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Why I Lied and Walked Out of His Retirement Presentation

My husband and I recently attended a (direct mail) seminar on retirement at Flemings steak house.

20 minutes into the presentation (tempted to make a scene) I chose to lie about feeling sick and my husband and I left before any food was served, I was happy to relinquish our steak dinner. While I was aghast at the content of the presentation what we later learned was that we escaped from being held captive for 1 ½ hour before they would serve any food or drink. Who does this?

It wasn’t just his rhetoric about how most financial advisors charge excess fees. It wasn’t just his statements about how most advisors push investors into the equity markets knowing they will lose money or using charts to substantiate his position. It wasn’t just how he isolated his metrics during market downturns. What really got to me was the slick, seamless style of his presentation using canned jokes with NO authenticity. In fact, before starting his presentation he craftily indicated there would be no questions until the end.

The whole experience was appalling to me on so many levels:
  • There was no mingling beforehand, you entered the room and took your seat in a very small crowded room. We were simply buying units.
  • His script was perfect, too perfect, he spoke fast, used pre-planned billboards, even his jokes were staged, he was a machine.
  • He shared little to nothing about who he was other than name, firm and years of experience. He did little to build trust and a level of comfort, necessary for most women, this was your classic dog and pony show.
  • He rarely engaged the audience and clearly explained there would be no questions until the end.
  • He consistently talked about the unethical nature of advisors who promote equities and charged excess fees stating when the markets go down they still get paid.
  • He used market charts to prove his point about how the markets only lose money, making sure his charts only included the bear market years
  • His tactics were based on fear, misconstruing important information to support his promotion of annuities.
  • And this was just the first 15 minutes!

    As a specialist on how to create a female-friendly practice and engage women more effectively, this was a great example of what NOT to do with men OR women. Events like this perpetuate the long-held belief that most advisors are only in it for the money, using high-pressure tactics to get the sale.

    Related: Women’s Momentum is Off the Charts

    I sincerely thought those types of events were extinct. With 16 men and 19 women in the room (yes I counted), I couldn't imagine he would capture the hearts and minds of many in the audience especially since the majority was women. And while I am not against annuities we all know you only need one big ticket to get a return on your marketing investment but what this advisor didn’t understand was that the long term negative impact to his business was even more substantial.

    Like me, many of those women will leave the event with a sour taste in their mouths. They too will share with other women the negative experience they had which does not bode well for that advisor nor any other advisor. Had he built a sincere rapport with the women, had he treated the audience as intelligent human beings, had he fed them without entrapping them in the room he may have won more loyalty, more business and a reputation as an advisor who is ethical and respectful resulting in more business, more assets, and more referrals.

    It’s time to start building relationships using sincere and authentic communication . It's time to start inspiring prospects to consider other options. It’s time to start motivating your audience to make the best decision for their unique circumstance. This is the new age advisor, the future of the business, and the foundation for creating a female-friendly practice that grows exponentially.