Managing the advisory team Feed

Controlling the Planning Interview with an Eye to Higher Purposes

In every interview a sale is made, either you sell the prospect or the prospect sells you. In this class you will learn how to control the interview. - Big Ticket Sales Training

Taught that class in a windowless, pee-yellow room in Birmingham, AL to rookie life insurance agents; then for several years in Savannah, GA. As I worked my way up, the conversation about control got more subtle, but the fact remains that even the most client-oriented Trusted Advisors and Serving Professionals, control the interview about your money and your legacy. Each has a process and pay points. Each has software into which a paralegal or paraplanner will input your goals and financial facts in little boxes. "The software doesn't do that," the paraplanner whines when faced with an unusual goal, like calculating how much a person can give away during his or her lifetime without impacting other goals. A client who goes to an estate planner for a lifetime goal will get a death time plan, and the client will be none the wiser, since the process is so obscured with detail and technical jargon.

Now, I am not trying to rescue the client here from the advisor. Perhaps it is the other way around. What advisors say is that clients are unwilling or unable to come to voice about their vision, values, goals, hopes, aspirations. The client is often passive, grudging, and at odds with spouse or kids. The advisor cannot read minds.The advisor then makes assumptions about ends in view. So the paraplanner says, "I worked with what you gave me, boss; this is what the software kicked out; don't blame me; garbage in and garbage out."

The result is that the client - assume it is you - gets the plan that the software produces, the one to which the serving professional's business plan and training are well attuned. You get what I call the Ken and Barbie Plan with the names, ages, and financial details replaced with your own. 

In this class you will learn how to control your advisors lest they control you. 

Actually, the hope is that we can meet on higher ground, to partner with advisors for inspired plans. 

Advisors will meet you on higher ground, if you lead there. They will meet you on higher ground rather than lose you altogether as a client, even if higher ground takes them more work, requires them to buy new software, or send their paraplanner back for more training.

Rule of Thumb: To master others we must master ourselves. Unless our own vision is clear, we cannot expect the advisor to facilitate it. In this famous statue, you are the rider; the advisor is the prancing steed. The stoic emperor, Marcus Aurelius, has mastered himself before he set out to master the horse, the army, the populace, the world. His eye is on the horizon. Go to your advisors in that spirit, or they will ride you like that horse to their destination, ignoble as it might be. More likely, they will be like the serving professional who sees this statue and says, "What an amazing horse. I wonder what it cost? Wish I had a horse like that. I know what I would do with a horse like that if I had one."

Manage Your Serving Professionals or They Will Manage You

The Reverend Jonathan Swift wrote "Directions to Servants," from the perspective of a noble family callJeevesed upon to manage its serving professionals. I am thinking of teaming with Marty Carter, a former collaborator with such notables as Jay Hughes, Charles Collier, and Charles Haines to write a "how to" guide for wealthy people, including their bored heirs, on how to gain control of the planning interview, even of Jeeves himself, and so advance their own plans, and perhaps a project or two whose positive impact goes beyond the hothouse world of Brideshead Revisted, or its Gated American Surrogate. Pass on your own values to posterity, not those of your Faithful Butler, assuming there is a difference.