The model approach: a win-win for everyone

By Ernest Falkner III

Zillion Dollar Thinking

The MODEL approach

As the resident estate planning specialist within one of the industry's largest firms, I never knew who the retail broker might bring to our doorstep. Many times it was the client alone; at other times, it could be the client’s entire entourage.

The point was that I had to be prepared for most everything. I needed a track, standard or model that I could use repeatedly and consistently regardless of who the audience happened to be. With their substantial volume, it would have been impossible to constantly re-invent the wheel, or shoot from the hip.

Phrases like buy-in, permission marketing, value-added, accountability factor, positive negotiation, due diligence, suitability on and on … had to be considered in the design of our approach. The main goal was that whatever transpired we would all walk away with a win-win sentiment … a tall order.

The primary driver was to shift the paradigm from an atmosphere of selling (the standard transactional relationship) to one of decisioning (based more on mutual understanding and trust). The consensus was to be consistent in our delivery and explanation of how we operated, and to first get total agreement to our process before there were any mentions of product or service.

The MODEL steps in order:
    1- Discovery (due diligence)
    2- Commitment (buy-in)
    3- Solution (suitability)
    4- Action (execution)
As each step was explained, we re-enforced that we would need agreement on each category or (from decisioning methodology) we had no right to proceed. So, it became clear that our communication relationship was built on trust and verification.

In other words, we built this introductory interview around a win-win theory from the start. And, with the considerable average net worth of each potential/established client, it was vital that we did not injure any prior relationships with their retail rep. This approach proved to be highly successful. I was in that position 10 years.

Take away from this experience?

What worked from these fast paced, high dollar and compliance charged meetings could work in most any other similar setting, e.g., large firm, small agency or single operator.

Again, the goal is to establish your model, gain agreement to it one step at the time, and deliver it first in every single interview. Develop it to the point that no matter what the buying decision is, your process is seen as indisputable professionalism.

That’s a win-win — you decide.