The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
'If it's not one thing, it's another'

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Eaton Vance disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Eaton Vance are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Eaton Vance fund. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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      By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      Perhaps you remember Gilda Radner's beloved character, Roseanne Roseannadanna, from the early years of "Saturday Night Live." These days, the memorable phrase Roseanne used to sum up her sage advice keeps reverberating through simulations of prospecting phone calls with advisors:

      "It just goes to show you, it's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another."

      Years ago, Dr. Robert Brooks taught me about the challenges of "thought-flooding," which occurs when someone has too many thoughts coming together in his/her brain all at once. When financial advisors face a thought-flooded prospect, it often leads to frustration. Here's Dr. Brooks' recommendation:

      "Start with validating what the person says. From there, pick one thing and openly explain that we can work on one thing and start problem-solving rather than talking about 10 problems. If you are talking about multiple problems, how can you possibly find a solution?"

      Consider a prospective client Julie who is in the throes of two major life transitions — retirement and divorce. Perhaps you could lessen Julie's anxiety with the following question:

      "Julie, what is it that you are MOST worried about."

      Moving into our second year of living through a pandemic, Rosanne Roseannadanna's observation seems omnipresent. A prospective client does not need to be in the midst of big life transitions to feel anxious; after all, "If it's not one thing, it's another."

      Bottom line: When someone seems a bit overwhelmed with multiple issues, ask them, "What is it that you are MOST worried about?"