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Don’t Be That Guy: How to Be a Better Advisor When Meeting New People

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It has been so long since I have encountered a classic good ole boy advisor that I was stunned into silence.
 

I was introduced to Tom at a holiday party and learning he was a financial advisor, I looked forward to engaging in an interesting conversation. But after just five minutes I was planning my escape, which couldn’t come fast enough.

It was almost painful listening to him boast about his 1,300 clients and all of the industry deals in which he helped play a role. He practically shared his complete resume, telling me how great he was and how he would never retire. Was I really supposed to be impressed by all of this, because I most definitely was not. In my mind it was like being transported back to the cave man days of martini bars, short skirts, and hot stocks.

There was no back and forth to our conversation. It was a one-way trip to Egoville with no room for authenticity or sharing of idea. Each time there was a short break (as he gasped to fill his lungs for the next round of automatic bragging) I tried to show interest, stroking his ego a bit, which only encouraged his tirade about a time when he was King. I noticed his girlfriend who was obviously bored hearing the same old stories, but still listening obediently. Ughhh.   

When I did finally get a word in I expressed how I help advisors build stronger relationships with women. With no surprise his automatic response was, “I do great with women.” In my mind I shook my head, as this had to be the farthest thing from the truth. When my husband and I finally did leave the party I couldn’t wait to jump in the car and spew my disgusts to him about this person and his self-centered dialogue.

So why did this one conversation take up so much space in my head?
 

I mulled over it over for days until I realized the real lesson to be learned, the fact that I was shocked by this behavior was significant.

Fifteen to 20 years ago this kind of conversation would have been status quo but not now; that’s why this advisor stuck out like a sore thumb. Granted, there are still some good ole boys out there (I could name a few), but most have learned to wait until the door is closed before they start patting themselves on the back.  

I began to reflect on the hundreds of fabulous male advisors I have coached and trained— male advisors who want to improve the lives of others while still bringing home the bacon to support their families.  

Advisors who want to create a better environment for women, where women are encouraged to become more engaged in their finances.  

Advisors who want to transform the reputation of the industry from the wolfish image to one of value and professionalism.  

As I continued to reflect on the hundreds of wonderful men who are committed to building a practice that is highly ethical, I realized that in many ways we really have come a long way. It’s so easy to focus on the few who make our business tainted and corrupt, instead of focusing on the many who truly care about changing and improving the lives of others. The fact that I was shocked was definitely significant.

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