Inspiration often appears in the strangest places. For me, it recently revealed itself at my son’s dentist appointment. In order to cure a watermelon-sized abscess growing from the jaw of my eight-year-old, Dr. Molar decided to pull a tooth. Not just any tooth, mind you, but one that was deeply rooted and very committed to my son’s mouth.
The first thing I worried about was the pain. Not just how painful it was going to be for my son, but how painful it was going to be for me to have to watch Dr. M pull my kid’s tooth. I asked the dentist, “How much is this going to hurt?” To my surprise, he said, “Not at all.” He then pointed to a sign titled “Pain-Free Dentistry.” Skeptically, I said, “Prove it!” and handed him my hysterically screaming child.
It was here that I learned all about this wonderful thing called nitrous oxide. If you live with boys, one thing you know is they all love gas and its fun, accompanying sounds. Instead of making your eyes water, however, this gas makes you happy. So happy, apparently, that you hardly notice the Craftsman needle-nose pliers hanging out of your mouth!
Let me tell you, seeing is believing. While he was getting gassed, I noticed my normally quiet child become quite chatty. He also got very loud: “Wheee! This is great! I feel dizzy!” Having attended many concerts back in my college days, I could empathize.
While my son grooved to The Grateful Dead on his iPod, Dr. M pulled the tooth and my son didn’t even notice . . . “What? You already pulled it out?” he barked. “WOW! Dad, I want all my teeth pulled out here! Yeah, baby!”
If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it. A once horrible type of old-school torture now rendered painless simply by breathing these wonderful fumes. As inspiration poured over me, I could barely contain my excitement over all the possible uses of nitrous oxide in the life of a financial advisor. Think of it . . . “Pain-Free Wealth Management!”
Imagine a world where the absolute worst part of your job — telling a client you lost his or her money — is now totally pain-free. Here’s how it might work. Let’s say you’re having one of your clients in for his annual review. Earlier in the year, Mr. Grand took your advice and sold some of his best-performing investments to buy a risky oil and gas partnership from you. You just found out the drilling was a dud. Mr. Grand is out $150,000. What do you do? It’s simple; using the principles of Pain-Free Wealth Management, you gas him.
“Mr. Grand,” you say. “It’s been a pretty bad year for your investments. Before I go into detail, let me strap this little mask on you.” As Mr. Grand breathes deeply, you slowly begin to tell him how you lost it all. You know you’re on the right track when you hear Mr. Grand blurt out, “Wheee! This is great! I feel dizzy!”
As your presentation nears the end, you say, “Mr. Grand, you’re flat broke. You have until 5:00 p.m. to move out of your house.” While that’s certainly a tough pill to swallow, if you’ve administered the proper principles of Pain-Free Wealth Management, Mr. Grand should be screaming, “What? You already lost it all? WOW! I want to lose all my money here! Yeah, baby!”
If you ultimately decide to implement Pain-Free Wealth Management in your practice, you will need to have some safeguards in place. All clients should be warned against driving and operating any heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after an office visit. Also, no matter how much your clients beg, never do more than four gaseous reviews per year.
Countless books have touted the fact that a business that isn’t changing is dying. What better way to change your business than to take the pain out? The next time you have a bad meeting coming up, think nitrous oxide. Trust me, it’ll be a gas.
Once a mildly amusing comedian and a recruiter for a top independent broker-dealer, Bill Miller now works as an industry wholesaler; reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.