A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success
CHRISISM #51 - Are You an Idealist or a Realist?
03 October 2017
I think a lot of us joined the world of financial services with a pretty idealistic frame of mind, but I believe it is just a matter of time before we learn to adopt a more realistic approach.
I know when I first started in the business back in London at the ripe old age of 23, I was so excited about the difference I could make to other people’s financial futures just by getting them to take some very basic common sense steps such as hanging on to a bit of their hard earned money and protecting their income against illness or accident. I guess I was extremely confident of being able to convince people to do the right thing as I had done it myself, having joined the business as a client.
However, it wasn’t long before I realised that common sense doesn’t play much of a role for most people when it comes to financial planning, that procrastination is the norm and that people don’t usually do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it! For all of these reasons, I learned that it was necessary to get a commitment from people that was verbal rather than implied. For example, at the end of the first meeting I would say:-
“My mission next time we get together is to take you on board as a client, which means that you would have to commit to doing something about this rather than just thinking it was a good idea in theory. Now obviously, in order for me to reasonably expect you to do that, you would have to be 100% happy with my recommendations and see exactly how they achieved the outcomes you have told me you want, and you would have to be totally comfortable with an amount of money that you can afford to put towards achieving those outcomes – but, assuming all of those boxes are ticked, would there be any reason whatsoever why you wouldn’t be happy to proceed and come on board as a client next time?”
Because of my abundant enthusiasm when I first joined the business, I also had the idealistic view that I would do such a good job of creating a quality experience for someone even by the end of a first meeting that thereafter I would remain at the forefront of their mind on an ongoing basis and always be uppermost in their thoughts – dream on! What I did learn pretty quickly, however, was that the only time that we have the focus of a prospect or a client is when they are sitting right there in front of us – as soon as their feet hit the ground outside our office, everything else takes over and we drift back to the deeper recesses of their subconscious!
What this means is that we need to get as much done as possible whilst they are sitting right there in front of us and never assume it will be just as easy to get things done when they are back in their own world. A couple of examples of this are:-
• Make sure you have a scheduled time to get back together for the second meeting in the diary before they leave your office at the end of the first meeting (even if it’s subject to them checking their calendar when they get back to their office)
One final thought that it might be worth sharing with your clients is that, when it comes to financial planning, there is no such thing as a good idea in theory – only in practice. Good financial planning ideas in theory are why we have so many educated derelicts in this country!
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