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By David RichmanManaging Director, Advisor Institute

Life events, such as the sale of a business, can open doors to meaningful conversations if you leave yourself behind — this means doing your best to attempt to see the world through your clients' eyes instead of your own. Asking thoughtful discovery questions can help you better understand purpose and ultimately tailor the advice and guidance you may offer.

Consider a team workshop role play where the prospective client had just closed on the sale of his business — the first meaningful liquidity event for him and his family. The prospect was referred to the team by his lawyer Bill.

Advisor:  "Bill shared that you just sold your business."

Prospect: "Closed on the sale a few weeks ago."

Advisor: "That's great! Have you put any thought into what you would like to do with the proceeds?"

Upon debrief, the team agreed that the premature pivot to move the conversation to how to deploy the proceeds was a missed opportunity to celebrate the prospect's major accomplishment. 

Imagine the range of possible exploration that could unfold if the team members left themselves behind and responded with:

"Wow! Congratulations. Such an achievement. We have had the honor of serving other clients in your situation and know every business sale has a unique story. Would you mind sharing yours?"

Bottom line: Your first step in avoiding the "premature pivot" is to leave yourself behind.