by Ryan H. Law
This last summer my son and daughter were playing on our swing set and they decided to have a chicken fight on the monkey bars. Bad idea. My daughter lost the chicken fight and fell and hurt her arm.
We took her to InstaCare and met with a doctor we had never met before. He wanted to x-ray her arm and see where it was hurt, but like any good parent, we stopped him and asked him some very important questions:
- How are you different from other doctors?
- Where did you get your education?
- Did you receive any honors while you were in school?
- Did you graduate in the top 10% of your class?
- Tell us about your medical journey – where did you work before you started working here?
I’m kidding – of course. We didn’t ask any of those questions. None of that mattered. All we cared about was whether or not he could help our daughter. He x-rayed her arm, which turned out to be broken, he put a cast on and followed up with her until her arm was better.
We don’t ask questions like that of our doctors, accountants, or lawyers.
No one does that because we don’t care how they are different, where they went to school, what honors they got, etc. None of that matters. All we care about is, “can they solve my problem?”
For some reason financial professionals feel the need to do many or all of those things, though. Many financial planners have a section on their website titled, “How We’re Different From Other Advisors.”
They have a presentation all prepared for the first appointment where they tell others how they are different, where they went to school, what honors they received and other similar information.
Your clients don’t care.
They came to you with a problem. They want to know if you have the knowledge and expertise to solve their problem.
Their problem might be that they are in credit card debt and need a plan to get out. Or that they just received an inheritance and need to know what to do with it. Or that they have a lot of student loan debt and need to know the best repayment plan.
None of those problems, or the myriad of other problems people come in to see a financial professional about, can be solved by explaining how you are different from other advisors.
What we need to do is ask good questions and LISTEN. Our doctor that day started out by asking questions. He was kind to my daughter and us, he asked her what happened, where it hurt, and other similar questions.
We’ll be talking a lot more about asking questions and listening in future posts.
But let’s address another issue – why do financial professionals feel the need to do all these things when our lawyers, accountants, and doctors don’t?
Are we a real profession, or are we salespeople?
We are a profession, and I recommend we act like one.
The first appointment can set us up for success in this regard. Next week’s post will address the first appointment and how we can use that appointment to act like the professionals that we are.
- If you have a portion of your website that says some version of “How We’re Different” I strongly recommend you delete it.
- In preparation for next week’s post about the first appointment, review your current process for that appointment. Write out an outline for what you currently do.
NOTE: With the exception of the swing set and Advisor “How We’re Different” image, all other images are from Unsplash.com.