll spend the winter months looking through seed catalogs, starting plants in little containers under grow lights, and looking forward to the time when he can put them out in his garden. But as the summer wears on, he spends less and less time tending his plants, and by early fall, the neglect has begun to show. Sound familiar?  As John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For advisors, it’s easy to get started on a […]

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