A nightmare stopped in her tracks

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Nov 5, 2008 9:27 pm

Just had to share.
The short story - prospect came in, had an account that was down from considerably and was worth less than 500k. When i asked how i could help her, she replied, no you dont understand, I want YOU to tell me how you can help me. I'm doing the interview.
After i managed thru that situation, we talked, i did discovery (this was just good practice, i really had already decided i wanted no part of her). We went thru the process - and she started arguing with me about fees, trying to "bargain me down, telling me that nobody ever quoted her more than 1% before (i told her my fee is 1.5% up to 500k then 1% above that)
Then she starts debating with me that she wouldnt sell anything right now because she wouldnt take such a loss.
Ultimately i told her we werent a good fit, and basically, nicely threw her out of my office.

I havent done this before, I always took what i could get as long as they werent disrespectful. Big mistake, and i decided recently that i am going to stick to a business model, and only work with people who will take my advice and pay me what i'm worth for it.

This was a truly great experience, i felt great walking her to the exit.

Nov 5, 2008 9:43 pm

good job! Smart decision. Most of those type of investors I've encountered have blown themselves up in bank prfds.

Nov 5, 2008 11:36 pm

Had one that spooked me a couple of years ago. 


My floor day, a lady comes in and wants to talk about her old 401k.  She was some sort of upper mid-level union lacky with GM, and had recently moved to FL and wanted to do a rollover.  Went through the whole getting-to-know you process, thought things were progressing nicely, talked about her income needs, expectations, risk tolerances and comfort, etc.  She asked for some quick, off-the-cuff opinions on some individual stocks she had been following, so pulled them up to see if any AGE coverage was out there.  Some had coverage, some didn't, so we talked about that for a few minutes.  Then, out of the blue, she says, "You remind me of my ex-husband." 


I'm silent and stunned, thinking she's kidding around, but she's not.  I then say something like, "Well, do you still like your ex-husband?"  She says, "No, he was always trying to manipulate me, just like you are."
 
Surprisingly, I didn't try to do or say anything else.  I just immediately stood up, told her it was obvious that she would never feel comfortable working with me, and I walked her to the front door. 
 
Weird.  It was like she flipped a switch, and went from nodding and agreeing and giving all the good comfort signs, to Lorena Bobbitt. 
Nov 6, 2008 6:28 am


Funny

Nov 6, 2008 9:08 am

At least when you said goodbye to her you didn't have to pay alimony!

Nov 6, 2008 9:21 am

And she left without any of your parts in her hand. 

Nov 6, 2008 9:48 am
Sportsfreakbob:

Just had to share.
The short story - prospect came in, had an account that was down from considerably and was worth less than 500k. When i asked how i could help her, she replied, no you dont understand, I want YOU to tell me how you can help me. I'm doing the interview.
After i managed thru that situation, we talked, i did discovery (this was just good practice, i really had already decided i wanted no part of her). We went thru the process - and she started arguing with me about fees, trying to "bargain me down, telling me that nobody ever quoted her more than 1% before (i told her my fee is 1.5% up to 500k then 1% above that)
Then she starts debating with me that she wouldnt sell anything right now because she wouldnt take such a loss.
Ultimately i told her we werent a good fit, and basically, nicely threw her out of my office.

I havent done this before, I always took what i could get as long as they werent disrespectful. Big mistake, and i decided recently that i am going to stick to a business model, and only work with people who will take my advice and pay me what i'm worth for it.

This was a truly great experience, i felt great walking her to the exit.



I had a similar meeting like that about 5 years ago.  Nice account...around 750 that was going into fee based at 1.25% at a time when I was just really starting to move into fee-based business.

The lady says "Well, I won't pay you that much.  I know that the "going rate" is 1% for my account because I've talked to the 'other guys'.  She had already said a few other things to me earlier in the meeting that caused me to question if I wanted her as a client...even though the fee was mighty tempting, even if I discounted to meet 'the competition'.  Among other things, I recall that she had 60-65% of her net worth in a major drug stock(I want to say Eli Lilly?) and she said numerous times that she couldn't see why she should diversify when the dividends were so good.

So I thought a minute, closed my notebook and looked at her and her smart-arse (unemployed for 6 months) son, and said "Well, I'm not 'the other guys', and that's my rate.  I've already told you why I'm different, and that is indeed my rate for this sized account.  Thanks for visiting, you're welcome to take some time to think it over and get back to me if you have any questions or if you want to move forward."  Told them I had some calls to make, and graciously walked them out.

Very empowering.  No...they never called back and I never regretted it.

Nov 6, 2008 10:39 am

Sportsfreakbob,

 
What does your "discovery" consist of?
Nov 6, 2008 4:28 pm
Borker Boy:

Sportsfreakbob,

 
What does your "discovery" consist of?


I've been out of prospecting mode for a  couple of years and am just getting back into it. So i'm still honing the process.
But i start out with pretty general questions, job status, spouse, kids, grandkids, etd. Then i ask questions about specific issueses-
Estate planning, insurance, debt, specific needs and goals, investment experience and attitude, then assets - i try to address the investable assets last. I tell them that while i focus on investment management, i believe that you cant properly address your investments without going thru a full financial planning process, and that while i address some of their non investment issues, there are others where i help them with big picture thinking and refer them to other professionals to execute on the details.
I'll also ask them about their 3 biggest financial concerns.
I have a 4 page questionaire that i use as a guideline. I dont literally go thru the whole thing because i don want it to feel like an interrogation.
Like i said, i'm still honing this thing - i've been out of it for a while, although it comes back pretty fast.

Nov 6, 2008 11:00 pm
Spaceman Spiff:

And she left without any of your parts in her hand. 

 
I can hear the arbitration panel now. 
 
"For reminding this demented woman of her ex-husband and making her feel manipulated, we award one pound of flesh." 
 
Okay, maybe half a pound.
Nov 7, 2008 9:52 am

Now you're just bragging. 

Nov 7, 2008 10:21 am
Spaceman Spiff:

Now you're just bragging. 

Okay, okay.  Actually, 7.42 oz.  I just went to the supply room and used the postal scale.  So, at least we're all set on 'full disclosure.'  The bad news is that one of the assistants came in to get some Post-Its and ran out of the room screaming, so you'll probably read about me in USA Today on Monday.  "So, Mav, where's the number to that truck driving school...?"

Nov 7, 2008 12:05 pm

This is a great thread.  It's a whole lot easier to fire a prospect than a client.  I found that out the hard way earlier this week, although I think the story ends just fine.  I've in the past done as some of the rest of you have and simply priced myself out of the market when I didn't want the business.  Unemployed sons are the worst.  I've seen them sitting there and literally watched the wheels turn in their greedy little heads.  I think I'm going to use "unemployed son comes with client to meetings" as a weed-out factor going forward.  After experiencing that, I have no interest in repeating the process.

 
I have an odd prospect story to add to the mix...happened about eight years ago.  Prospect comes into my office looking for a place to transfer his account since his discount bank brokerage program had folded.  As we went through the Q&A/application process, he continually interrupted me to ask if his ex-wife would know about the account and/or if we would give his information to her.  Although I assured him several times that we would not share his information, he was just beyond paranoid.  I was getting annoyed with him and then we hit the straw that broke the camel's back...there was a place on the application where you could indicate whether the stock would be held in the account or whether certificates would be issued.  He wanted his certificates and I simply told him that that option was not available in my office and he needed to look elsewhere for an advisor.  He was stunned, but walked out of my office without so much as goodbye.  For the life of me, I don't know why my former B/D even had that option on the application, although I'll bet they don't anymore...
Nov 17, 2008 12:41 am

Here is one for you--I had my wife's account until we got divorced--then I fired her!  She even brought it up in court and the judge ask why I thought I had the right to fire her as a client...she told him I was a great father and financial advisor but she didn't love me anymore...I told the judge that I fire any client that doesn't love me anymore.  The judge became a client two weeks later!

 
Update--I let the exwife account come back--but not the exwife!
 
Whoever said that the third time was the charm hasn't been married 3 times!
 
I need another beer!
Nov 17, 2008 1:17 am
Roadhard:

Here is one for you--I had my wife's account until we got divorced--then I fired her!  She even brought it up in court and the judge ask why I thought I had the right to fire her as a client...she told him I was a great father and financial advisor but she didn't love me anymore...I told the judge that I fire any client that doesn't love me anymore.  The judge became a client two weeks later!

 
Update--I let the exwife account come back--but not the exwife!
 
Whoever said that the third time was the charm hasn't been married 3 times!
 
I need another beer!
 
Cool story.  Maybe I should get married and then get divorced to try it out.
Nov 19, 2008 5:27 pm

Snags send her my way!