This Will Make You an Unforgettable Financial Planner

Can I tell you about a very personal experience?

About ten days after the birth of my youngest daughter Julia, my wife didn’t feel well in the morning.

After calling our midwife, we hurried to the hospital and as soon as we arrived, it became clear to me it was dead serious.

Because she was bleeding internally.

And after a quick medical examination, she had to go into surgery.

But the bleeding didn’t stop.

Another specialist came to her bedside and told us she had to go through another surgery.

But the bleeding didn’t stop.

She had to be transferred to another hospital to go through another surgery. The third one in six hours.

But …. it didn’t stop there.

She became weaker and weaker.

It was agony.

Her lips were the same color as her pale face and her body was covered in cords and wires. She had just enough energy to whisper to me, “how are the kids doing?”

And of course, I answered, “they are doing just fine, don’t worry.”

After 48 hours of suffering, pain and lots of tears, the doctor entered our private hospital room and cleared his throat, “I have some bad news. Your wife probably has a bacterial infection.”

What he really said was, “We don’t know, but are doing everything we can.”

The doctor gave me the feeling her days were numbered.

And I was scared, really scared because the thought of ………. Well, it scares me again as I write this.

But I was lucky. We were lucky.

Because somehow – and I won’t go through all the details – she managed to pull through. She managed to gather so much strength in her weakened body to win the most important fight of her life.

She fought like only a mother can, to stay alive for the sake of her family.

She won.

What if?

If you’re a mother, this fight might not surprise you. The vast majority of mothers fight for their family. They are not trying to be heroes. They’re fighting because it’s their job.

Nevertheless, in the days and weeks after, I started thinking, what if? What if she didn’t pull through? What if she did pass into the great beyond, leaving me with three kids? What if she didn’t fight?

What would have happened?

Nothing.

Yes, nothing would have happened.

That’s the worse part.

The next day, the sun would come up. The birds would sing. People would eat breakfast, go to work, attend meetings… and nobody would even notice my wife would be gone. The great wheel would keep on turning, and for better or worse, she’d be forgotten.

And that’s the point. It’s not just the thought of my kids and I losing the most important person in our lives, although that’s certainly gruesome. It’s the thought of her being forgotten.

But how can a mother be forgotten?

Well, they can’t. Nobody forgets their mother.

And I think we can learn from this. I don’t mean to trivialize what mothers do, but I’ve come to believe that our job as financial planners is not all that different.

You see, down deep, I believe many of us have a primal need to be remembered, to pass something on to future generations, to leave some mark on the world saying, “I was here.”

I believe that’s probably the most important reason you made the decision to become a financial planner.

Now, I know this sounds stupid, but let’s think about this for a moment.

Don’t you agree that there’s something immensely comforting about knowing that you really matter to your clients?

Isn’t it a reassuring thought that if you kick the bucket tomorrow, you will live on, taking root in the minds of important people in your life?

What really happens

Of course, most of the time no one seems to care about you and your financial planning service. No applause, no hoorays, no referrals, no nothing. And it’s disturbing.

When you give your best advice to your client and you see your client doesn’t act, you feel like nothing has changed.

The good news? It can change.

You just have to realize your financial planning service by itself isn’t a magic key to immortality.

If you want that, you have to be unforgettable.

You have to touch people so deeply and connect with them so powerfully that your ideas and advice are burned into their minds.

Here’s how.

The Walking Dead?

Have you ever watched people coming out of the subway, walking down the street, on their way to their jobs?

If you have, you’ll notice that people are doing nothing. Just watch this:

Look at them.

They’re not even there.

Somewhere along the way, their mind and heart and soul drifted off to sleep, and their body is operating on autopilot, keeping them alive until something happens.

What about these people?

These people are your clients.

If you aren’t getting any referrals or compliments, it’s not because your service isn’t good, necessarily. It’s because your clients do nothing.

Why?

Because they don’t care about your service. So they don’t bother to say anything intelligent about it.

That’s why, if you want interaction, you have to wake them up. You have to break them out of their stupor. You have to pump some life back into their veins.

Let’s talk about how…

Examine the patient for signs of life

The good news is they’re not all numb. They’re slightly alive.

Your job as a financial planner is to find that life.

You have to watch your clients. You have to talk to your clients. You have to study them the way a doctor examines a patient suffering from some mysterious illness.

Why?

Because you’re searching for a spark.

You will only see it, when you get it ~ Johan Cruijff

Buried down deep inside, they have hidden fears, dreams, desires and goals, and every once in a while, those emotions will leap to the surface, giving you a clue about how to bring them back.

Just pay close attention.

  • One moment, their eyes are dull and glassy. The next, they’re shining with emotion.
  • One moment, their skin is gray and waxy. The next, it’s a glowing pink.
  • One moment, their body is stiff and awkward. The next, it’s full of vitality.

It’s like watching someone come to life, although that’s not exactly true, of course. They were always alive. It’s like they just forgot for a while, and they need someone to remind them.

That “someone” is you.

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Attach the jumper cables

Leave a car sitting idle for a few weeks, and what happens?

The battery dies. Not because anything is wrong with it, necessarily, but because no one has been using it.

And how do we charge it up?

Simple:

We get a car with a fully charged battery, connect the two with jumper cables, and then rev the engine.

Well, people’s emotions work sort of the same way. If you’ve not been using them for a while, it’s hard to get them started again, and often times, we need someone else to give us a boost.

As financial planners, that’s our job.

Your clients are the dead batteries. You are the live one. Your conversation about the goals in your client’s life is your pair of jumper cables.

The secret is knowing where, exactly, to connect those cables.

On your client’s side, you have to connect them to a place where your client is at least slightly alive. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your energy, which is what many planners do by just selling to them.

That’s why understanding your clients is so critical.

On your own side, you have to connect those jumper cables to exactly the same place as you connected them to the client, kind of like matching the positive and negative terminals. In other words, what turns them on has to turn you on too. Big time.

Why?

Because it’s time to rev that engine.

Rev your engine

Look at any piece of great financial planning, and you’ll notice it has a certain electricity to it.

It’s not just a couple of numbers on a piece of paper. It’s raw energy compiled in an intense conversation followed by a plan or roadmap.

Where does that energy come from?

You. The financial planner.

  • If you have ever seen a video or blog post by Michael Kitces, you can’t help but feel the passion he has about advancing knowledge of financial planning.
  • If you follow Tony Vidler, you can’t help but feel his urge to help his customers get more customers.
  • If you’ve ever been to Adviseredge, you can’t help but feel Baz Gardner’s efforts to innovate the financial services industry.
  • If you’ve ever read a book from Jim Stackpool, you know he’s in the race for delivering certainty to clients.

It’s not a trickle of emotion. It’s a roaring flood, a tidal wave of feeling that lifts you up and carries you along for a ride.

Not surprisingly, that’s why those guys are popular. Because if you feel the way they do, it charges you up.

So how do you serve your clients with that kind of emotion?

You rev your engine. You charge yourself up. You perform your battle chant.

Instead of sitting down and doing cold, rational, analytical financial planning, imagine the emotion you want to create in your client, and deliberately cultivate that emotion in yourself.

Then let it lose. Let it flow through you and into your service.

Your clients will feel it. They’ll wake up. It’ll make them feel alive.

And they’ll remember you forever.

How To Be Unforgettable

It’s not about how smart you are.

It’s not about the professionalism of your financial planning service.

It’s not even about giving your clients tips they can go out and apply immediately.

It’s about the way you make those clients feel.

You want them to feel secure. You want them to feel inspired. You want them to feel taken care of.

But the most important part?

You want them to feel alive.

You’ve felt it with other art forms, right? You go to a great concert or play or movie, and when it finishes, you feel a little bit different? A little bit more awake?

Well, great financial planning does that too. Do you realize how incredibly precious that is?

It means you’re not just here to inform. It means you’re not just here to sell. It means you’re not just here to persuade.

Your conversation with your client and your financial planning service can change somebody’s life.

After writing this post one planner actually emailed to tell me his brain lit up every time he read one of my articles. I made him feel, like W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino and Dale Carnegie made him feel.

That’s far too much credit for me I guess, but what’s true is that my article gave him exactly the message he needed to hear, and reached him at exactly the right time.

Honestly, I feel better about that than all the money I’ve made in my life. I set out to write a post that would affect people, and it did, maybe in the biggest way possible.

The point?

It’s time to start taking your work seriously

When you sit down to create a financial plan, don’t think about just the numbers. Don’t give your clients just another strategy.

Set their hair on fire.

Do it with so much passion and energy and enthusiasm they can’t stay asleep.

Because that’s what you have to do: bring them back to life. Maybe not forever, maybe not even for a day, but for an hour or two, give them such a charge they feel like a different person.

Do that, and they won’t just move on, forgetting about you forever.

They’ll give you a compliment. They’ll refer you to a friend. They’ll be happy to pay for your service. They come back for more.

And then you can shock them again and again and again until they find their spark for good.

From then on, you’ll be their hero. They’ll think about you. Not every day, but often enough.  You’ll be, quite literally, unforgettable.

But the best part?

When your time does come, you’ll know you made a difference

I don’t know about you, but when I pass into the great beyond, I won’t be thinking about my assets under management, the number of clients I have or my saving accounts.

I’ll think about the guy who compared me with Dale Carnegie. The guy whose brain lit up after reading my blog.

Those are the things that matter. Those are the things we are working for. Those are the things we need to build our entire businesses around.

That’s why we’re here. That’s why we matter.

So get to work.

Your clients are waiting for you.

Let’s make financial planning matter.

Ronald Sier

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Cameron Foster

Fantastic blog post Ronald! Unforgettable one might say…

\”It’s not a trickle of emotion. It’s a roaring flood, a tidal wave of feeling that lifts you up and carries you along for a ride.\”

Love this quote.

Marty Morua

World War 2

My closest ties to this tragedy are through stories my grandfather shared with me. He was a survivor of one of the Nazi concentration camps. He\’s long passed on, and besides the book \”The Diary of Anne Frank\”, I\’ve done much reading on other survivors. Facing death and surviving is a deeply humbling experience. Bone chilling scary, but sometimes humbles someone enough to inspire others to live their lives with excitement.

Your thoughts Ronald are extraordinarily inspiring and I hope more (MANY) financial advisors have a moment to read your post.

Thanks for your fine work Ronald!

Cheers,

Marty Morua

Sarah Williams

Great article, thank you ever so much! This is all exactly what it required to get to the next level!!

Michal Bodi

Great piece Ronald! Lighting up the clients\’ emotions and engage them in firery conversations is absolutely necessary in order to leave an impact and an impression which goes far beyond just what\’s generally expected. I\’ve dedicated my life to this and I believe it\’s the only way to take our profession to the top where it belongs.

Baz Gardner

Brilliant Ronald,

So many professionals are asleep at the wheel. It\’s time to wake up Financial Planners so they can wake up their clients.

Real Advice can do more than just change lives, it can change the World ;-). Let\’s predict the future by inventing it together.

Theo

It\’s a masterpiece Ronald! You certainly lighted up my fire again and makes me very very motivated to make a difference for my clients! Thank you so much or your inspiration. And keep up the good work!

Tony Kench

Thanks Ronald.

That really resonated for me. A large part of why I have started the Financial Advice journey, is that desire to make a difference. Having indelible memories of nearly 400 people at my fathers funeral when I was 14.
Funny thing is it doesnt matter howgood the intentions, there is that need for emotional connectivity.
Certainly can see that as my weak point and certainly some interesting suggestions re making the experiance more unforgetable hence referable.

Thanks again

Tony

    Ronald Sier

    You\’re welcome Tony. Glad it resonates!

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