Volume 9, Issue 2
The Wealth Counselor
Three Simple Ways to Sell Complex Solutions
When it comes to financial and wealth planning issues, more often than not, people go to a professional they trust. They may be working with a financial planner, CPA, agent, or banker, but when trust and estate concerns arise, clients need their trusted advisor to listen to their needs and to explain things clearly. Trust and estate concerns are often technical issues, and this can lead to three common mistakes on the part of the professional:
1) Using terminology that is too technical
Here are three winning techniques to help deliver information and communicate more effectively.
1. Plain language
For example: advisors know the differences between a taxable retirement instrument and an IRA, but explaining the strategy of using a retirement trust can lose the client in a heartbeat. However, when the same concept is explained in simple terms, the client will listen and understand. To illustrate: consider a discussion with a client on how to protect the heir from him or herself.
“If the funds are in a properly managed qualified trust structure, your son will avoid big income tax bills and have a protected asset that provides income for years to come. If the funds are in an IRA, your son could cash it out right away, pay a huge tax penalty and then spend the funds, depleting his inheritance immediately.”
This simple explanation illustrates the benefits that are readily understandable without ever mentioning any jargon or acronyms.
When in the office, practitioners can use whiteboards and markers to draw diagrams and charts, to better illustrate a complex point. This personal attention and focus will appeal to clients. They can see the solution unfolding visually in their own terms; people buy benefits they understand. They don’t really care about the technical features or abstract concepts; they want to understand the value it brings to them specifically.
Also, assess the type of client and use specific language that resonates with them. You might use different language when speaking to an engineer compared to a small business owner or a corporate executive.
Sometimes a client can tell you what exactly what is needed, but, more frequently, clients don’t know what they don’t know. A practitioner can develop a guided Q&A structure to identify potential problems and hidden risks. With a complete inventory, the practitioner can explain the possible solutions. Your ability to listen compassionately to their needs first and then effectively outline strategies that will meet those needs will lead to client satisfaction. Clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
3. Connection to Value
Collaboration Is the Key
Like a sports team, every player in the client’s financial life has a specific role to play. When they do it well, it results in a formidable winning combination. When the issues a client has are identified and understood, non-attorney practitioners can help the client take the first step in an estate planning strategy.
What is important to a client is important to you. By helping educate and create informed consumers, clients are better able to understand their needs, solutions, and the value received. Each practitioner on the team (e.g., the financial advisor and the estate planning attorney) can provide specific and understandable guidance.
We gratefully acknowledge the content provided by Kevin Forbush, Attorney at Law, Forbush Legal Offices, P.C., Colorado Springs, CO.
Law Offices of J.R. Hastings • 1003 Third Street, San Rafael, California 94901 • 415-450-6692