The opportunity was incredible.
My friend, who is a financial adviser for a major firm, had an incredible opportunity pretty much fall in his lap. One of the firm’s top producers had left and his clients were up for grab.
Through some connections, my friend had landed a meeting with a farmer who surprisingly had a net worth of several million dollars. And my friend and his partner had a great plan.
In reviewing the financial plan the prior adviser had arranged for the farmer, not only did my friend believe he could set up the farmer for greater financial growth and security through different investment options but he could also literally save him $54,000 in fees each and every year, at a minimum!
Who wouldn’t want that?!
The meeting was set, the plan produced, and the presentation orchestrated between my friend and his partner – a balance of kindness, empathy, and the data showing that the proposed new plan provided them with greater financial security, wealth, AND with significantly lower fees.
The farmer and his wife seemed very grateful for the information and how well presented it was, and promised to think about it very hard over the next few days and get back to my friend by end of week.
That Friday morning, the farmer called. While he and his wife greatly appreciated all the hard work that my friend and his partner had obviously put forth in reviewing the current financial plan and putting together the new plan, they could not make a change.
The reason. They simply couldn’t do that to Jimmy.
You see, Jimmy was the prior advisor. And as the farmer explained it, yes Jimmy probably made some mistakes in his plan and his charges, but Jimmy drove all the way out to the farm once a month and took the farmer and his wife to Denny’s for breakfast.
And then he talked with them, really talk with them. About the farm, themselves, their family, etc. The funny thing was, Jimmy rarely talked about the financial plan, but he cared about them and that was one of the most important things that anybody could do.
And that’s why, they simply could not make a change and do that to Jimmy.
As you read this true story about Jimmy and the farmer you may think that Jimmy was just a backslapping buffoon with little knowledge of the products he sold who simply relied on his strong glad-handing skills to win clients. I see Jimmy as being very shrewd in understanding that the one thing that farmer and his wife wanted more than anything else was someone to pay attention to them, to listen to them. And that’s what Jimmy delivered. That’s why they simply loved Jimmy.
Don’t forget that Jimmy was considered a Top Performer at this major financial services firm and had many farmer-like clients in his portfolio. As I understand it, almost everyone stayed with him when he left.
There’s been a lot written in the past few years about the value or the lack thereof of relationships. Like anything, nothing is absolute and I am a firm believer that relationships, true valued business relationships, are as important as anything else in this world if one is to be successful in sales.
I had the great opportunity to work for an individual who I believe is the foremost authority on building relationships – Jerry Acuff. Recognized as one of the top sales gurus in the world, in my mind, Jerry IS the top relationship master in the world.
His book, “The Relationship Edge in Business” is a must-read for any individual who even contemplates going into sales. In fact, if you are interacting with customers on any level, then you need to read this book. Is it rocket science? No, but what is?
What “The Relationship Edge in Business” does is make you think – about those relationship you already have and those you wish you had – and gives you a plan to take both to the next level. Quite honestly, it should be a read for all of us as we proceed through life, for as Jerry likes to say, “It’s the relationships in our lives, that truly defines us.”
For the farmer and his wife, Jimmy helped to define their life as being meaningful. Jimmy brought incredible value to them and their lives by simply caring and spending time with them, showing interest in them and their lives.
And that my friends is why, for the farmer and his wife, a $54,000 Grand Slam breakfast didn’t seem like too bad a deal.