We talked of basketball and great players. I held my own and he felt comfortable enough to mention that he was dealing with some issues in settling his father’s estate. He wasn’t looking for advice, just talking. I listened intently and asked some leading questions. He has several siblings and neither he nor they knew anything about succession and distribution of estate assets. No family members wanted to take it on. He was very reluctant. The estate was entirely real estate, which creates a real dilemma because of its non-liquid status.
We discussed other things, mostly spiritual stuff, and I left with more knowledge about my friend. A few days later as I was reading, something triggered my conversation with Mitch. I went to my computer to compose an email. I assured Mitch that he could handle the estate responsibilities and also offered to coach him along the way. I negotiated a fee, a haircut, and ended with something that I thought might incentivize his involvement. I really didn’t know what the estate size would be, but I mentioned that if his portion were only $50,000, by the time he retires in 30 years, he could easily have over $500,000.
His email back made for a great story. He said, “You have my attention.” You may say, “How long would it take to get paid on such a case?” Probably a year or two, but that’s not my only case. How many opportunities do you see in this one case? Several siblings who may need help investing their inheritance. Some may have current needs to solve. Certainly life insurance is an option. Mitch works with his hands. Is there a disability policy in his future? His wife also works. Could there be any opportunities there? Who knows what’s under a rock until you turn it over.
It’s very rare for me to meet someone who doesn’t have a problem to solve, so it’s important to keep meeting people and developing relationships. I also want to make sure that the people I develop relationships with meet my clients’ demographics. In my practice, the typical client is over 70 years old. They have investable assets that exceed $200,000. They have a home without a mortgage. They have declining health issues. My marketing and my personal contacts will have this ultimate demographic in mind. I don’t actually have many friends in that age group, but their kids are in their 50s and 60s. You should target your demographics in some imaginative way. Staying with the world that makes your practice profitable is paramount, so targeting with purpose will accomplish a thriving practice.