In a recent coaching session I had a client approach me with the following:
“Steve, I’ve got a situation I’d like to have your input on.
I have a client who is taking out a $33,000 home equity loan. She is going to use about $7,000 of it for home improvements and wants to know where she should put the rest of her money.
If I blurt out that she would do well to invest the money in a tax deferred financial instrument that would help her fund her child’s college education, she’s going to go ask her CPA, who won’t understand the strategy and he’s going to poop on it. (It’s happened before.)
What do I do?”
Bill, You’ll want to ask her several questions about the advice her CPA has given her or not given her about paying for college. The goal is to get her to realize that her CPA doesn’t know crap about how to properly advise her about college funding. You can’t tell her that directly because she will defend the guy. So, you will use the ‘assumptive questioning technique’ by asking questions that you already know the answer to. These questions are designed to get her to realize that you and you alone are the expert in this area.
Questions I would ask: (Assumptive Technique)
1. What did your CPA / financial advisor tell you about the federal guidelines on income requirements, how family need is calculated in applying for funding and scholarships, etc.?
2. When your CPA told you that there were 5 ways to pay for college which one did he say was the best alternative for you?
3. When your CPA told you that there were 4 areas that you need to become expert in order to most effectively pay for college what did he say those four areas were?
4. What else did he not tell you that he should have told you about how to effectively fund your child’s college? Then rescue the guy by saying, “Mary, that’s not unusal. Most CPAs or financial planners are generalists and are not specialist experts on how to best plan for college funding. This is such a complicated issue and it is the only thing our firm specializes in. May I ask you a question? Does it make sense to take the advice of a well meaning generalist in this area or does it make sense to work with someone who is a specialist?
You must eliminate and neutralize the other guy from any serious consideration and establish yourself as THE ONLY CHOICE. Anything less and she will not take your advice. Failure to do this will result in her taking your information and proposal back to her CPA and asking HIM for advice. When that happens you lose the sale.
As always your thoughts and/or comments on this article are welcomed and appreciated. Add your comments below!
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