Decisioning and international implications

By Ernest Falkner III

Zillion Dollar Thinking

You never know when you may need a communication vehicle to bridge or advance a relationship. Please let me explain.

A few years back, a manager assigned me the challenge of working with stockbrokers at a major firm as a financial and estate planning specialist. The assignment required I gain the same training, license and position as the brokers. That was a very wise and insightful move on the manager’s part. He knew that the brokers would accept me as a peer rather than viewing me as an outsider, and I would have more credibility with them.
That said, I had the opportunity to work with brokers and their clients in hundreds of interviews and consultations over the course of about 10 years. During that time, I had the privilege of developing several personal relationships — many still remain today.
One of those relationships turned out to be highly unique. It was born from a model (The MODELTM System).
In most of the client interviews, I personally introduced the integral steps of our decisioning model. It was not standard operating procedure for the company, but since it was generic in nature and presented no compliance conflicts, I demonstrated it to clients. It enabled the clients to see how I would interact with them and to test their responsiveness. It also gave me a pre-qualifying look at them and their buy-in levels during the interactive interview.
In addition, I was able to emphasize the due diligence phase of this system that was always in the client’s and the company’s best interest. It never failed.
One of the brokers became very receptive to this approach, and he began to develop this method in his own practice. But, as fate would have it, his daughter won a spot in the Royal Ballet Co. in London. So, they pulled up stakes here and moved to England. He got a full transfer to an affiliate branch in London.
When my friend was an individual retail broker here in the States, he had the ability to solicit individual and corporate business through most any legitimate channel. Once he transferred to Europe, the only spot available to him was as a capital markets specialist — a major stretch from his prior job. Once he got settled into the new position, he was quickly instructed that his new role’s description, direct solicitation in his territory of new clients, was not allowed.
Being the new kid on the block with no friends in that office, he did not have a lot of allies in his camp to help him break the ice in the capital markets sector. So, he immediately called me from London.
As we analyzed his situation, I asked him if he had shared our model with anyone over there as yet. It seemed that the established guys in the capital markets division had all the answers, but they did not have a model system.
Once my friend had the opportunity to demonstrate how the system could work for others in his division, they enthusiastically embraced it. It became more of a communication “gift” that he now confesses created a jump start to his business in Europe. After that, the established brokers literally took him by the hand and were willing to formally introduce him to significant client prospects. The rest is history.
What was that worth? He enjoyed a very successful stint in Europe, and fortunately for me, after a few years he came back to the States, where we enjoy a great friendship to this day. He still remarks that he’s not sure what would have happened had he not had the model system to produce in that critical situation.
Key point: Consider adopting a decisioning model system that is highly transferable to other brokers and/or clients, more as a communication device than a sales effort. Calendars and ballpoint pens are beginning to go the way of the land line.