Some people say the following story isn’t true.
David Stillwater didn’t even notice how easily he left behind the “anti-establishment” mentality of the 70s as he soared to the top ranks of advisors with the largest regional financial services firm. His competitive nature drove him to burn the midnight oil and the results spoke for themselves-many new clients and large volumes of products.
The pressure was taking its toll. It’s not that he didn’t return client phone calls anymore; it’s just that he stopped listening.
Dr. Hurt, one of David’s clients, had had enough. The normally easy going dentist had become more irate with the increasingly disappointing results from the tax shelters that David had steered him toward. Hurt insisted on an evening appointment to review the “mess you’ve gotten me into!”
“Can we do this over a glass of wine?” Hurt offered. He hoped that would ease the discomfort of the review. ‘I must be coming down with something’ was the last thing that David remembered thinking.
The utter darkness confused him. David tried to move, but he felt like he was in a tunnel. Behind his head he grasped what felt like a light bulb, then the pull chain. The light hurt his eyes, and then slowly he realized where he was. Frantically his hands explored and found a small metal box. He pushed the “play” button on the hand-held tape recorder and Dr. Hurt’s voice began:
“Welcome to your new office, David Stillwater, 10 feet under ground with no interruptions. Maybe now you’ll have time to listen to me . . .”
Today, there is a new voice in town. In this present world dominated by compliance, overrun by litigating guerilla assassins, the mantra is CYA. The deafening voice of compliance has caused us to lose focus again–focus on what we really want and focus on what clients really want.
Our objective should be domination–not world domination but market domination. Let’s call it a waiting list business! One of the finest dermatologists in town schedules appointments months in advance and does not take new patients unless a previous patient dies or leaves town. The only way to become a new patient is to put your name on a waiting list. Imagine that. How different would your life be if you had a Waiting List Business of affluent and mega-affluent clients?
In its annual Affluent Market Research Program, TNS, one of the world’s largest market information companies, identified “commoditization and the need for brand differentiation, globalization, price pressure, the impact of technology, increased regulatory pressure and empowerment of consumers” as the biggest challenges facing the financial services sector.
They are all challenges, to be sure, but not the biggest. The biggest challenge is us. We have a listening problem–better yet, a “tuning” problem. We’ve all heard of the radio station WII-FM–What’s In It For Me. That’s the station that everyone is tuned to–including us. We need to change the dial to WII-FT–What’s In It For Them.
Take out a sheet of paper and write down the biggest worries of the mega-affluent. Do you know what they are? We need to become an expert in the needs, worries and concerns of the market we want to dominate. We need The O’Reilly Advantage-not Bill O’Reilly, buy Radar O’Reilly.
Remember in M*A*S*H how he anticipated the every need of Col. Potter? We must do the same. How? Interview your five “Franchise Clients”-the ones you’d build an entire business around-and find out everything about them.