“Just Like You…”


Continuing where I left off last week in discussing my Elevator Pitch for new prospects.  Once I’ve successfully converted a prospect to a client or decided that there is no real opportunity there the next step is to ask for referrals.  I’m always on the lookout for new clients and where better to find them than through the endorsement of people I have already worked for and who are presumably happy with the service I provide?

I start by saying something like this;

“As you know I’m actively working to expand my practice.  Now that you know first-hand the way I work perhaps you can help me find more clients just like you who recognize the importance of protecting their loved ones and know the value of professional advice.  Who do you know that I should be talking to?”

The exact wording of what I say, when and how I say it during my conversations varies but there are three elements (highlighted) that never change.

Just Like You…

Gratitude and a little bit of flattery never hurts especially when you are asking for something.  By telling a client that I want to work with people just like them I am expressing thanks and giving them an ego boost at the same time.  I am saying that you fit the profile of my ideal client, you are special, I wish I could clone you and spend the rest of my life working only for you.  But alas that’s not possible so who else do you know that you would be proud to bring in to our exclusive little club?

One of Dale Carnegie’s famous tips from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is to start with a complement.  Telling a client that I want to work with more people like them certainly fits that formula.

Protect Their Loved Ones…

One of the reasons why Life Insurance and Investment products can be so hard to sell is that at the end of the day, they aren’t really for you.  At best, in the case of a retirement plan they are for a future version of you and in the case of Life Insurance they are for the people closest to you but they are never truly for you in the here and now.

Legendary Life Insurance agent George Sigurdson of London Life and author of the book, “In Search of Friends; A Guide to Prospecting” says –

                “Life Insurance is a product bought with love and paid for with healthy choices.”

By telling clients I’m looking for people who want to protect their loved ones I’m reinforcing the flattery of the first statement by saying I see that in you and helping them fill in the picture in their mind of who else would be a good fit for me.  Another way of saying it is that I want to work with people who love their families enough to sacrifice a little bit of their cashflow to make sure they are going to be okay.

My friend Bruce told me a story once about driving on the Autobahn in Germany.  The first time he got behind the wheel he was excited to see just how fast he could drive but after a few minutes his wife leaned over and whispered to him, “Remember – you love your family.”  Suddenly it was no longer about how fast he could drive, it became more about safely getting to their destination with his is wife and their three young girls in the back seat.  He sacrificed his selfish desire to drive fast for the safety and security of the people he loves the most.

At the end of the day that’s what Life Insurance and Investing are all about.  I want to work with people who get that.

The Value of Professional Advice

Admittedly this last point can back fire if I haven’t laid the ground work for it in the previous two statements.  It basically says – “You are not the professional, I am.”

I’m poking at your ego a bit.  But by know you’re either already a client or I’ve determined that you aren’t likely to become one in the short term.  A little dig can serve to either snap you back into the conversation or further enhance the warm and fuzzy feelings I’ve evoked by reminding you how great you are for buying Life Insurance or starting an Investment plan.

The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) has determined through numerous studies that people who work with a financial security advisor, on average, have up to four times more investable assets than those don’t.  Professional advice is clearly valuable to those who care to seek it out.  Similar studies have shown that the main reason people don’t seek out professional advice is a perception that it is too expensive or too complicated and that they are not sophisticated enough to benefit from it.  Lastly, many people don’t adhere to the need for professional advice because they have an unrealistic perception of their own ability to go it alone.

By telling people that I want to work with those who value professional advice I’m reinforcing the previous points, you’re great, you get this, congratulations on your good decision-making ability.  While at the same time reminding you that this is not too expensive or complicated.  I’m also drawing a line in the sand and making it clear the type of person I don’t want to work with.  If you think you can go it alone, without the help of a professional, good luck with that.

The world’s greatest philosopher Jesus of Nazareth said it best:

                “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Luke 5:31

In other words, if you think you’re okay, I’m not here for you.

So that’s my referral pitch.  It is designed to help reinforce in my clients and prospects a sense of their own worth to me and my practice and frame in their mind a specific picture of the people in their lives that I think I can help.  When I finally ask the question “who do know that I should be talking to?” a specific someone immediately pops to mind.

Who just popped into your mind?  Let me know – I’d be happy to meet them.

Lauren C Sheil is a Serial Entrepreneur and Financial Security Advisor.  He helps people live life to the fullest along the way teaching them to Eliminate Debt, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy.  Write to themeekonomicsproject@gmail.com 

 

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Definitely, Maybe


That’s what my business is all about.

I use a number of different “elevator” pitches when talking to perspective clients.  One of my new favorites is to begin by telling people that I help mitigate the impact of the Definitely, Maybes in our lives.  Regardless of when or even if these things happen the impact on our lives and the lives of those around us can be devastating if not properly planned for.

Here they are;

Definitely

We are all going to die.  The only question is when and what that might mean for the plans of the people we love.

Pretty much everyone can agree that the younger you are when you die the more tragic it seems.  The death of a child is almost always met with disbelief and regret for the senselessness of it all.  Such limitless potential cut short for no apparent reason.  Just about every parent I know would gladly trade places with their dying child.  Few parents put in that situation would ever consider that the collateral damage caused by their death would have a lasting impact on the life that child now gets to lead.  When a parent dies without having made adequate plans for their family the resulting financial difficulty can and most often does lead to lost opportunities and permanently alters the life trajectory of their children.

It may seem counter intuitive but the younger you are the more life insurance you should potentially have.  It’s not quite a straight line from birth to old age, more of a bell curve, peaking somewhere in middle age when your children are still young and your debts are still high but everybody dies and regardless of when that happens everyone should have some form of Life Insurance.

Maybe

When I first started in this business one statistic surprised me.  According to StatsCanada one in three Canadians between the age of 25-65 will be out of work due to illness or injury for more than 90 consecutive days at some point during their working lives.  Three months may not seem like a long time at first but considering the fact that over 90% of Canadians are only one missed pay-cheque away from serious financial stress and you have a recipe for disaster.

Without adequate insurance a prolonged period of disability is in many cases a fate worse than death.  While the financial struggles brought about by the premature death of a bread winner are tragic, the person who caused them is gone.  What if that person wasn’t gone but had to sit by, helpless and watch his or her family struggle because they failed to adequately prepare for this very strong possibility.

Thankfully most employers in Canada offer some form of Disability Insurance through a Group Health Plan but these plans are often inadequate for maintaining your lifestyle long term and many smaller employers don’t offer any coverage at all.  Which would you rather have, a job that offers you a high salary with no guarantees of continued income or a job with a slightly lower salary and guarantees an income for life if you contract a serious illness or injure yourself long term?  Personally, I think the answer is a no brainer, sadly too many people disagree with me and don’t realize how short sighted their mistake made them until it’s too late.

What if you own a small business?  There are a lot of rewards to being your own boss but insurance benefits aren’t one of them.  The high stress of running a business, coupled with the fact that business owners tend to be the least likely to own any form of disability insurance makes owning a business, regardless of what the business does, among the most vulnerable sectors of the economy to long term illness and injury.  Not to mention what could happen to the people you employ if the business suffers because you don’t show up to work for six months.

Maybe #2 (R-2.0)

Increasingly in Canada more and more people are foregoing retirement and continuing to work in some capacity well into their 70s and 80s.  The reasons for this are varied.  Some haven’t saved enough and need to keep working to survive, others are still healthy and want to stay active.  As a result, the traditional retirement age of 65 is a thing of the past but regardless of when or even if you fully retire there will come a day when you either don’t want to or simply can’t keep going.

This phase of life is what I call Retirement 2.0.   Planning for R-2.0 is about more than just saving money to live on for the next 20-30 years.  It’s about deciding what you want to do with yourself and how to fund it.  And it’s about planning for the impact of declining health.

In preR-2.0 planning is about growing your nest-egg just like always, but once you start your R2.0 life it’s about guaranteeing income and securing your legacy.

 

So that’s what I do.  I help people plan for definitely and maybes.  I can definitely help you.  Maybe you’ll contact me.

Lauren C Sheil is a Serial Entrepreneur and Financial Security Advisor.  He helps people live life to the fullest along the way teaching them to Eliminate Debt, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy.  Write to themeekonomicsproject@gmail.com 

Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me???


Kicking the Fear of Missing Out in the Face!

Ever since mankind formed social groups we have always experienced a level of anxiety associated with being left out.  What’s the big deal about owning a wheel anyway?  Life would be so much cozier if I had a new stone fire-pit like that tribe over there.  Why didn’t Suzy invite me to the party?  But in recent years, with the advent of the internet and social media, this ancient anxiety has been ramped up to new and unprecedented levels.

In 2004 while finishing his MBA the soon to be world renowned venture capitalist Patrick J. McGinnis wrote an article for The Harbus (the student newspaper of Harvard Business School) entitled “Social Theory at HBS: McGinnis’s Two FOs”  in which he coined the phrase “The Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO.

FOMO is characterized by an almost manic drive to see and do everything.  But while you are rushing from one commitment to the next there is something else bubbling just below the surface.  You see it when people who should be engaged with their surroundings sit in the middle of a highly stimulating activity face down in their phones.  These are the people who abruptly change plans, never give a firm commitment and always seem to have one foot out the door.  They have graduated from mere FOMO, to the second FO – FOBO or the Fear of a Better Option.

FOMO is not really new.  Social Media and other forms of technology like text messaging have made it more prevalent and easier to get caught up in than ever before but the Fear of Missing Out has always been with us.  So has the Fear of a Better Option.  When I was a kid – before cell phones and social media, when phones had cords and hung on walls and computers weighed forty pounds, we called it something else.  We called it staying in touch, being popular or keeping up with the Joneses.  But whatever you call it – it’s FOMO.

As your Financial Coach it often feels like I’m fighting losing battle against FOMO and FOBO every day.  These two FOs are the main enemy of sound financial planning.  Keeping up with the Joneses when our every move is documented and published on social media is a losing game.  Especially when we think about the fact that people only post their best moments on Facebook and seem to go silent as soon as the credit card bill arrives, the bill collector comes knocking or the hydro gets turned off.  (That last one more out of necessity than choice).

We need a third FO that can over power and replace the first two.  And think I found it.  I call it FOOM, the Fear of Outliving your Money.  When FOOM takes over your every thought, FOMO and FOBO don’t stand a chance.

The Fear of Outliving your Money forces you to budget for today and save for tomorrow.  It used to be that the average person needed savings of about $1 million in order to retire comfortably.  But that’s not true anymore.  With longer life expectancy and lower interest rates that number is more like $1.5 million.

I looked at a projection for a 35 year old yesterday who earns $100,000 per year (slightly higher than the nation average) and his number was a whopping $1.9 million.  But FOMO and pressures placed on him by watching all his friends on social media has him overspending to the point that he has exactly $0.00 saved and only 30 years to go before his planned retirement date.  That means he needs to put away over $600 per month for the rest of his life starting immediately.  When I told him so he nearly fell out of his chair, not because he doesn’t have the money – he does, but because it would mean intentionally missing out on some of the life experiences he has become accustomed to.

FOOM kicked FOMO in the face!   After a little bit of bargaining because he wanted to have his cake and eat it too, (that’s FOBO) he got it.

So here’s my advice for all you people out there with a bad case of FOMO.  Go on a social media holiday – try it even for a day and see if you don’t start to feel a bit better about yourself.  At the very least stop looking at your friend’s latest vacation pictures and start a savings plan, even a small one will help.  And whenever FOMO starts to creep in look at the balance of your savings accounts and tell yourself that no what happens from now on you will always have at least that much.  As you discipline yourself and watch that money grow, FOOM will dissipate and FOMO will become irrelevant.

In many ways that’s what Financial Planning is all about.  I’m here to help you realign your priorities and help you eliminate all forms for financial fear , whether it’s FOMO, FOBO or FOOM fear has no place in financial planning.  In fact it’s the planning part the really kicks all forms of fear in the face.

 

 

Going Ballistic


I recently heard it said that humans could be considered ballistic beings.

What this means is that we are meant to always go forward in one direction.  Any attempt to go backwards or veer from side to side creates friction and causes us to miss the mark with our lives.  True, we can sometimes decide to change direction mid flight but not without considerable effort and a loss of velocity that is difficult to regain.  If you are constantly switching targets just forget about it, the effort required to fight against friction will kill your focus and cause you to miss everything.

Granted, like all analogies this one breaks down after a while but I think you get the point.  If humans are indeed ballistic beings, in order to remain effective we need to be aware of two things that make bullets work:  Focus and Velocity.

Focus

When a bullet is pointed at a target nothing else matters.  So it should be with us, goals are meant to be achieved.  The degree to which we are successful with our goals is largely a function of our ability to remain focused on them.  Anything that pulls is in a direction other than our intended target creates friction in our lives.  Friction slows us down and if it’s allowed to continue it will cause us to miss.

The most successful entrepreneurs in the world always have an incredible degree of focus.  They tend to be what my friend Tim once called a one note song.  Their target is all they talk about, all they think about and all they do.  But one note songs aren’t very interesting and not many people can stand to listen to them for very long.  This causes all kinds of problems, relationships suffer, physical and mental health suffers, and if allowed to go unchecked even if we hit the bull’s eye, we eventually explode and have nothing else to show for it.

Velocity

The other aspect that makes bullets work is velocity.   Speed is required in order for a bullet to maintain its trajectory.  Too slow and gravity takes over, pulling the bullet down and causing it to miss the mark.  But often forgotten about is what happens when a bullet moves too fast, it can pass right through the target and continue on until it hits something (or someone) else.  This then causes additional damage.

People who have a natural tendency to maintain a high degree of focus, like me, can sometimes get frustrated when the velocity is not up to our expectations.  The thing is, focus is almost 100% within our own control but velocity is not.  The speed with which we are able to carry out our plans usually, if not always, depends on other people.  The result is that we can only move as fast as the people around us are willing to go.  Sometimes this velocity, or lack thereof can result in a loss of focus, other times, when others catch the vision the speed with which things begin to happen can be remarkably fast.   This is what I have recently begun referring to as life at the Speed of Relationship.

So here’s the deal.

Going Ballistic in life and business requires both focus and velocity.  In order to maintain your focus you need to be able to work at a pace that keeps you engaged and on track.  But in order to maintain that pace you may also need to recruit the help of those around you and that requires some people skills.  Sometimes you will need to slow down and cultivate relationships in order to then speed up and get things done.

And remember; you can always talk faster but sometimes it pays to listen slow.

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VLOG: Episode 6, The Heart of An Entrepreneur


Driving in to the office the other day I started thinking about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how much mad respect I have for entrepreneurs and what they do.  Here’s the video I recorded about it.

Once again sorry about the audio, I need to both speak up and get a better microphone  I think.  And for some reason I thought sitting in front of a window on a sunny day would be a good idea, won’t make that mistake again, I promise.

I’ll get these technical issues figured about eventually, bear with me okay…  For now enjoy the video.

My Peace Statement


Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God.- Matthew 5:9

I originally wrote out my Peace Statement in August of 2009.  It was actually the first thing I ever posted on line.  In light of recent events I thought it might be a good idea to revisit and update what I wrote back then.It’s been over 8 years since I started my first blog but so little has changed. 

Through the reading of Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”; one of the things that kept coming back to me is a phrase that I coined about 10 years ago while sitting in church and listening to a sermon on peacemaking just after Remembrance Day.

Peace without Justice is Oppression

I grew up Mennonite and was baptized into the community of Nairn Mennonite Church, just north of London ON at the age of 17.  Since the very beginning the Mennonite Church has officially declared itself to be a Peace Church.  But when you make a declaration like that what you are really saying is that you want to protect Justice, otherwise you’re just ignoring and oppressing people with dissenting views.  Peace is not simply the absence of war; it is the presence of justice and the absence of oppression.

Oppression does not have to be overt either.  It can be very subtle.  If we aren’t careful the majority rule or democracy in general can become distorted and look more like – biggest guns rule, elite rule, wealthy rule, or educated rule.

We in the wealthy West, or more accurately the North West are often times inadvertently waging a war of oppression on the developing regions of the world, mostly to the South and East of us.  Over the past 30 years, and most rapidly since the fall of the Berlin Wall, governments, corporations and wealthy individuals have exploited the poor and uneducated in the developing world for their own gain.  They have extracted natural resources and caused unprecedented damage to the environment, corrupted and interfered in local government affairs and generally ignored human rights all in the name of profit.

What are the oppressed people of the world to do?  They do not have the resources to stand up to us economically, nor do they have the education or skills that are useful to the world wide economy, so they strike back in the only way they can.   The world wide drive to globalization and homogenization of cultures through the economic domination of the North West has given rise to terrorism.

One of the things I have learned while exploring this Rabbit Hole is that we cannot continue to fight terrorism with guns.  Greg Mortensen – founder of the Central Asia Institute is the chief driving force behind the building of over 50 schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The schools he has founded equally educate both boys and girls.   At a joint meeting of US congressmen and Pentagon officials Mortensen stated that:

The war on terror should be fought with books, not bombs. – Greg Mortensen (Central Asia Institute)

This has been a recurrent theme in all of a lot of my own research.  When we give the poor access to knowledge we can bring them into fuller participation in the global economy and help to greatly reduce terrorism and increase security.

For more information on the topic of reducing terrorism through education, I highly recommended Mortensen’s book Three Cups of Tea; One Mans Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time”  Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

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