Several weeks ago, I received a letter from a young man, Sam, who was set to leave the military. He introduced himself and asked if I could meet with him. His goal was to learn more about potentially starting his own business and get connected in the community. I scheduled the appointment thinking I could talk to him about the pros and cons of starting your own small business.
When he arrived for his appointment, I was surprised to see he brought someone with him. Both were in suits and looked professional. He introduced, Jack, his mentor. As I sat down to talk with them, Sam proceeded to tell me that he was now working with Jack who is an investment advisor. He said Jack had approached him about building his own book of clients under his franchise. Jack then proceeded to ask me about my personal investment portfolio. I was very disappointed this meeting was in fact a sales pitch – not a business meeting.
When I stated that I was happy with my financial advisor and his firm, Jack said, “They are alright. One of their guys just came over to us. I guess if you can’t beat them, you join them.” I was taken aback someone who was in sales seemed to have no sales training whatsoever – and he was mentoring someone else! So on the off chance Jack reads this, “If you are speaking with a potential client, do not disrespect their current advisor, it tells the client they were stupid to have picked the competitor”. Jack needs some serious sales training. Instead of trying to tell me his firm was a better choice, show me how his firm was a better choice. Jack did most of the talking and asked if I could introduce them to anyone who might need their services – REALLY? You are asking for a referral? (Wow, I don’t even know you and what I do know, I don’t like!)
The meeting went nowhere very, very quickly and I dismissed Sam and Jack from my office. I felt deceived and insulted when they left. Sam gained the meeting by promoting himself as an innocent soldier ready to take on the world. It was a lie. People know when they are being lied to and it is not a way to build a client base. I have a suspicion that Jack’s client base will not grow exponentially. Sam should be wary about following Jack’s lead and should ask many more questions about client retention and satisfaction prior to investing more time in this new venture.
After the meeting, I emailed my investment advisor, Tim Watson, Strategic Financial Partners and typed one sentence, “Thank You for being such a great person and not being a jerk”. I’m sure he is reading it now and wondering why I sent it. Appreciation can be gained in odd ways.
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