In our country, the first question people often ask is what do you do? Often people are so anxious to get to this question that they do not remember your name.
Our culture enjoys the quick route to evaluating people. This has often been a hard question for me to answer. When my business partner and I started our company our focus was on Pension Consulting, which involved meeting the ERISA stated criteria of having an independent third-party to evaluate pension plans; that was a relatively new field, less than twenty years old and typically required some explanation.
Every marketing and sales training book suggests that you have “an elevator” speech that defines what you do in sixty seconds are less; this is difficult to do without limiting one’s usefulness. My business partner at Mabry-Calvin and I have evolved over the past 25 years, honing our skills in sniffing out B***S*** to help our clients avoid common pitfalls, moved our focus to families and developed investment programs for qualified and non qualified investors with complete liquidity and transparency by using what we have learned from ” the best and the brightest.”. We have spent thousands of hours on reports people do not wish to read to realize that they really want us to just do the work and occasionally show them the statistics. We have learned and continue to learn as any good professional should.Our investment programs keep us easily in the top quartile of performance, but we do not seem to do much marketing. I believe that we know that the truth is that no one is bullet proof and bragging about your numbers is often a good way to take the elevator to the basement in the fluid world of finance.We are constantly competing for business in a world of oversimplication of the investment process and a sense that a big advertising budget guarantees safety. Few people will ever evaluate the numbers.
My “elevator speech” does not exist. I continue to evolve with Mabry-Calvin, but have also started Worth Healing to help people with their financial behavior. So although it is an uphill marketing climb as I participate in a field that is 10 years old ( Behavioral Finance or Financial Therapy) a pigeon-hole answer sounds limiting. I have over thirty years in helping people with their finances and over forty years in helping them with their behavior. Money and behavior both have huge emotional components. Psychology and Finance offer us tools, but not all of the tools we need.
I can only build relationships by leading with my strengths. My top strength on virtually every scale I have taken is Empathy. My strong suit is that very often I can quite easily understand and empathize with the situation someone is in. People come to me to ease their pain, make themselves more effective at what they do, spill their guts in a safe non judgemental environment and talk about what brings them the most shame. You might be surprised at how often money is a part of these conversations. Money, the fear of letting others down or of appearing stupid are common themes of conversation.When life changes, people often become paralyzed, overwhelmed and just can’t think – then I am a “thinking partner.”
So for any of you out there who can come up with an elevator speech for me, please send it!