Let’s postpone the election

President Trump lit the Twitterverse on fire and sent pundits scrambling for their cameras and microphones this week when he suggested that the combination of the pandemic and irregularities in mail-in voting suggest that we should delay the November election. One thing the president does well is attract attention. And financial advisors can learn from that.

The way you describe what you do can be more interesting. It need not be as incendiary as Trump tends to be. But saying something provocative grabs attention. It sets the agenda for conversation.

You can use this principle to engage people in discussing what you do, that simply describing your principles or stating the facts cannot. Hyperbole is a fun conversation starter. What would it sound like if you took some of your strategies and exaggerated one aspect of them so that they sounded counterintuitive, even silly?

Pay more tax! If you believe many clients are deferring so much into retirement plans that they are creating a potential problem with required minimum distributions, you might recommend they stop retirement plan contributions. Or, you may believe that tax rates may be going up substantially over the coming decade as a result of the mounting federal debt. Either way, saying you help clients increase their tax bills can prompt a question that gives you permission to explain it.

It’s safer to take more risk. If you incorporate alternative asset classes into your strategy because you believe it can lower the overall risk of a portfolio, telling people you assist clients in taking additional risk can be a clever way to introduce that idea.

Knock off your spouse. Stepping through estate documents to confirm with clients that assets will be distributed the way they intend can be a valuable exercise. You can describe it clinically as “review estate documents” or you can say “we knock each of you off to see what happens.”

We lose people’s attention when we speak in jargon. And even words that you might believe to be simple and straightforward can be confusing to people who don’t use them on a regular basis, like “cash flow.”

Hyperbole, especially with humorous intent, can take you beyond word selection and make your point more interesting. Overdramatizing things a bit can provoke interest and encourage conversation.

How can you turn some of your services or principles into a presidential tweet?

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