Posts Tagged ‘Generous Man’
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
The following is based on one of Norm Trainor’s clients, Joel Goodhart.
I asked Joel, “What makes your advisory firm different?” He answered: “Experience”. Joel and his partners, Stuart Leibowitz and Dennis Freedman have 90+ years of experience. It was a good answer, but not the right one.
The right answer is rooted in the values that define how the partners approach their careers.
When I first started coaching Joel Goodhart, he was a Top of the Table Advisor and a peak performer. Yet, like many successful financial advisors, Joel has a burning desire to be the best that he can be and to make a difference in peoples’ lives. His father was a doctor and a generous man. In college, Joel wanted to be a lawyer. His interest in politics led him into financial services. A friend who was involved in politics persuaded him to become a financial advisor.
Even in the early stages of his career, Joel adopted a professional approach to working with prospects and clients. One of the things that attracted Joel to financial services is that he is a born teacher. With his clients, he forms a symbiotic relationship. They want to learn in order to make informed decisions about their financial health and wellbeing and Joel loves to teach. Joel’s goal is to provide each client of the firm with the knowledge and understanding they need in order to make an informed decision. However, Joel and his partners are also students of human nature. They realized that clients often only want the Cliff Notes version when a product or solution is being offered. Compliance wants the complete dictionary description. While clients respect the due diligence involved, they want to enter into a dialogue and make their own decisions.
So, what does this have to do with the question: “What makes you different? We live in an “Experience Economy”. In affluent societies like ours, people have choice. Products have become commoditized. Starbucks is a good example. It had become an iconic brand by changing the “coffee” experience. Joel, Stuart and Dennis realized that their success is based upon creating a different kind of experience for their clients.
Their Mission Statement expresses the essence of the experience they are trying to create:
“We help our clients experience financial security through informed decision making.”
The Mission Statement has evolved into what Joel and his partners call, “the first talk”. Joel highlights the fact that the partners’ combined experience is 90+ years. They have the knowledge and expertise to help their clients make informed financial decisions. Ultimately, the client has to drive the process and feel comfortable with the financial decisions.
That is where the informed decision making comes in. Joel describes the process this way: “Our role is to help clarify the experience the client wants. We are not “hard sell” artists. Our clients typically come to the meetings prepared. They bring their important documents. Sometimes, the documents reveal problems that need to be addressed. For example, a couple who came into our office had a will that had not been updated for 12 years. The will was set up for one child. They now have two.” Joel was able to suggest an attorney who could help to prepare these documents. It is about doing things right.
Another client story illustrates the importance of doing the right things. Joel had an attorney as a client. He was married to an attorney. Joel was introduced to them by another client. They did everything that was asked. Later, they separated. This required a re-working of the financial plans and the implementation of a number of new initiatives. About six months after the divorce, the client called and said he had just inherited $1.2M. Joel now has in excess of $2M of his money. The client is now a partner in a large law firm and an important center of influence. He would not consider making an important financial, career or lifestyle decision without talking to Joel.
The experience of making informed decisions even in a very stressful period of his life created a bond of trust. When you do things right, trust = loyalty. Joel and his partners take the time to educate and coach their clients through the often difficult process of making the right financial decisions. Their clients’ experience of financial security through informed decision making contributes to their firm’s 20% + annual growth. What makes them different is the client’s experience of financial security through informed decision making
Norm Trainor is the founder of The Covenant Group, a company specializing in practice development for advisors. For further information, visit his Web site at www.covenantgroup.com.
Tags: Advisory Firm, Affluent Societies, Born Teacher, Burning Desire, Choice Products, Cliff Notes Version, Due Diligence, Experience Economy, Financial Advisors, Financial Health, Freedman, Generous Man, Good Answer, Health And Wellbeing, Interest In Politics, Leibowitz, Norm Trainor, Peak Performer, Professional Approach, Symbiotic Relationship
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