If, Then

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Computer programming is built around a simple statement based in Boolean logic: if x, then y. So simple, so elegant, and so powerful that you should adopt it in your financial advisory practice to get many more introductions and drive your production to MDRT and beyond.  This conditional logic is at the core of conditional contracting in the Sandler Sales system and aligns directly with the psychology of choice that lead to Nobel Prizes in Economics for Thaler and Kahneman.

Applying this concept in your business is wicked simple: in your initial discussion with the potential client, just state the conditions: IF I create value for you in our meeting today, THEN you will introduce me to other people I should talk to about what I do and how I help people, the same way that So and So introduced us. Is that fair and reasonable?

Re-read that.

Let’s analyze this from the end.

“Is that fair and reasonable” is my favorite phrase in all negotiations, whether it is sales or trying to convince an eight-year-old to do something they don’t want to do. Because my proposals are always both, and the only way to dispute them is a non-emotional analysis of the merits of the proposal. The eight-year-old might say that something is not fair, but if it is consistent with other expectations this argument is quickly dismissed, even if your client is acting like the eight-year-old. Similarly “reasonable” neutralizes emotions and forces the individual to make a mental calculation which dismisses fear and allows them to be guided to the conclusion that you wish by weighing the facts. So “is that fair and reasonable” can have only one outcome as long as you as the Rep are being a professional: yes. This is exactly the agreement you want for the verbal contract.

The section before “fair and reasonable” states “the same way So and So introduced us” and carries power because you are sitting with this person because of the introduction of another. If they had not introduced you, then you would not be having the conversation with this potential client. This allows you to positively harness herd mentality: this person will be ok introducing you to others because EVERYONE introduces you, and they want to be like everyone else.

By creating a valuable experience for this person in your initial meeting (by uncovering potential issues they can avoid, initiating valuable discussions on savings and investment philosophy, some basic education they might be missing, etc) you then make the first part of the upfront contract, the IF/THEN statement have only one outcome: yes, value was created.

If the answer to this question is ever No, explore with the person again what you discussed and get them to remember and highlight some of the points from the meeting that could be life changing to them, whether it is suggesting they put away more for retirement as they are completely off track for that goal, or introducing them to other professionals that they need, or answering questions they had. They need to acknowledge that you have fulfilled your end of the bargain (add value) so that you have the right to their end of it, your payment with introductions to others that you should talk to the same way So and So introduced the two of you.

If the client can find no value in your meeting, I strongly suggest you review your process and initial meeting questions and agenda. It could be a YOU problem.

But if you have the client agree to the verbal contract and deliver value so that the answer to the IF statement is a positive response, then the next logical step is they fulfill their end of the agreement because they have created a moral obligation within themselves. The vast majority of people will honor the bargain, and most that try to argue their way out of it are easily convinced to meet their obligation to you because of the social mores and principles of honor that are ingrained in most of us. Just stick with the facts instead of emotions: “IF I added value, THEN you would introduce me to others. You agreed that I created value, therefore you will introduce me to others as a person that keeps your word.”

Ethical people will keep their word and fulfil their contract with you. Unethical people should not be accepted as clients because they will screw you and your staff over at some point. Use this verbal contract as a way to gauge the potential client’s commitment to the financial planning process and to weigh if they are a person of integrity.

It may seem weird invoking computer logic as the basis of your payment from the client and the foundation of your business relationship, but remember that the greatest computer ever created resides between your ears. If you program it properly, then you will never have to worry about getting more than enough introductions for your business to thrive.

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