Recently, while on a trip to the west coast, disaster struck. I felt an acute toothache that I immediately associated with the need for a root canal. My experience taught me something about gathering AUM which I want to share with you.
Alone and unfamiliar with the dental community, I needed a reliable way to identify an endodontist. I called a major dental school in the area, and left a message with a professor of endodontics. I told him my plight, and asked if he could refer me to a local endodontist.
He promptly returned my call and gave me three names of endodontists. He told me if he or his family members needed a root canal, he would use any one of these recommendations.
I picked one, after looking at his webpage. He was board certified and seemed to be highly qualified. I made an appointment for the next morning.
At my appointment, the endodontist took x-rays and confirmed the need for a root canal. I told him I had two requests:
- Numb me really well so I feel no pain; and
- Don’t explain to me what he’s doing during the procedure.
Forty-five minutes later, I left his office. The procedure was pain free. He honored my request not to educate me about the details of his craft.
I trusted a total stranger to put a sharp drill in my mouth and fix my problem. My trust was well- premised. He came highly recommended by a source with expertise. His credentials checked out.
Because I trusted him, I didn’t need to learn endodontics 101. I had a problem and wanted him to fix it, which is exactly what he did.
I wonder why so many advisors believe prospects and clients are interested in being “educated” about investing and financial planning. When they come to you, they have a concern. They want you to fix it.
There’s one surefire way to know if they want details (like how factor-based investing works): Ask them.
Like my experience with an unfamiliar endodontist, they’ve gone to your website. Since they decided to meet with you, it’s likely they already know your credentials and investment philosophy.
Instead of assuming they’re interested in knowing more about you, learn more about them. Ask nice, soft questions showing an interest in them, instead of conveying any information.
Your new goal is to elicit information and then ask follow-up questions that demonstrate a genuine interest in them. If they have a question, or need clarification, trust them to make an inquiry. When they do, you can be confident you’re providing information of interest to them.
A by-product of this approach is that it builds trust. Once they trust you, they will be confident you will always act in their best interest.
That’s how I felt about my endodontist.
Resource of the Week
The way to build trust in a business relationship is not dissimilar to doing so in a personal one. I found this article helpful.