Mitch Anthony - For more than a decade, helping organizations and individuals master the art of client conversations.
 

FREE!
Mitch Anthony's Intuitive Advisor eNewsletter

SUBSCRIBE NOW! >>
Read past issues >>


Join Us!

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

 

Mitch Anthony's Intuitive Advisor

The Practice Doctor is IN

The Time Travel Approach

by Al Depman, CLU, ChFC, CMFC, BH
Practice Management Consultant

Al Depman photoOkay, so I stand guilty of being an avowed Star Trek fan. I have yet to dress up in costume, but I'm pretty much at the next closest level of fandom. So it's no surprise that I allow a bit of this "Trekness" to leak through into my practice management consultations. Star Trek often deals with time travel as a plot device, so let's bring it to financial services plotlines!

In assisting advisors to become more thorough in their process of eliciting clients to envision new retirementalities, I often use the "time travel" approach. At the core of this concept is attempting to jerk the client out of being immersed in today (which is often a challenge) and begin to think in relatable past and future terms—in other words, relatable terms as opposed to abstract terms.

The time travel scenarios support your prospect's ability to stay flexible in the face of uncertainty. The planning you do today must be malleable enough to absorb the blows of what's yet to come. Tell your prospects you are going to put them in a time transporter and set the dial for 20 years in the past and then 20 years in the future. First, let's beam to the past.

Start with the past: 1996. This was the run-up to the millennium and pre-9/11. What were you doing? What professional, personal, and family relationships were you in? What were the major concerns you had back then? What were the financial issues you were facing? Who were you relying on for financial advice? Where were you in the following areas:

  • Your health
  • Your key relationships
  • Your work
  • Rate of inflation
  • Investment climate
  • Tax climate

Now, beam back to today (20 years later): 2016. Answer the same questions, but as of today. Could you have anticipated, in 1996, your life as it is 20 years later? What different decisions would you have made back then, if any? Where are you in the following areas:

  • Your health
  • Your key relationships
  • Your work
  • Rate of inflation
  • Investment climate
  • Tax climate

Finally, set the transporter to 20 years from now: 2036. Any lessons learned from the 1996 versus 2016 comparison that can be applied to the next 20 years? Where do you think you will be in the following areas:

  • Your health
  • Your key relationships
  • Your work
  • Inflation rate
  • Investment climate
  • Tax climate

Ask clients or prospective clients to describe what they would like to be doing, what they would like to have, and how they will be living their life in 2036. For example: "Did your children's education fund survive 20 years? What kind of house are you living in? Are you working? What organizations are you donating to, and how much are you able to give them? How much traveling are you doing?" And more importantly, "What will your key relationships be in 20 years?"

Gather and tie all of their answers back to what has to take place today, from this point forward, to ensure the future they desire is attainable in best and worst-case scenarios. If possible, assign a dollar figure that would fund that future. For example, you can identify how much money would be needed or made available through investment management vehicles for education, retirement, or travel. What risk management products would need to be in place to protect that dollar figure?

As you lead a client or prospective client through the future-needs based conversation, collaborate with them to diagnose their current condition and have them describe it to you, instead of you describing it to them. This is where your skills for listening and asking are vital. By asking the right questions you will be connecting your prospect with needs they may not have been aware of. By listening to your prospects' answers you will be able to hear what is important to them, feed it back to them, and gain their agreement. When your client or prospective client agrees with and can verbalize their needs clearly, you have a diagnosis, and can prescribe the appropriate solution.

As you conclude this stage of the client relationship process, be curious about what your client or prospective client learned; what had value to them in this exercise. The "time travel" approach emphasizes how important it is to have a consistent, fiduciary-minded financial services professional in place over the long haul.

Be sure to disassemble the time transporter before you leave. That technology, in the wrong hands and in the wrong time, could be dangerous!

The Doctor is OUT


© 2016 Al Depman

Al Depman, CLU, ChFC, CMFC, BH, a.k.a. "The Practice Doctor", is MitchAnthony.com's Business Practice Consultant, and contributor to "The Wall Street Journal." He is the creator of "The Practice Management Assessment" tool, the key component of The Business Practice Check-Up™, has authored numerous articles in professional publications on practice management, and is the author of the book, How to Build Your Financial Advisory Business and Sell It at a Profit, available from McGraw Hill. Al combined his Liberal Arts studies with 10 years of management experience with McDonald's Corporation to enter the financial services world 25 years ago. Since then, Al has evolved from an MDRT-level sales rep into a full-time consultant specializing in helping others engineer their business practices to the next level. Contact him at al@mitchanthony.com.


<< Return to past issues

 

New Video!

THE E.P.I.C. RETIREMENT

View The E.P.I.C. Retirement video Mitch Anthony and Steve Sanduski developed for their "Retirement Coaching" program.

 

The video is designed for the exclusive use of program participants, and can be uploaded to advisors' websites for use with clients and prospects. The program is currently closed to new participants, but click here to receive information about the next one!