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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

During a recent role-play involving a DIY prospect, an advisor commented: "Well, he likes investing his own money." This prompted an interesting discussion, as most participants seemed to agree with this comment despite the fact that nothing in the text or the subtext of the prospect's responses indicated that he enjoyed managing his money. The ONLY thing we had learned at this point in our role-play was the prospective client managed his money because he hates paying fees.

Let's consider one of your neighbors who mows his own lawn. Do you assume that he enjoys the experience? Well, that could be his "why." What else might be his reason?

  • Sees it as a form of needed exercise or therapy
  • Trying to rationalize the decision to buy an expensive tractor
  • A bad experience with a landscaper
  • Hates the thought of paying someone to do it
  • Simply a matter of habit — "been cutting my own lawn for years"

Do any of these alternative reasons suggest your neighbor actually likes mowing his own lawn? Hardly!

The point is that there could be a whole host of reasons someone locks into a specific action, behavior or attitude — making assumptions can lead you down the wrong path.

Bottom line: Rather than make assumptions about DIY prospects, engage with an open mind and by asking thoughtful open-ended discovery questions. Your goal is to create a motivating environment that helps someone overcome inertia and ultimately become inspired to take action.