I ordinarily wouldn’t comment on a particular advertisement, but having just gotten back from the Financial Planning Association’s annual conference and the 2nd annual Life Insurance Sales Mastery Forum, I couldn’t help but be struck by the almost perfect pitch of Charles Schwab’s new “Talk to Chuck” ad.
I say almost perfect pitch because, as we say in New York, “What’s with the Chuck?” For all I know that may be what Charles Schwab’s loved ones and employees do call him, but in all I’ve read about him I can’t remember Chuck appearing.
The reason the ad struck me, however, was how closely it tracked to the current thinking among financial planning and life insurance gurus that was forthcoming at both of these meetings.
The ad is in the form of a letter from Schwab to Dear Investor. (Interestingly, the letter is signed Charles R. Schwab, but in it he refers to himself as Chuck.) It begins:
“In your quest to find someone you can trust with your hard-earned money, your kids’ money or your grandkids’ money, it all comes down to this: Who can you talk to? And who will actually listen?”
You’ll note the use of trust and kids and grandkids. At one point in Stephen Covey’s keynote speech at the FPA meeting, he said, “The highest of costs is low trust.”
But what I find interesting is the listening part. Speakers at both meetings made the point over and over again that advisors need to listen and that listening is a discipline that most of us have to learn. Most of us don’t like to listen, we like to talk (and hear ourselves talk). But not Chuck.
Chuck makes the point that “I’ve built my entire company on listening to people first. Then talking.”