For today’s post,part of a story from a financial newsletter I subscribe to is being recycled, as it has a lot of relevance for salespeople regardless of industry. All names have been changed to protect privacy and I highlighted in boldspecific sentences you should pay close attention to:
Some time ago I discovered, very much to my surprise, that my personal broker at Ibex Investments was "no longer with the company.""So why wasn’t I told?" The voice on the other end of the phone responded with, "We were just about to notify you."
It miffed me a bit that they didn’t contact me right away. Among other reasons, I had open trades that needed managing. What if something fell through the cracks?
A few days later, I had a face-to-face meeting with the branch manager and a young man who was designated to be my old broker’s replacement. They apologized for not notifying me immediately, and then provided proof my account was being tended to properly. They continued the conversation by attempting to convince me to keep my money with them.
Several days after that meeting I got a call from my old broker, asking for a meeting. I refused and told him I was sticking with Ibex and going to become a client of his replacement. Why I did that is the subject of this post.
My old broker is a bright guy. He knows the markets and understands the game. And as a top earner in his office, he was indisputably a good salesman. But what is more important is that I trusted him to do a good job.
Because of that trust, once-upon-a-time I mentioned him in an essay I did on municipal bonds and that mention brought him millions of dollars of new business. He was happy to get that endorsement and told me so. I told him, "Just make sure you take good care of my readers." I believe he did.
But there was one little thing about him that always irked me. He had a tendency to talk when I wanted him to listen. I might call him up to ask a specific question about some of my bonds. His answers came in a staccato tempo full of terminology I didn’t fully understand.
When I’d attempt to interrupt him for clarification, he would talk over me. I don’t know why he did that. It was a habit he couldn’t seem to break, even when I spoke to him about it. It was disconcerting, but because I believed he had my best interests at heart and he was producing good results, I let it slide.
Then, one day, I received a notice saying I had bought shares of Facebook’s initial public offering. I was shocked. Facebook is exactly the kind of company I would never buy. Why had he done this? I called him up to ask why. He told me that my son, who also had an account with him, had asked him to buy some for him. It wasn’t easy to get shares at the time. So he got some for my son, and he also purchased some for me, thinking he was doing me a favor.
For all his many good qualities, he hadn’t really listened well to me. Apparently he didn’t even understand that I wasn’t a speculator, and never fully understood my antipathy toward risk.
That was in the back of my mind when I met Patrick, the young man who was going to be managing my account if I agreed to stay with Ibex. After the introductions and icebreakers, the manager presented Patrick’s credentials, which were solid, and recommended his character. I was a bit worried about his youth, as he looked to be in his early 30s. But my worries faded when he began speaking.
The first thing he said to me was something like, "Mr. Dodge, I’ve been studying your accounts and their history. I know where your portfolio is right now, and would like for you to tell me where you want to go with it. Additionally, as your broker I’d like to know what else I could do to make you happy with me."
Wow! That was a very good opening. He was young, but he was saying all the right things. He had the initiative to have studied my accounts before we met, and he had no intention in telling me what to do. He wanted me to tell him how he could help me.
I immediately decided Patrick was my guy. I answered his very good questions by explaining my ideas about wealth-building andin the weeks that followed, he was in touch with me at least twice a week.
We reviewed my entire portfolio, made key changes to restructure it in accordance with my asset-allocation preferences, and agreed on buying and selling parameters, so we could accomplish my goals for the future. I know I made the right decision and am very happy with everything he’s done.
Regardless what you are contemplating buying, make sure the salespersonlistens to you.
I think all I (Doug) need to add to Luke Dodge’s story is, AMEN!
If you want to learn to be a better listener and improve on many other common-sense communication skills, you should get a copy of Doug’s book, Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word. It could be the best $16 you will ever invest in yourself!
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