Someone or something is trying to send me a message. A few weeks ago, we had an internal training session about how telling stories can send a powerful message. Just a few days ago, I was having coffee with a friend of mine. He was holding a recent copy of Sports Illustrated and was skimming through a piece written on Vince Scully, the famous announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This story was all about how Vince has been connecting with his audience over the last 60+ years. And how does he connect with his listeners? Through stories….
Recently, I was working with a client by the name of “Ellen Ellison.” As soon as I greeted her in the lobby, I could tell that something was weighing on her. We sat down, exchanged normal pleasantries, then I posed the question “What’s on your mind?” She had been dealing with some health concerns for the first time in her life. She was usually very healthy and had been a great steward of her health. But now, her body was not cooperating and this was really upsetting everything else in her life. She forgot to pay a utility bill (which was unusual), her furnace broke down (an event that catches most of us off guard) and one of her kids was having some personal struggles as well. Add all of these up and she was feeling very vulnerable. The problem that she was really struggling with was this intense feeling of “Will I be okay?”
Since we had been working with her for many years, we knew her entire financial picture. We took a step back and reviewed all of her income sources, expenses and assets. We were able to begin putting some of her concern to rest by reassuring her that “she was going to be okay” from a financial standpoint and that we had built many safeguards into her plan to prepare for the unforeseen events we all have in our financial lives. But, we did not just tell her that she was going to be okay. We walked her through why she was going to be okay and we allowed her the opportunity to remind herself how well she had planned her finances. Knowing her story allowed us to help her in a much more meaningful way.
Many times in my profession, we are looking for silver bullet strategies to grab the attention of our clients and prospects. But what I have learned is rarely do I connect with a client because of a home run recommendation or a super-sophisticated planning technique. The relationship building and the connection moments are much more subtle, but rarely do they go unnoticed. “What are your kids up to?” “How was your recent trip to Florida?” “I see that you have not yet completed this one recommendation, is there anything that I could to assist?” “Can you tell me more about that issue that you are struggling with?”
So often, it is not the obvious that we struggle with. As humans, we get stuck in the complexities of life. We all do it and fall victim to getting caught in the weeds. Financial matters can be difficult to discuss for many reasons, but overcoming these hurdles can be so rewarding (for our clients as well as for us as advisors). And once one issue has been addressed and completed, the next issue seems much easier to assess and to tackle.
They say that things come in three’s. For now, I will continue to share some of my stories since I have been reminded again how powerful stories can be in delivering a message!
If any of this resonates with you and you would like to learn more about Legacy Trust, we would certainly love to hear your story as well.