Your editor’s note in the July 2004 issue, entitled “Location, Location,” pointed to an issue that is so subtle, most don’t even realize it’s an issue. “Professionals” don’t sell because they don’t know what selling is. Selling, when done by a master, is “the asking of appropriate questions so that the prospect sees the solutions for themselves.” If professionals want to educate their clients and find that a worthy goal, they must learn to be master salespeople. It’s the extreme power of inquiry that allows another human being to discover solutions on their own–solutions that without the professional’s questioning would remain hidden from view. Our clients won’t learn much from our telling them things (Americans don’t like to be told), but when we use the power of an appropriate question, we have the power to turn on floodlights of understanding. The issue I address is mirrored in Mark Tibergien’s July column regarding the lack of CPAs’ success in financial services. The root of this is CPAs’ inability to truly sell. They have no knowledge of the powerful emotional questions to ask so that their prospects see a new opening for action. Marketing and sales create value for all when done by a true professional–and, like anything, get tainted when done by a hack.
True selling can be taught to anyone in 30 minutes–but they first need to overcome their narrow-minded position that “I don’t sell.”
Walnut Creek, California
What Your Peers Are Reading
Let me see if I understand Mark Kritzman’s case for optimizers (“Optimizing Optimizers,” July Gluck Report). Regarding his approach to inputs, Kritzman says his approach is based on “theory and history.” He goes on to explain his return predictions: “I estimate the returns of the individual asset classes. . . . Then I estimate a premium for the broad market. . . . I assume in all of this that the market is perfectly integrated, that everything is fairly priced, that equilibrium prevails.” Geez, there’s an awful lot of theory, history, estimating, and assuming going on here. Optimizers provide a framework for your starting point in building an asset allocation, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on the accuracy of the results.
Evergreen Wealth Management
La Jolla, California
In Praise of Simplicity
Great job by Dan Wheeler in August describing an investment in the Wilshire 5000 Index (“Problem Solvers”). For the domestic equity portion of a diversified portfolio, this is it for many clients. There is elegance in its simplicity that clients will appreciate if trained–yes, trained–properly.