I smiled because nine months earlier, as I was settling into my new office location, it was she who had bounced in with an idea for me and my money.
Appreciative of the exuberance of youth and enamored with the idea of being a good neighbor, I said, “Yes, I’ll listen.”
An agreement was reached on a time for her to make the short trip across the hall from her Life Insurance Company to my CPA Company. As a Shooting Star of her prominent business organization, she was given the opportunity to enter my boutique world of the Hired Gun.
For thirty years, I have focused on the bulls-eye of the targets set by those business people, and my friends, who are intent upon achieving success. Interested in what I might learn from this Quick-draw Artist, my time was offered to her. The, only, caveat (quid pro quo, if you will) was that she and her husband join me for dinner, some evening in the future.
With the benefit of education and experience in running the numbers, I was genuinely curious about what I might have overlooked in regards to the odds of betting against ourselves. Life Insurance is actually Death Insurance. As a financial tool, it has its place in the box.
Having built a little empire in my youth and given it away in middle-age, the idea of buying protection against the capricious hand of fate was laughable. Yet, I was intrigued by the enthusiasm of this young woman on a mission.
Consistent with the beginning of our conversation — at the end of our two hours together, I politely declined her sale of Life Insurance. For the months that followed, I graciously reminded her of my offer for dinner.
Then, right in the middle of Tax Season, I must have been looking a little frazzled. My young — Insurance Agent — neighbor bounced in once again to ask if I might consider Long-term Care Insurance. Again, I laughed and said, “No.”
Imagine my surprise when, after months of avoiding my offer for dinner, she bounces in — yet, one more time — with Calendar in hand to schedule a date.
She had just come from a successful excursion of selling to one of my biggest fans. Some combination of the adrenalin rush of a Contract Closing and Colorful Conversation, emanating from a discovery of this mutual Client Connection, was the catalyst for her new-found want and need to accept my offer.
So, we went to dinner. The three of us — Insurance Agent, Successful Entrepreneur (her husband), and Certified Public Accountant. A pleasant evening it was.
A few days after that time together is when I heard, “No one can close me on the first attempt.”
With the smile, mentioned at the beginning of this story, I responded, “Yes, anything of importance needs time to be decided.”
Later in the week, during an early morning shower, it dawned on me — My passion for “Building Bright Financial Futures” and “Building Dynamic Relationships” can be perceived as Salesmanship. To be blunt, “It ain’t!”
My purpose is not to Close. It is to Open.
In fact, I believe and practice a recently self-minted mantra of the Three-E Formula, which is to: Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.
My goal is to broaden horizons, share stories, and provide feedback — for the express purpose of guiding others on the paths of their choice. Because each of our worldviews is different, I am very respectful of the unique choices that we, as individuals, make.
I have, absolutely, no desire to “close” anyone, or anything. At this point in my life’s journey, I refer and give away more projects than I accept. In fact, the Projects are of secondary importance. My passion is, all, about the People.
Many have heard me say, many times, “Never let anyone talk you into, or out of, anything. Hold firmly to your beliefs, until you choose to change them.”
That, my dear friends, is another of those fine lines. We fiercely maintain the boundaries of who we are and what we believe, while being open to new ideas. We walk the high-wire between these two realities: We perceive, only, what we believe — yet, infinite learning patiently waits for us.
This tightrope walk is made between the separate philosophies of Selling and Offering. One is competitively pushing customers to a closing — the other is compassionately guiding friends to an opening. One thinks business is about selling — the other believes life is about choices and providing others the opportunity to acquire what is right for themselves.
There is only one thing worthy of being “closed” and that is the Past. I’m passionate about the Present — right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. I believe the brightest Future is possible when we focus on using our financial resources to build dynamic relationships.