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Einstein on sales

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Last week, I spoke to a group of financial professionals about the incredible opportunities presented by the income replacement market. Judging from a quick glance at the attendee list, the average number of advanced degrees and designation was three or perhaps four. Sophisticated session titles on taxation, trusts, esoteric financial planning and such littered the meeting agenda.

Reading through the program book, I began to fear my continuing education session might be too rudimentary, and I briefly considered adding some complexity and a few more slides. As I reviewed my notes looking for that opportunity, I thought about what Albert Einstein had once advised: “Things should be as simple as possible but no simpler.”

It was a tough decision, but as luck would have it, I decided to stay with the original class.

In truth, the meeting’s organizers asked me to stick to nuts and bolts. “Add a bit of strategy,” they said, “but we need to get our members back in touch with the straightforward process of transferring risk.” In this case, it was the risk that the client’s income would stop if they were too sick or hurt to work.

One of the “openers” I discussed was to ask a client just two questions. First, ask which asset was most valuable: their car, home or ability to earn a living. Then – after an appropriate pause – ask which of those they had insured.

After the meeting, a seasoned advisor approached me and said “back in the day” he had written a lot of DI using that exact opener. While listening to my presentation, he realized he had become so caught in the weeds of complexity that he had lost the elegance of the simple and direct sales question. Things should be as simple as possible.

Check out more blog entries from David Saltzman.