A Box of Crayons

A Box of Crayons

What’s your favorite color? The correct answer is blue, because that’s my favorite.

Warped thinking? Absolutely. But this is exactly how many of us are planning for our clients’ retirement.

At a recent speaking engagement, I was reminded that in order to serve, we need to use the tools that fit those we are serving. Another speaker had been a member of the Swiss Guard, an elite team that serves as the Pope’s security detail. He told stories of his time with the pontiff, but the one that stuck with me was about a gift he had purchased for his son during one of his trips abroad: a box of crayons.

His son had asked what he should draw, and in which colors. The speaker told his son to draw what was important to him and in his favorite colors.

The Pope, he said, was the same way: he believed that everyone had the tools they needed to tell their own story, paint their own picture – and to do so for a greater purpose.

The metaphor works nicely for the insurance industry, too. We may have plenty of crayons to choose from, but in order to draw the best pictures, we have to make sure that we’re using all of them – not just our favorite. Put another way, we have to make sure we’re using all of the tools at our disposal. At the end of the day, every person we serve is unique, with their own needs and plans. They deserve their specific crayon.

We must paint the clients’ picture, not ours. It’s easy to get caught up in what practice and expertise can give to a client. Instead, we have to use their eyes and ears to deliver the value that’s important to them – and at the right time. Our clients are the heroes of their own story. Our role is to provide them the tools they need to create a happy ending.

Winning Strategy

Think about having a box of Crayons as your toolkit. Leverage the tools for your clients that make the greatest difference.

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now – learn more at http://www.freethrowsforpros.com.