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The dream box and visualize success
The dreams box and visualize success

May 01 2024 / Round the Table Magazine

The dreams box and visualize success

11 ideas for getting simple, asking tough questions and wishing clients a happy birthday.

Topics Covered

The dreams box

I use a very simple “back of the napkin” approach to retirement planning. I put living expenses in one box, health care in a second box and dreams in another larger box. We want to have living expenses taken care of with guaranteed income, e.g., social security, pension and annuity. We want to use long-term care insurance to cover the health care risk. That leaves the balance of the assets for dreams. I tell clients that if I can do my job to take care of the living expenses and the health care boxes, then in retirement they only need to think about the dreams box.

Mark E. Friese, CMFC, Libertyville, Illinois, USA, 26-year MDRT member

Talking over clients’ heads

When you first get into this profession, you think, Clients and prospects I’m going to visit with are going to be impressed because of what I know. I found, however, that people would leave saying, “Wow, you really know your stuff,” but they wouldn’t take action.

My father, 47-year MDRT member H. Richard Dobson Sr., CFP, said to me, “You have a lot of wonderful knowledge, but you need to hold that back in reserve. What your clients and prospects need to see from you is understanding, not bowling them over with technical information. You need a big dose of simplicity.” Consider your audience. Whether you’re talking to one person or 1,000, it’s up to you to adjust the words you use to what that audience understands. Communication has nothing to do with markets, underwriters, companies, policies or any of these things. It’s you as a human being helping and describing to another person how you can help them. They must view us as someone who understands them, and who they can understand.

Richard Dobson Jr., CFP, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA, 22-year MDRT member


Tough questions

I take the initiative to ask clients what they are afraid of and uneasy about. Few advisors ask these questions because most will choose to introduce the benefits that can be provided. But the real concerns of clients may be something else, such as the cost of hospitalization or the sudden need to pay for home care for the elderly.

Chien-pang Han, Taipei, Taiwan Area, 11-year MDRT member


Visualize success

We’ve all heard about professional athletes or other successful individuals talk about visualizing success. We need our clients to do the same. In the process of onboarding a client, we have about 15 minutes to help them understand who we are and what we do. Beyond that, we must be interested in our client. Practice active listening and use the breadcrumbs your client drops about the things that are important to them, even beyond the stated purpose of a meeting. This approach will allow you to help the client visualize how you can help. Many times, this will go far beyond the initial purpose for a meeting if it is applied correctly.

Joel Austin Craven, CFP, RICP, Verona, Wisconsin, USA, 13-year MDRT member

Critical illness

Ask your prospect, “Has your advisor shown you a way to protect your financial health if you are diagnosed with cancer, suffer a heart attack or have a stroke?” Make sure you let the client answer. Critical illness insurance was not designed to make people rich. It was designed to keep people from being poor.

Shawn R. Bjornsson, CPCA, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 26-year MDRT member

Birthday card hack

I use SendOutCards.com, which automatically mails cards in a stamped envelope as opposed to an email card. It prints my handwritten signature, so I don’t have to get involved with the sending. When my clients receive an actual birthday card in the mail, they appreciate it. People call me and say they love these cards because they don’t get actual mail anymore. When someone passes away, if the family posted a photo on Facebook, I can take that picture, save it into the card program and put that on the condolence card. I’ve had clients actually frame these cards. I can do the same with a baby picture for a new baby card. If I need to send a client gift, the card will come in a box with the gift. It’s beautifully done, and it has really helped my marketing.

Meredith Gail Langus, FSCP, LUTCF, White Plains, New York, USA, 12-year MDRT member


How deep is your foundation?

I love architecture and interior design. I often position myself as a financial architect who helps young families design and build their financial foundation. So, I use the following scenario: When you build a house, the most important stage and the one that takes the most time is laying down the foundation — doing the soil test, excavating, pouring concrete and installing support pillars. There is no shortcut. In life, no two foundations are the same. If you’re building a one-story ranch house, the foundation doesn’t need to be as deep as one for a four-level mansion or a skyscraper. The taller the building, the deeper the foundation, and the same goes with financial goals. Your goals might be protecting against mortgage loans or providing an Ivy League education for your child. These require different types of foundation, i.e., insurance coverage. You can’t have a skyscraper-tall financial goal with a two-story house’s foundation. Your job is to dream and build up high, as high as your heart desires. My job is to make sure you have enough financial foundation depth to sustain it. So, let’s work it out together. How deep is your foundation?

Johan Fanggara, CFP, Jakarta, Indonesia, eight-year MDRT member

First impression

Meeting a highly successful client means we need to build rapport and trust fast. I have my assistant forward them my personal webpage and a recent interview or article that a reputable media outlet like Channel News Asia has done about me. This exposure gives the client a better impression about the work I do and how I can differentiate myself from others. By the time I see them, the battle is already half won.

Jovin Su Phing Yeo, CFP, AEPP, Singapore, 21-year MDRT member


Training video library

We use quite a lot of outsourced processes or tools. For in-house processes, we have a how-to video library that we can easily use and update as required. These are managed by my team. We don’t believe in making the horse go faster if someone has already invented the car. The video library is updated as new processes arrive. If we’re implementing a new software or service provider into the business, we ask if we can record their training sessions to keep in our training library. No one has said no yet. My staff is encouraged to find a better way if the process they’re using is no longer working for them.

Amanda Cassar, MFP, AFP, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 12-year MDRT member

Your legacy, your pick

If you don’t have a will, the government is waiting to make one for you. I remind people that everything we have worked for all our lives will go to two of three places when we die: our family, our government or to charity. The good news is that with planning, you get to pick the two that mean the most to you.

Darren Ulmer, CFP, CLU, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 15-year MDRT member


Consistent return in all times

Financial planning via insurance policy is usually for mid- to long-term wealth management, yet not every client understands and appreciates its advantage, especially during good times in the equity market where clients can easily enjoy wealth growth in a short time. Therefore, an equity market downfall is a golden opportunity to explain and demonstrate the beauty of having a steady long-term investment return in their wealth management portfolio. Clients can see and feel the usefulness of this safety net as a cushion during bad economic times. It is easier for clients to understand the importance of a consistent return over an instant one.

Tse Pui Chi Jacqueline, Hong Kong, China, 12-year MDRT member