HomeFinancial PlanningShowing Your Value To Prospects If Everything Is Going Well

Showing Your Value To Prospects If Everything Is Going Well

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Executive Summary

When financial advisors seek new clients, their outreach efforts can often lead to prospective clients approaching them because of a specific issue on their mind that they would like the advisor to address. In these instances, the advisor may start the discussion simply with the intention of better understanding the client’s problem. But sometimes, when the advisor meets a potential prospect (perhaps at a party or other social engagement) who doesn’t appear to have any immediately discernable ‘problems’, the conversation to convince the prospect that the advisor has value to offer, especially when markets are up and everything else appears to be going well, can be more complex.

In our 88th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss how advisors can connect with prospects who believe their financial lives are going well. As while it is easier for an advisor to attract prospects who are already aware that they need assistance (e.g., offering investment management to a prospect whose portfolio has underperformed the market), it can be much more difficult to attract prospects who don’t recognize that there are any problems to solve in the first place.

As a starting point, it is important to recognize that a successful connection between a prospect and advisor requires two things: 1) the prospect must recognize they have an issue that needs to be solved; and 2) they must believe the advisor has a solution to their problem. As while most financial advisors have a wide range of services to offer, people rarely have a ‘comprehensive financial planning’ problem. Therefore, an advisor can help prospects identify gaps and areas of weakness, and then show that they have a solution to the specific issue, whether it is portfolio management, retirement planning for a specific career, handling life transitions, or another area.

This situation also demonstrates the value for advisors of serving a particular niche, solving problems for a specific group of people. By being clear about the services they can offer for a specific type of client, advisors can better attract prospects who have issues that match the advisor’s specialty and save time by engaging with fewer prospects who would not be a good fit.

Ultimately, the key point is that an advisor has to offer relevance to prospects in order to convert them into clients. Which means that helping prospects recognize that they have a problem in the first place, by using language that relates to them so they can self-identify with the stated problems, is an important step to connecting with prospects. And identifying specific problems, recognized and understood by both the advisor and the prospect, allows the advisor to build the relationship by explaining how they will help their new client solve their problems!

Authors:

Michael Kitces

Michael Kitces

Team Kitces

Michael Kitces is Head of Planning Strategy at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, a turnkey wealth management services provider supporting thousands of independent financial advisors.

In addition, he is a co-founder of the XY Planning Network, AdvicePay, fpPathfinder, and New Planner Recruiting, the former Practitioner Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning, the host of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, and the publisher of the popular financial planning industry blog Nerd’s Eye View through his website Kitces.com, dedicated to advancing knowledge in financial planning. In 2010, Michael was recognized with one of the FPA’s “Heart of Financial Planning” awards for his dedication and work in advancing the profession.

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Carl Richards

Carl Richards

Guest Contributor

Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner™ and creator of the Sketch Guy column, appearing weekly in the New York Times since 2010.

Carl has also been featured on Marketplace Money, Oprah.com, and Forbes.com. In addition, Carl has become a frequent keynote speaker at financial planning conferences and visual learning events around the world.

Through his simple sketches, Carl makes complex financial concepts easy to understand. His sketches also serve as the foundation for his two books, The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money and The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money (Portfolio/Penguin).

 

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***Editor’s Note: Can’t get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we’ve released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.

Show Notes

Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript

Michael: Good afternoon, Carl.

Carl: Greetings, Michael. How are you?

Michael: I’m doing well. I’m doing well. I’m a little bit bummed though, that I’m just seeing…for those of you who are listening in audio, Carl is standing against a relatively neutral background. And written over his shoulder, in what I will give him credit for is beautiful Kitces blue ink, is just a little script that says, “Imagine a blue couch here” because there’s no couch. There’s no blue couch today. There’s just a scrawling that says, “Imagine a blue couch here”.

Carl: I’m actually slightly embarrassed by the amount of time I spend thinking about how to troll you with the blue couch. It’s actually so enjoyable. This is just the latest effort.

Michael: Well, so our timing is interesting. This is technically being recorded just before the Jolt conference. This won’t actually go live out to the world until a few weeks thereafter, but I know you’ve got an event coming up, a marketing conference and the blue couch is going with you to the conference. So by the time everyone’s hearing this, they should be able to go to your Twitter tag and see you trolling me on Twitter with pictures of the couch at the conference.

Carl: Exactly right. I believe, I can’t confirm or deny this, but I believe there’s going to be a giant cutout of you there with the blue couch.

Michael: Oh my. Well, I would expect nothing less from Robert, Sophia, and the Snappy Kraken team.

Carl: So it’s the blue couch’s first speaking engagement. We’re really excited about it.

Michael: Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, I hope the blue couch will do well enough in the speaking engagement to get a sibling out of this because I have to imagine your wife is not thrilled that what is technically her blue couch has now been like absconded into a financial advisor meme unto itself.

Carl: Yeah. For those who don’t know the background, my wife bought this couch in New Zealand. I couldn’t believe when we went to move to London, I was like, we’re not going to move a couch. It’s a little two-seater couch and this couch has a name. I don’t know anything about this stuff but apparently, there is furniture that has names and it’s the name of the designer, and my wife’s an interior designer. She’s like, “Oh yeah, we’re moving the couch to London”.

So we move it to London, eyes rolled, the whole thing. Gets to London, then we move it home to the U.S. And then of course it starts showing up on webinars and Zoom things and everybody starts commenting on it. And my wife is just like, “I told you about the blue couch”. So now she’s made me commit to, she’s gotta get a new…she’s like, “After 500 financial people sit on my couch…” I shouldn’t say it that way. “After 500 of anybody sits on my couch, I’m getting a new one”. So anyway, that’s the whole blue couch story for those of you who don’t know.

Michael: Fantastic. So we’ll see the blue couch at Snappy Kraken’s Jolt conference and online. I don’t know, someday it’s going to get its own Twitter account, I’m assuming. So fantastic.

Meeting Prospects Whose Financial Lives Are Going Well [03:15]

So Carl, for our discussion today, I wanted to follow a little bit on the theme from our last episode. We were talking a little bit out just these dynamics we’re trying to balance, the advice we know we want to give to help clients with the fact, at least as I think of it, like you still gotta just meet them where they actually are. They won’t always do exactly what you would like to see them do.

At the end of the day, clients are going to do what clients are going to do. Hopefully, with our advice, we get a little opportunity to shape that. And so, a lot of that discussion was in the context of client, client, client. We were already working with them.

We had a good question that had come in though of an advisor who had sort of raised this earlier on. Most of us still at the end of the day are tied in some way, shape, or form to portfolios. And so, to me, one of the most fundamental versions of this challenge is just…markets generally have been good for pretty much better part of 10 years, minus a couple of hiccups that have generally recovered very quickly.

So, we’re deep into a bull market and I find we’ve reached that point that’s challenging for so many of us in the bull market. How do you get clients on board with “I’ll work with you and manage your retirement assets” when the market has done so well? Or I guess is even more generally, how do you convince people of your value when everything’s already going well in their lives?

Because I think it’s a great framing of both sort of the portfolio-specific to mean, like, how do you gather assets under management in a bull market? But I think there’s even a broader piece to it as well, which is just how do you convince people of the value of financial advice when everything’s already going well in their lives?

Carl: This is such a great question. Give us a little bit more context just so we can keep the conversation a little narrow. Why did they come to meet with you then?

Michael: Well, I think it’s a good question. And when I was thinking about this, to me just it almost immediately broke into, I guess, two subcategories. They’ve come to meet me and I’ve met them. So one of them is someone did an outreach, they scheduled a meeting. I don’t know if it’s Zoom or it’s in my office, but they came to see me.

And then I think there was a second version of this. It wasn’t really asked specifically, but I think it’s maybe even the better one because the harder one to explore, which is they didn’t come to you, you’re out there in the world. Just, as we had on another episode recently, what do you do? I’m a financial planner. Just how do I start this conversation of, “I give people advice that’s meaningful and valuable, and I’m trying to figure out how to make you realize that because it seems like everything’s going well in your world?”

So I guess I would say let’s probably focus it a little bit more there, only because we’ve talked in the past, if they’ve come to your office, if you’re that far, something’s going on already. They’re not happy with their results or they’re not happy with something else or something else is going on their lives.

They scheduled the appointment for a reason, and so, I find by the time they’re in my office, 90% of the key to overcoming this objection is just actually getting to the root issue of why on earth did you schedule this meeting and come to my office? If I could get that figured out, I probably have figured out where my value opportunity is.

So I think let’s keep this in the context of they haven’t scheduled with us, we’re being financial advisors out in the world, we want to be able to show some of our value in what we do. Maybe it’s a loose conversation. Maybe it’s a, “Oh, you’re a financial planner”. It’s, I said I was a financial planner and they didn’t run away. They didn’t take three steps back, they’ve engaged with the conversation. I’m now trying to talk about what I do in a way that conveys value. Particularly, when a big piece of it is assets under management. How do you get into these conversations?

Carl: Yeah. If it would be okay, I think listening to you talk about it, I think there’s two things. One, this first one you’ve teed up. And then the second one, let’s just maybe talk about the idea that somebody had a financial advice question, and I’m thinking more like a planning question. Want to send our kids to school, we got a tax issue, whatever. It wasn’t asset. It wasn’t related to how their investment portfolio.

They came to see you about that, and you bring up the discussion like, “Hey, let’s talk about the portfolio”. “Oh, no, no, no”. All that’s fine. I’d love to talk about that too because I think that’s an important conversation, but how do you do it when you just bump in the world because of course everybody’s just like, well geez, you say I’m a financial advisor. If they don’t think insurance, they think investments and they immediately think I got it. Everything’s good.

So I really, like, look, I mean, we could talk about some of the kind of, nefarious isn’t the right word, but some of the like icky ways that we’ve seen that handled in the traditional kind of sales industry. The first thing I feel when I hear you talk about that is just this reality.

And I can’t believe how long I tried to come up with the magic words around that conversation. And it turns out that to me, the reality is two things have to happen in order for a perspective client or somebody that you’re talking to be interested in what you do for themselves. And the two things are, they have to, A, know they have a problem. And I’m using that word problem just like something to be solved, they have a problem. And, B, they have to believe you have the solution.

And when you understand that, what happens traditionally, what we see happen and this is just sort of marketing is, and you see this in our industry a lot. Industry speaking broadly. Probably not most of the people listening to this, as part of whatever we want to call it, a profession. But the industry speaking broadly, you see a lot of the marketing in our industry is around teaching people they have a problem.

If we were thinking about the medical industry and we were using that analogy, we could say, they have to know that they’re sick and they have to believe that you’re the doctor. And there’s a lot of marketing in our industry around teaching people they’re sick.

Michael: That’s why we do a gap analysis of everything. It’s literally built to demonstrate that you have a shortfall in something for which I have the solution to plug in.

Carl: Yeah. And that problem is it gets close to the way we use complexity sometimes. That’s really close to digging a pit, throwing the prospect into it and looking down and saying, “I’m the only one with a rope”. And that can be obviously because we’re as an industry, we’re still doing it so it must be effective, but I don’t think for this audience, it’s the way we want to build. It’s certainly not the way we want to start a relationship.

Michael: So well, so a few things come to mind to me. First, just I love how you frame this, and to me, it’s just so profound. It’s easy to gloss over, and I want to take a moment and pause on it. This only works if they have a problem and they believe you have a solution. And just the very piece that, they have a problem. It has to start that they have a problem.

And, I mean, to me just like the most striking thing of this original question that came in, how do you convince people of your value when everything is going well in their lives? And frankly, there’s a piece I want to say, maybe we don’t have value at that point.

I can, as you said, I can probably come up with some things that are going to be problems with them, dig a hole for them, and then offer them a rope to get them out of the hole that I just dug for them. But if you want to take this at least as literally as it frames for us, how do you convince people as a problem fixer of your value when they don’t have any problems to fix?

The answer is maybe you don’t. It’s okay. Just now, my rational efficiency brain kicks in. I’m like, then if this was a prospecting conversation, just wind it down as quickly as you can and find someone else who’s better to talk to. Not every human being you meet on the street is going to be a prospect even if they happen to have enough financial wherewithal to meet your investment minimums.

Carl: Yeah. Look, I think that’s where I land too and there’s some more to talk about, but I think if you think, both of those things have to happen simultaneously in order for that to be a good idea. In order for that to move forward, they have to believe they have to know that they have a problem, and they have to believe that you have the solution. You can run around talking about…that’s why we say, no one cares about your solutions. They care about their problems.

So we can run around talking about solutions all day long, but if I don’t have that problem, I don’t really care. And if I have a problem and I don’t believe you have the solution, then that doesn’t help either.

How To Broaden The Conversation With Prospects [12:33]

So I think there’s two ways to think about it. One is, to me at a like broader marketing approach, I would prefer… And I want to just pinpoint something that we can circle back to. They don’t have a performance problem right now, so any kind of…

Michael: Well, or you say, unless they do, in which case they have a problem and they know how their problem… Market’s been bull, but I’ve managed to pick every stock that still goes down. Cool, then that’s probably going to surface. They got a problem, and it’s going to come up.

Carl: But in the scenario we’re painting, things are going well. And so, they don’t have a performance problem. So any attempt on the performance side indeed feels like you’re trying to dig a pit. I remember taking portfolios. Obviously, you can take any portfolio and with the benefit of hindsight do better. With my “second opinion” analysis, I can say, “Oh, did you know that if we just leveraged your portfolio up two times, you would’ve made twice”?

We can play those games, and I’ve seen plenty of those games in the institutional space and we all have, but they don’t have a performance problem. So there may be another problem which is the portfolio, although performance may be going well, the portfolio may not match at all what your goals are.

And there’s some conversations we might be able to have around that, which I want to get to in a minute, but one thing I just want to really put a fine point on is instead of our marketing, your personal marketing that’s going out one to many being around trying to point out the problems, I just like the idea of being consistent and frequent enough that when life delivers the problems…and I don’t love that phrase, it looks like we’re waiting for people to have problems. I just mean life, those things show up. Something changes in their lives. The market, in this case, we’re talking specifically about investments, something changes there, whatever, something shows up in their lives.

How many phone calls have you all gotten when clients go to take their first international trip with multiple kids that they’re leaving at home, and they suddenly realize…ask any estate attorney, the call comes often when, “Oh, geez. I realize that we don’t have documents”.

Michael: We’re going to Africa in two weeks and our kids are staying home. We don’t have a will. We probably should get that taken care of now.

Carl: Look, the attorney who’s their next-door neighbor could have told them 5,000 times that they need to do that. But until they realized they were leaving to Africa, it wasn’t going to matter. They didn’t have a problem until they realized there was a problem.

So I think that framing is important, but let’s talk about…because it seems rather hopeless, what are some conversations you can have? I think the only hope you have, at least the only hope I see, look, I was really good in the institutional space early on in my career. I felt like I could dig a hole with anybody, you know what I mean, but it wasn’t fun and it didn’t start relationships the right way.

And so, I think the only way to have that relationship is to be able to have some conversation. Almost sort of like, yeah, yeah, yeah, your portfolio’s doing awesome. And good, I’m happy for you, that’s great. That line of thinking. The question is, and I always love this question, I used to ask it on airplanes just for fun, why is your money…I know it’s doing well, but why is your money invested the way it is? It’s one of my favorite questions because you never…

Michael: Why is your money invested the way it is?

Carl: Why is it invested? Just why? Okay, great. It’s doing well, I got it, but why is that important to you that it’s doing well? Why is it invested the way it is?

Now, again, in bull markets, the answer we often get is like I read about it in CNBC or the secret people whisper really quietly and say, “I read about it in the Economist”, my neighbor told me, but the answer we never get is, well, this portfolio was designed intentionally to help me meet my goals. You never get that answer, and that’s the only answer that really matters.

So that may open up a conversation about a different problem. It’s like a diagnosis problem that was never diagnosed. The medicine’s been awesome, but it’s fixing the wrong problem. But, again, it feels like a game I would engage in of chess rather than like this is my whole hope of building a business. Do you know what I mean? It’s just a fun conversation to try and have. Yeah, what do you think?

Taking A Marketing Vs Sales Approach [17:35]

Michael: So I have to admit, I come at this from a very different angle. So when I think of it at a high level, most of us, our value proposition I find work works basically one of two ways. I do this thing, do you need it? Or I do lots of things, let me try to figure out what you need.

Carl: Interesting.

Michael: Now the way this question was framed up, “I deliver discretionary portfolio management and, it’s hard to convince people of their value in the middle of a bull market of doing that”. So as I view it, that’s I do this thing, I’m trying to find people who need it.

So the sales-oriented approach to me goes in the direction that you are articulating, which is I’m going to try to help you discover a problem you didn’t even know you had, and then when you get down that hole for a while, I’m going to throw you a rope to get you out. And, I’m not trying to be negative on the approach, I like the way that you framed it, but at the end of the day, it’s they were happy with their portfolio, so you gave them an adjacent problem, which is but is your portfolio really aligned to your goals? Why is your money invested the way it is? And, hopefully, by the end of that conversation, they’re going to realize I got a great portfolio, but it’s completely not aligned to what I should be doing, so maybe I do need to work with you, after all, to figure that out.

So I do this thing, do you need it? You didn’t, so I kind of found something nearby and I brought you in. And I guess it’s just sort of like a philosophy thing. I approach this wearing a marketing hat and not a sales hat. And my marketing hat says, if this is what I did, here’s why I would go around saying, “You know what we do? We fix broken portfolios”.

If you just introduce yourself that way, “I’m a financial advisor, I fix broken portfolios”, one of two things are going to happen. Someone’s going to say, “Well, sounds rough. I’m glad my portfolio’s not broken”. Cool, have a nice life. Then they go talk to someone else. Or they’re going to say, “Oh yeah, you should see mine. It’s a mess”. Really? Tell me about that.

So, to me, the whole goal would be, I just want to put myself in a position where I’m only having conversations with people who have problems. And if I just lead with, “We fix broken portfolios”, the next sentence out of that person’s mouth, I’m going to know whether this is a constructive conversation to have. And if it is, we’re going to have that conversation because now a problem has already been articulated and I’ve said I have the solution. If they respond, they have the problem, so we’re going to start going down this road.

And if they don’t have that problem, I don’t try to find out. Just it’s my style, it’s my approach. I don’t try to find a problem for them. I try to move on and find a person who has the problem.

Carl: No, I totally agree. I think that point is that life will deliver the problem. And, hopefully, my marketing efforts have put me in a situation where when that problem shows up, you’ll think of me first because I’ve been showing up in your mailbox for every week throughout the year.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, that to me, that’s the marketing approach. Well, I’d love to add you to our mailing list as we talk about solutions to bail out broken portfolios. So glad you’re where you are right now but would we send you…

Carl: Someday, yours will be broken.

Michael: We send some stuff from time to time and if you ever find yourself in a place where it’s broken, maybe we can be helpful. And great, then I’m going to put you on my drip marketing list, and then we’re going to move on.

And at some point in the future, either you’ll have a problem, your portfolio will break and you’ll call me because we fix broken portfolios, or your portfolio won’t break. In which case, I’ll never hear from you. And it’s okay because all I was doing was sending you one more email on top of the list of however many other people are on my mailing list, which costs me absolutely no incremental time or effort at all because I’m already sending it out to everyone.

But to me, there’s just there’s a philosophy difference, and it strikes me because when I started in the industry, I was trained how to approach this like a salesperson, not a marketer. And I’m not trying to use that in a pejorative negative sense about salesperson at all, but just sales to me often has this framing around like I’m trying to persuade someone to do business with me. And, to me, good marketing only brings in people who have that problem they want solved in the first place.

Or at least if I’m going to show them they have a problem, I’d rather show them that the problem with the marketing approach that reaches a whole bunch of people at once and then still get to the point where the only people who call me are the ones who’ve already identified with us. So my conversations are always maximally focused.

And so to me, the sales approach is how do you overcome the objection to “my portfolios doing great right now”? And the marketing approach is just to say, “We fix broken portfolios” and in five seconds you’re either going to have a prospect or you’re going to move on. And, that’s a good efficient use of time if you’re out there prospecting as implicitly as this person is in trying to find people that they might do business with.

Carl: Which I agree, and I think that circles all the way back to the answer to the question is you don’t. How do I convince someone? One approach to this would be you don’t, right? You build your system around finding the people who self-identify with that. And again, this isn’t just about investments, by the way, we had this whole conversation about niche marketing, right?

Michael: We’re 23 minutes in before he got there. That was a long time for the drinking game this time.

Carl: I know, and I used the word niche instead of the appropriate niche.

Michael: I appreciate the…

Carl: No, I’m sorry. I’m talking. Don’t start. I get the last word on niche…

Michael: All right.

Carl: …this time. So, again, we want people to show up and self-identify with. And, again, I think internally it’s really helpful to use the word problem because it just helps us shortcut what we’re talking about, but we’re not really talking out publicly saying you have a problem, but the people identify with the solution that we’re offering but I still… So let me ask you a question because this was just on my mind, what do you think then of the marketing approach that leads with second opinion? Second opinion on your portfolio.

Michael: Well, I like an approach of second opinion on a portfolio because it still gets back to the only people who call for a second opinion on a portfolio are people who have a problem that they’re not confident in the first opinion. Otherwise, they don’t make that call.

Carl: Essentially, we fix broken portfolios. If you’re concerned you may have one, we offer this service. Essentially roughly.

Michael: Yeah. I still view that in the same category because look, people who are happy with their portfolio, don’t call for second opinions. People who are at least concerned that something might be broken and/or are trying to get it fixed and don’t trust the opinion of the person who’s giving them a fix, looks for second opinions.

Carl: Yeah. No, I agree.

Michael: So I think that framing works well. Now the one piece I do want to come back to at least briefly before we wrap up because I had said at the beginning, I sort of think of this because there’s two ways that we do this.

Number one is, I do this thing. Do you need it? And if they have a problem, I have the solution and it matches me. In which case I just want to get out there with my problem solving, get out there with the problem I solve. We fix broken portfolios and seriously some will try it. You’ll be surprised at some of the conversations it opens up.

Carl: Well, I just want to pinpoint that real quick to hold where you are because you literally right now could build an entire marketing campaign. It would 100% just be about numbers and it would be easy, easy, easy. It would be an automated marketing campaign around one concept, we fix broken portfolios.

Michael: Now, the second angle to this is the advisor. It’s not like I do one thing. Do you need it? It’s I do. I do a lot of things because to be fair, that’s where a lot of us are as we increasingly go into this comprehensive financial planning, financial advice world.

And we may or may not ultimately implement that by managing your portfolio as part of what we do because we may run on AUM model, but we’re not necessarily building the core value proposition around I’m going to manage your assets and I have to convince you your portfolio is broken in order to work with you. I may be able to work with you in some of the other areas where you have needs like tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, cash flow, budgeting, just all the different things that we may capture under the financial planning umbrella.

So I guess the one other question that I have for you, Carl, is, so if we’re not trying to keep this quite so narrow to portfolio management. Or look, at the end of the day, we may still run on an AUM model but our lead is not, we fix broken portfolios. Our lead is comprehensive financial planning in all the wonderful gloriousness of, I can fix 52 different problems and I don’t know which one you’ve got. Is there a way that you like to start that conversation or explore that conversation?

And again, this isn’t prospect just coming to meet, this is I’m out and about, I said I’m a financial planner, they didn’t take three steps back. Apparently, the door’s open for me to have some kind of follow-up about what I do and start trying to convince people of value I provide when things are nominally going well in their lives. Is there a way you like to try to open that conversation?

How To Become A “Meaningful Specific” For Prospects [27:51]

Carl: It’s increasingly more and more like my answer to that and especially on a marketing front, but even on a one-to-one conversation, is I don’t really even know how, because at that point you’ve become like Seth Godin calls it, a walking generality instead of a meaningful specific.

And so the easy way to think about that is, let’s say, yeah, you do do all those things, which we all relate to. You don’t love running around being an investment person, then okay…well then how can you be a meaningful specific? Well, we’ve talked about this ad nauseam on this… I don’t even know how to help anybody with marketing anymore unless they solve a very specific problem for a very specific group of people, that’s called niche marketing.

Michael: So you would still come back to that anyway. It’s not about, “I’m a comprehensive financial planner, so I specialize in recent divorcees who are trying to get back onto their feet after a tough divorce”. And so one of three things happens, “I just went through a divorce, we should talk more”; “My friend, family member, or the person over there that I know is going through a tough divorce, you need to talk to him or her right now”; or they’re like, “Cool, it doesn’t impact my life”.

Carl: Where’s the guacamole?

Michael: And we part ways.

Carl: Yeah. I totally because what are your options? Your option is…how many people get excited when you say I’m a comprehensive financial planner, want to talk?

Michael: Yeah.

Carl: Right? Because nobody has a comprehensive financial planning problem. No one wakes up in the morning…

Michael: As I always joke but it’s true. Nobody wakes up at 2:00 a.m. in a cold sweat because they do not have a comprehensive financial plan. It’s not what keeps us up at night.

Carl: It is not. I love that phrase, this is a really helpful question. Just insert whatever it is. Nobody has a comprehensive financial planning problem. Who in the world has a, “I need my taxes done”, problem? Does your problem…can you state your problem in a way where you’re like, “Oh yeah, there are people who have that problem. If they heard about that they would relate”, and then of course we just go down that path. We’ve talked about ad nauseam where we interview those people, we discover the words they use. We restate their problem in their words en masse and tell the people self-identify. And the cleaner, and the clearer, and the more we can become signal among the noise, the faster it will go. Because yeah, so my answer is I don’t think there is a way to do that. I think the way to do it is to move from becoming a walking generality and become a meaningful specific in people’s lives. This is one last word, relevant, right? Relevant. I think noise, signal, there’s so much going on. I want what the words that came out of your mouth, if they’re relevant to me, we’re going to meet. If they’re not, where’s the guacamole?

Michael: Yeah. Well, I guess there’s really three big takeaways to me now. One, they have to have a problem and they have to believe you have the solution. Do you want to be a walking generality or a meaningful specific? And if not, where’s the guacamole? I love guacamole.

Carl: That’s exactly…as soon as I said that I was like, “We have got to use where’s the guacamole?” Come on.

Michael: All right, so… But to be clear, do not get any guacamole on the blue couch.

Carl: That’s for sure. And guac is extra.

Michael: Oh, and guac is extra. All right, because that’s where the value comes in.

Carl: Exactly.

Michael: Awesome. Well, thank you, Carl.

Carl: Super fun, thank you.

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