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Return On Life – not R.O.I.

Daniel Pink famously said  ‘If a picture is worth a thousand words, a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures’. I’m not sure what you get when you combine an image with a metaphor, but this is definitely priceless. What follows below is one of those gold dust messages that you can use with your own clients.

Any analogy with a sail boat in it is obviously going to get my attention. And that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago, when I had the pleasure of interviewing Mitch Anthony and Steve Sanduski on our Inspiring Advisers Member webinar.

Mitch is the author of a number of books, including The New Retirementality and a leader in the field of Financial Life Planning. Steve is the Founder and President of Belay Advisor, a financial adviser coaching, consulting, and marketing services company that works with individuals and firms to accelerate growth.

Over 600 have attended the live webinar or since watched the replay in which we discussed the changing face of retirement, how years ago, planning for retirement was easy. You retired at 65, and dropped dead at 67. Now it’s different. Now we have to ask ourselves: are we helping our clients retire FROM something, or retire TO something. There’s a massive difference between the two. And a successful retirement, which could last 30 or 40 years, requires a whole different mind set if we are to help our clients live a fulfilled life. (For a limited time you can watch the replay here)

Quite simply we need to be having different types of conversations with clients about ‘retirement’. Mitch and Steve call this a ‘R.O.L. – Return On Life’ approach. And there’s never been a better time to harness the power of such an approach.

Let’s face it, over the next few years, a traditional ‘R.O.I. – Return On Investment’ approach, will become an automated, low-profit, dead end for advisers globally. Vanguard will probably see to that. Any adviser who’s service revolves around selling, reviewing and rebalancing investments will be left dead in the water. Instead, we need to seize the opportunity and add more value by making the shift to having ‘Return On Life’ conversations with our clients. This is your way to add incredible value and ensure your service becomes amazing – and never, ever commoditised.

One of the best ways to connect with your clients is to be able to open them up, to ask questions they have never been asked before, to help them think about their relationship with money in a new way. If you can effectively position yourself as a sort of ‘financial philosopher’ some of those questions will really resonate with them and you will differentiate yourself in the eyes of your clients.

These two images are a great way to open up a dialogue that will allow you to pose some thought provoking questions, or at the very least get the conversation moving in a positive direction.

The picture on the left…

The picture on the left is the typical ‘Return on Investment’ Wheel.

The money represents the target, the goal, the reward. We chase the money, we work hard to make the money, we invest the money to make more money, we plan well to ensure we have enough money.

In terms of these two pictures most people can relate to some degree with the picture on the left. Whether it be in general day to day living sense, or in a more career related setting, most people have at times found themselves running around in that wheel.

Most people will recognise the cycle of striving for a financially related goal, that once achieved seems to be fairly instantaneously replaced by another. However, it is likely that some of your clients who have worked in a cut throat professional arena might attribute a more corporate relationship to the wheel. Historically, the corporations would keep changing the denomination to keep the poor rodent motivated. But not anymore. Today, they just tell them they are lucky to be in the wheel at all. And golden handcuffs have now been replaced by a heavy ball and chain.

The picture on the right…

The picture on the right represents a “Return on Life” philosophy. You will see that the picture is a boat where the sail is delineated as money. To fully understand what makes this metaphor so powerful we need to ask ourselves, “what is a sail?”

As every sailor knows: “A sail is a utility that we skilfully manipulate in order to navigate”

In simple terms, a sail is a utility that we skilfully manipulate in order to navigate. It is crucial here to acknowledge what the sail does NOT represent.

It is not the shore we are sailing towards, it’s not the sea we sail upon and it isn’t even the vessel upon which we sail.

It’s nothing more than a utility that helps us get where we want to go. 

Don’t you think that this is a great way of positioning money, especially when talking to clients?

Once you can get your clients to start seeing their finances as a utility to get and keep the life they truly desire, then you can start to help them build a future that actually fits their dreams. This approach and mindset allows you to transition towards conversations based around their real-life aspirations, and away from conversations focused on possible financial products and investment return. If you can get clients to see that your role is to help them get the best life they can with the money they’ve got then you will have added a vital new dimension to your service – one that will not only be invaluable to your client, but where you will also have the added bonus of making your own job feel much more worthwhile.

Mitch and Steve are speaking at BACK2Y – The Lifestyle Financial Planning Conference – 13-09-2017

I’m delighted to say that both Mitch and Steve have agreed to fly over from the US and be our special guests at this year’s BACK2Y – The Lifestyle Financial Planning Conference. Tickets are now available and the theme for the day is great client conversations. BACK2Y is all about building a client value proposition which is ‘intangible, incomparable and uniquely human’ where clients can ‘feel it’ but they can’t price it, or even compare it with anything else.

We’ll be focusing on the one value proposition that will never become a commodity: where advisers sell their wisdom, experience, and insights – and no robo can do that! The hallmark of this new way of thinking is the unique manner in which real success will be measured—Return On Life™

So please grab a seat to BACK2Y. You’ll be glad you did.

If you want to see Mitch & Steve ‘in action’ there’s still time to watch the Inspiring Advisers Webinar here.

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