Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their financial practice. The subject of this month’s article is where I personally have a significant weakness: being sociable.
I am not very good at being sociable. I have a tendency to want to get to the point without chitchat, so I have to slow down and remember to be friendly. Recently, my wife Carol and I sold a piece of property to an extraordinarily friendly couple. In fact, they invited us to dinner the night before closing. Remember, they are buying from us. He is retired, age 72. She is retired, age 54. Since the deal was sealed, I had nothing else to discuss about business, so I just talked over dinner. The conversation was very pleasant. Carol is very sociable and could carry a conversation for hours. They were very open about their lives, telling us especially about their love of animals. They also have a 140-acre farm with five rescued horses. They take four large dogs wherever they go.
During the conversation, out of the blue, they asked what I do for a living. Financial advisor was my answer. Then she said, “Oh, that’s wonderful. We need to talk about our recent inheritance.” The conversation actually exploded from there. They have a large personal estate (millions). She has an inheritance (millions) coming from her mother. He has an estate coming from a 94-year-old father (millions). Best of all, she wants someone to manage everything so that she can rescue animals. I didn’t volunteer my services. She volunteered me. I am a new believer in being friendly. High Type A personalities, like me, have trouble with this. We think business first, pleasure later.
I’m getting better, but I’m still not very good at being extra friendly. However, I have a secret weapon: my wife. She just loves being social. In addition to being very friendly, she reminds me to be friendly. Sometimes she’s a pest. But that’s okay; it’s for my own good.
What happens to your sales process when you take time to be friendly? What conversations do you have if you are not concentrating on business? How does that change the atmosphere?
Here’s another problem with being friendly: it takes time. You have to be willing to invest time in your practice. Not just studying. Not just preparing. Not just doing paperwork, but also taking the time to be friendly.
Prospective clients need nurturing. When they become clients, they need nurturing. People love attention. Being friendly and outgoing for some of us is uncomfortable. However, it is a skill that can be learned. One caution: it must be genuine, not with a sale in mind, but of sincerity. People are attracted to sincere, nice, friendly people.
When I reopened my private practice, I recruited my wife to run our seminar marketing company. She didn’t know what to say to agents about the company’s service. I told her just to be herself, be nice, be friendly. Carol is doing a great job. Our clients like her and respond well. She is trusted not so much for her vast knowledge and experience, but for her sincere, caring attitude.
When you are talking to a prospective client, they will trust you if they like you. Of course, you must be competent in your practice, but that competence will shine if you are a sincerely nice, friendly person.