Half advice isn’t a thing – ask Roger Moore
With Lifestyle Financial Planning, there’s no such thing as half advice. Not sure what I mean? Let’s take a look at the ‘semi, self-investor’.
What’s a ‘semi, self-investor’?
If you come across one of these, you’ll recognise them straight away. These are the people who turn up and say, “I don’t actually need any financial advice, I just need a question answering….”
They thrust some paperwork in front of you – their ideas of an investment strategy that they’re considering – and they want you to validate that it’s a good idea.
They don’t want to actually pay for financial advice. Instead, they are probably planning to do it all themselves at home, but haven’t had the guts to actually implement it – so they’ve brought it to you to ask for a second opinion. Validation for free!
Just think about it.
Imagine you went to the hairdresser with a photo of a style that you’d like to try. You sit in the chair, pull out the photo and show it to the barber. The barber looks at it and says, “yes, that looks okay. Would you like me to cut your hair like that?” And you then reply with, “oh no. I don’t want you to actually cut it. I’m going to do it myself, at home. I just wanted to know if you thought it would be a nice style on me.”
A barber would probably bounce you out of the shop.
But in financial planning terms, we need to be a little more tactful and elegant. So, semi, self-investors need to be dealt with in a very specific way. I like to think of it as 3 different levels of action, depending on how persistent they are.
3 ways to deal with a semi, self-investor
Level One – don’t give any validation. When they hand a document over to you, (pointing at all the bits they’d like you to look at), take it from them, don’t look at it or engage with them, and place it to the side. This reinforces the fact that you need to have a conversation with them, and the document isn’t part of that conversation. We’ve put it to the side because it isn’t important. And then you might say, “can I walk you through my process so I can show you what a great outcome will look like for you? We can decide if this [document] a good fit to help you achieve that outcome.”
Level two – the Roger Moore raised eyebrow. Sometimes, they come at you with more ammunition – another statement or investment idea. We need to upgrade our response by doing something. We need to do the Roger Moore. As they hand you the document, raise your eyebrow and place the document to the side. This is just enough to sow a bit of doubt in their mind. Having seen your raised eyebrow, they might now be a little more receptive to what you are saying because they get the sense that you might be able to help.
Level three – the Boris Karloff. If that doesn’t work, and you feel like you have to go a bit more nuclear, then you’ll have to do what I call the ‘Boris Karloff’. When they hand you the paper or document, glance at it with a look of horror and place it to the side. Then refer to your whiteboard and say, “I really need to talk to you about this.” Hopefully they will then get the message and you’ll be able to get them fully engaged.
Remember, don’t validate
The point is, you mustn’t validate their document. It’s really important to put it to one side so that you can get your client to focus on the important work of Lifestyle Financial Planning. It’s the only way we can do it.
So don’t forget, no matter how much the client wants it, there’s no such thing as half advice.
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