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It's a Tough New World

Seattle: "At a recent social event, I was in a conversation with a couple of people when one asked me the "So, what do you do?" question. I told him, 'I oversee financial affairs for some families in the area.' To which he responded, 'Oh, so you're a crook."

Seattle: "At a recent social event, I was in a conversation with a couple of people when one asked me the "So, what do you do?" question. I told him, 'I oversee financial affairs for some families in the area.' To which he responded, 'Oh, so you're a crook."

Tim explained all of this with a pained expression, and then confessed that he had been considering changing how he describes what he does professionally when he is asked. He had taken to second-guessing himself.

Have you ever taken a public body punch like the one Tim received? Have you ever second-guessed yourself? If you are active on the affluent playing field, I'm sure you have. However, there are two points in this issue of Practice Management that I want to bring to your attention:
1. It is very easy to get off track (Tim was on the verge of being de-railed).
2. It is very simple to engage in summertime rainmaking (high-impact marketing activities).

In the spirit of full disclosure, here's a little background on Tim: He is a client of the Oechsli Institute, attended a Rainmaker Weekend and is currently in a coaching relationship. Tim is no slouch: year-to-date he's brought in $19 million dollars of new money and has over $40 million in his pipeline. As for his summertime rainmaking activities, his calendar is booked solid, at least until the last week in August.

Yet one obnoxious comment from an affluent jerk during a party--and we all know affluent jerks--caused him to start questioning himself. By the way, the party was being hosted by one of his top clients and Tim was invited to be personally introduced to his client's wealthy uncle, which went off without a hitch as the uncle is now a real prospect in his pipeline.

But it's tough out there on today's affluent playing field. You need to be prepared for the unexpected, the sarcastic comment, and the jerk. Although you might not risk blowing out a knee, it is important to be able to handle whatever psychological bruising might come your way.

In Tim's case, he needed to be reminded that one bad apple should never spoil a rainmaker's marketing plan: blending business with pleasure. After all, as the data below highlights, when it comes to trusting their ability to get "unbiased advice", affluent jerks aside, the affluent put financial advisors at the top of the list, our research is showing, for the first time. It's your moment...

To the question, who do you trust most to provide unbiased advice, respondents replied in the following manner:
· Financial Advisor - 30%
· Financial Planner - 20%
· CPA - 18%
· Personal Banker - 9%
· Attorney - 7%
· Online investment provider - 6%
· Mutual Fund Provider - 5%
· Stockbroker - 4%
· Insurance agent - 1%

More than likely, this jerk would have had the same snarky comment ready for any of the aforementioned professional providers. You wouldn't accept an affluent jerk like this guy as a new client, would you?

Tim was able to quickly refocus by answering three simple questions:
1. What's your new asset total year-to-date?
2. What's realistically in your pipeline?
3. What does your Rainmaker calendar look like for the balance of the summer?

In answering the first two questions Tim was able to coach himself out of his funk. "I'm making this way too complicated by thinking too much about it. My approach is working and I should stick to my knitting."

His response to the third question needs to be re-played to every financial advisor interested in affluent client acquisition. Tim's first broad brush answer was I'm really jammed through July. When pressed for daily details, events and meetings started pouring out as he read his calendar: wine-tasting with a group of physicians and spouses (1 client, the rest prospects), meeting with an attorney (prospect), lunch with a CPA (center-of-influence), cooking class at a client's home (with prospects), dinner party with client and wealthy friends at client's house, fly-fishing with client and prospect, fly-fishing with 2 clients and 3 prospects, and on and on until he said "The only week I have open is the last week in August."

So who says you can't prospect during the summer? It's the perfect time to mix business with pleasure, as long as you are confident in yourself, have your Rainmaker antenna fully activated, and keep things fun and simple. Tim almost fell prey to making things stressful and complicated (in his own mind).

The lesson here is clear: if Tim didn't re-group it is highly improbable that he would have been able to capitalize on his summertime rainmaking "event" calendar. That said, he has to remember to toughen up mentally and that in today's world, financial advisors stand at the head of the "trust" class for unbiased advice.

Free Matt Oechsli Teleconference! We have just concluded a research project on the affluent and have released some of the highlights in a free teleconference by Matt Oechsli. Discover what the affluent are now looking for in a financial advisor. The answers may surprise to listen Acquiring Affluent Clients in the New World.

Once again, we want to thank all of you who have emailed comments and questions to us. We will continue to do our best to answer each one.

If you have any topic suggestions or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep. and Trust & Estates magazines, at [email protected].

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