Our system produces 3 different reports. The first report is called a "Life Resource Survey Report." The second report is called a "Retirement Planning Survey Report." The third report is called a "Life Resource Analysis Report." In this article we will discuss how to present a Life Retirement Planning Survey Report." In Article #15 we discuss how to present a Life Resource Survey Report. And in Article #17 we discuss the way that you produce a Life Resource Analysis and how to present the report from it.
The Particular Instances Where You Will Do a Retirement Planning Survey
We designed the Retirement Planning Survey as a direct outgrowth of Life Resource Planning. In almost all cases when you do Life Resource Planning you will be working with the children of aging seniors or with younger family members. These people are typically not dealing with the challenges of their final years but are more concerned about issues pertaining to retirement.
When you do the Life Resource Survey or Life Resource Analysis for the aging seniors, you will have developed a relationship with the children or other family members. They will trust you and respect your opinion. Because of this, it is fairly easy to talk them into doing a Retirement Planning Survey Report for them. And because of the rapport that you have established, it is likely not necessary to provide all of the learning materials that you would provide for life resource planning. This does not mean however that you cannot assemble your own materials and put them together into a nice presentation.
Not only can you work with the children of the aging seniors you are assisting, but the retirement planning approach can be used for other potential clients as well. As we have pointed out in previous articles, we believe using a planning approach to place your products or services will produce much more sales and grow your business. This is a better alternative to using a product oriented approach.
Those Network Specialist Who Would Be Involved in Retirement Planning
You can still use certain members of your senior service network, but you will not need them all. Here are the network members – including you – that would likely be involved in retirement planning.
- elder law or estate planning attorney
- financial services practitioner or insurance agent
- investment advisor
- reverse mortgage specialist
- seniors real estate specialist
Avoid Selling Products and Be Prepared
The most important thing to keep in mind when you present any one of these 3 reports in our system is to avoid your typical sales approach. You must not bring up specific products in the presentation, nor must you hammer away at your clients if they don’t agree to your assessment of their problems and your potential solutions. In other words if your solutions include your products and services – even though you don’t mention them – please don’t try and force them into a decision that you think they should make. Give them enough information and give them good reasons why they should adopt your solutions, but don’t employ typical closing strategies to make them do it.
If you are firmly convinced that they need a solution that uses your products and services, then you should have such convincing evidence and such a convincing knowledge of the subject that the only argument they can give you is it doesn’t "feel right." What this means is you must be the consummate expert in this area and leave them with such an overriding impression of your knowledge that they will adopt your way of doing it. Understand everything thoroughly.
Here are the steps that you should take to prepare yourself for the presentation and to make the presentation meaningful to your clients and productive for you.
Make Sure You Have the Knowledge to Discuss the Issues
With all 3 planning approaches it is imperative that you possess the proper knowledge in order to provide advice or direction. Otherwise, you will not be respected by your potential clients and they will likely not act on your advice or purchase products or services from you.
Unlike the training that we provide for Life Resource Planning, we do not provide you training in the area of retirement planning. Eventually, we may have a textbook that will cover all the issues. Currently, it is up to you to make sure that you have the proper knowledge base.
Put on Your Planning Hat and Be Objective
As we have mentioned many times before, don’t be trapped into talking about products or services that you provide. Give your clients an objective assessment of where they stand. Impress them with your knowledge of the various issues. Help them to understand the challenges they are facing.
By taking a solution-based, planning approach instead of a product or service oriented approach, you will gain your clients’ respect, you will develop a rapport with them and they will trust you. Then when you want to talk about products and services after the planning phase is completed, they will listen to you.
Point out That the Recommendations and Strategies Are Grouped into Similar Categories
A typical report might include 10 to 15 different recommendations and strategies for discussion. This is certainly an overwhelming number to handle and could be confusing to your clients. We want to point out that these recommendations and strategies are really parts of certain key categories. You want to point this out to your clients as well. By doing it this way, you can concentrate on a few of the issues that need to be addressed in each category and leave some of the other issues for a later time. We discuss below creating a checklist to address the most important issues. This is also an important strategy for getting them to implement your solutions.
Here are all of the 22 issues that can be addressed in a Life Resource Survey. When you actually produce a survey report you will notice that the program automatically groups various categories together. You will be able to recognize this readily and point this out to your clients.
Allow Your Clients to Prioritize the Various Recommendations and Strategies
We also employ a unique approach to making the recommended solutions. It is our experience that most planners who use another system summarize their recommendations or strategies on a single page or two in the form of an outline or a checklist. Our approach is a little different. A typical life resource analysis questionnaire might result in 5 or 12 recommendations or strategies. The recommendations are also presented as paragraphs that not only provide a possible course of action but also include education on why they should take that course of action. Please understand that we only make recommendations that as a result of the questionnaire, apply to the client in some way.
This recommendation solution strategy is also basic psychology. By giving them a number of choices, they can pick out those ones they feel are important. The concept here is to impress upon your clients that given a list of various choices, they must make some decision as to which of those choices they should take. It forces them to make decisions as they know they cannot reject everything you give them.
This planning process allows them to make the decisions themselves instead of your trying to make those decisions for them. This strategy also makes them personally involved in the planning and creates more trust in your recommendations. Instead of your dictating to them, they are cooperating in the outcome. The end result of this strategy is that they will almost always follow a certain number – but not all of – the presentation recommendations and feel good about it.
Once they have decided the priority of the recommendations, you will make a checklist for them and follow up to make sure that everything has been implemented.
Provide Referrals or Appointments with the Appropriate Providers or Advisers
One advantage to your taking a comprehensive planning approach to help aging seniors with the challenges they are facing is that you can provide a one-stop shopping service for all of the solutions that they need to solve their problems. To provide this service, you need to develop a network of senior service providers and advisers in your local community who can step in and provide the appropriate services or advice.
You can either make this a formal network by adopting our local planning Council system supported by the National Care Planning Council, or you can utilize an informal network of providers or advisers. For more about a local planning Council contact us at 800-989-8137.
Whichever approach you take, you need to be proactive in helping your clients get together with this network of practitioners. We suggest that you actually make the appointment with the appropriate practitioner after you have finished up with the planning but before you launch into selling your products and services. Set up a time for the family member and the provider to meet. If proper arrangements cannot be made at that time get some appropriate dates and times from your client and set up an appointment later.
You might argue that it is much easier for you simply to provide the referral and the contact information for the network provider. There is a reason for being proactive. If you can get appointments with members of your network that result in new business for these members, these practitioners will reciprocate and provide you referrals for your planning approach. This is an important source of new business for you as well.
Take off Your Planning Hat and Put on Your Sales Hat for Providing Your Solutions
If certain products or services are to be recommended to your client by you, you must make this a separate process from the planning activities and presentation. This is necessary in order to avoid a conflict of interest especially in those instances where you are selling insurance products or investment products to your client as part of the solution to the planning process.
You should not make any insurance or investment sales a part of the plan, because in these cases you may be violating some sort of federal or state code. Besides, by taking this approach, you are demonstrating your professionalism and ethical behavior to your clients and they will have that much more respect for you. If you are not already doing this, you will be surprised at how impressed they are by your upstanding behavior.
You could do the selling right after the same session in which you present the plan as long as you make it clear to your client that you are no longer doing the planning and you are wearing a different practitioner "hat." In order to identify that you are wearing a different hat, we recommend that you provide full disclosure as to what you are doing with the product or service recommendations. This means revealing that fees or commissions are involved, that they do not have to buy these products or services from you and that they have every right to engage someone else for these products or services.
You will also emphasize that the receipt of fees or commissions is not the important issue and the size of your renumeration is irrelevant to making sure your client is satisfied. You will also mention that no matter whom they might use, those same commissions or fees will be involved, and you will be able to get the same products or services for them. It will probably surprise you that with this approach, virtually none of your clients will go to anyone else for products or services.