On April 13, 2008, Dateline NBC aired a special report titled “Tricks of the Trade.” Based on the popular “To Catch a Predator” series, the episode set up a sting operation with a biased motive — to entrap and document annuity advisors giving out unsuitable advice to seniors.
Let’s face it, for years the mainstream media has targeted advisors who do the wrong thing, particularly those who treat seniors and their nest eggs improperly. But having Dateline NBC air a show on bad-apple advisors, well, that put a big bulls-eye on the back of everyone selling “safe” products.
But, like many advisors, he watched, at least some of it. He felt an obligation and a curiosity about what might transpire. At the time, Lee was really getting his feet wet in the industry and that’s not the type of exposure you want for your business. But the telecast had a lasting effect on how he viewed his practice and profession.
At the time, he was just growing his business and some of his clients had questions regarding the show. Lee says he met the questions head on. He talked in detail about what happened to the families in the show, why it happened, and why it wouldn’t happen with his clients.
When he began his practice, he took time, lots of time, in the planning phase of how he wanted to shepherd prospects through the process of becoming clients. “When someone steps in our office for the first time there is a breakout of tasks from that initial introduction all the way to when someone becomes a ‘family’ we represent.” (Lee refers to all of his clients as family, a term he’s doggedly stubborn to stray from.)
He says he set up the processes so nothing falls through the cracks. If he says he’ll contact someone in four weeks, it’s in his system and the contact takes place.
By then, both sides know if they’re going to like each other and can work together, according to Lee. He wants to thoroughly evaluate the situation, too. Who knows, he might find that the account is healthy. “If so, I tell them ‘you don’t need me.’ If there are issues, then let’s work through it together.”
Once Lee and a “family” move forward he walks them through every step. “I tell them, don’t take my word for it. I want you to look at these documents and let’s get on the same page.”