If you’re a dog person at all, you’ve probably heard of Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. Cesar’s philosophy with dog owners is very simple. To have a balanced dog and life, you must be calm, assertive and remain the pack leader at all times.
As I was browsing through some of his articles, it occurred to me, that many of his foundation principles could actually be applied to the advisor/client relationship. Advisors who understand and implement these principles, serve their clients better and often become natural “Asset Whisperers.”
In a world dominated by political correctness, one can’t be too careful. So before I begin, I need to make one thing absolutely crystal clear. This is my disclaimer:
This article should NOT in any way, directly or indirectly, be construed as comparing your clients to dogs. That is not my intention. My intention is to have you recognize that the three principles Cesar preaches are exactly the qualities your clients look for in you.
Now, let’s take a look at each of Cesar’s principles as it relates to becoming a natural “Asset Whisperer.”
Principle #1: Calmness
Conviction & Energy
The business does not exactly lend itself to calmness on a regular basis and certainly not from an advisor’s standpoint. Discussing a person’s financial future and whether or not they’ll have enough money to retire can be stressful for all parties involved. Yet some advisors, regardless of circumstances, are able to maintain a calmness that immediately puts their client or prospect at ease. How do they do it?
I believe there is a direct correlation between calmness and conviction. You must develop a steadfast conviction in who you are, what you do and what you charge for the services you provide. All too often, when trying to acquire assets, I see advisors approach clients and prospects as if they’re the ones asking for a favor. This is a mindset that must change in order to maintain calmness and become a natural “Asset Whisperer.”
Always remember, it is you doing the favor of preparing clients for the biggest transition of their lives. If you think about it, retirement is a more significant transition than starting school, getting married or even having children.
It’s a transition to a period that for most people may be the longest of their lives, and for many clients, it may be the scariest as well. Besides the emotional and psychological aspects of transitioning into retirement, they must face the stark reality that the money they’ve accumulated has to last them for the rest of their lives!
When your mindset changes to one of importance and purpose with the power to change people’s lives, your activity levels tend to rise. Think about how you feel when you have a day that is filled with meaningful activity. As activity rises, so does conviction and conviction sells! As your conviction builds, your energy changes.
People, just like dogs, often respond to a person’s energy more than the words actually spoken. Consider for a moment the difference in perceived energy from an advisor who feels like he’s asking for a favor, as opposed to the energy you feel from advisors who have complete and total conviction in who they are, what they do and what they charge. When your mindset changes, the energy others perceive when they’re around you changes.
Pipeline & Process
Building a decent pipeline and having a systematic drip process that you follow consistently no matter what’s going on around you, will move you closer to calm as well. When you have these two elements in place, you’re much less likely to become emotionally attached to any one particular prospect. It then becomes not a question of if, but when you’ll land them as a client.
I talk to advisors all day, every day, and you’d be surprised at how few have a pipeline of more than a handful of people. Build your pipeline on a consistent basis and do not stop when you happen to land a couple of big clients.
Another important key to consistently building your pipeline is to start with what you already have. The ability to leverage your existing book for more assets, referrals and revenue begins and ends with a structured client contact system that you implement consistently. Do you have one?
Analytical vs. Emotional Reactions
Another tip for remaining calm is work to experience your successes from an emotional basis and your perceived failures or set-backs from a strictly analytical basis. Allow yourself a brief initial reaction to setbacks and obstacles. Then immediately switch into solution-oriented mode and keep the emotions out of it. With a little practice, this simple technique is powerful in bringing you closer to that calm energy both you and your clients want and need.
Principle #2: Assertiveness
The Cost of Doing Business with You
Let’s face it. Given a choice, most people would prefer not to have to make financial decisions. That’s why they have you. As an advisor, you need to be not aggressive, but assertive. There is a distinct difference. You need to be assertive and have conviction about your fees.
One of the best ways to develop conviction and assertiveness about your fees is to have them in written form with breakpoints to show the client. Another tip is never use the “F” word. Instead of “fee,” use the phrase, “this is the cost of doing business with me.”
You’ll feel more professional and the client won’t feel the sting of the “fee” word. Include specific breakpoints in your written fee schedule and stick to them! If the client asks for a discount, show them the breakpoint they have to reach to get it. It’s amazing how many times money miraculously appears when there’s a breakpoint involved!
Assertiveness is actually a basic fundamental rule of sales. Never give the client 4-5 choices. Remember, given a choice, people prefer not make a decision.
Have your top two proposals ready to go. Present what you feel is best for them. Then always use the assumptive close. “So what do you think?” is not a close. Instead of “what do you think,” smoothly move onto “so all we need is a couple of signatures and we can get started.”
If they not ready, they’ll tell you. Restate their objectives, ask what their concerns are and answer their objections. Continue to ask about their concerns until they run out of them. Then use your assumptive close again. If for some reason they’re adamantly opposed to your first idea, mention you have one other alternative that may work for them and repeat the process.
When it comes right down to it, people want you to make the financial decisions. That’s what they pay you for. Handle as much of the decision-making process as you can by limiting their choices to the ones you have the most conviction on. Remember, conviction always sells!
Principle #3: Be the Pack Leader
If you can lead your clients and prospects with a calm assertiveness, sell with conviction and never forget the assumptive close then you are the pack leader. You’re leading your pack of clients through what can be the markets’ treacherous landscape and to their ultimate success.
A pack leader never projects emotional, nervous energy. When you’re a true pack leader, you use calm assertive energy to influence how the clients in your pack react to you, your assistant, other team members, market volatility, their plan and their performance. Once you establish yourself as your clients’ pack leader, your role as “Asset Whisperer” is a natural one. You become the advisor that they believe in, trust and feel comfortable giving their assets to.
To quote Cesar, “This is what distinguishes the true pack leader from the rest. They are honest. They are real. They accept. They are in touch. They are present. They are respectful. They are balanced. And, they know their pack.”
Aren’t these the very same characteristics that separate a successful advisor and natural “Asset Whisperer” from the rest?
To become a better “Asset Whisperer”, it helps to be a better “Referral Whisperer.” Learn how in our FREE Referral System Action Plan. Advisors around the country are already using it to build a “repeatable” Referral System for their business that’s easy enough and comfortable enough (yes, I did say comfortable enough) that they actually use it consistently.