You greet your client. Then you move in friendly fashion to your favorite gathering place. You gaze into her eyes or his. You have some small talk, build some trust. Maybe insert some humor in an attempt to relieve the likely tensions implicit in a pending money conversation. The point is to establish a bond. And then, thinking you are alone, you go to work.
So far so good, except for one little problem. An essential element of your operating premise is flawed. To be precise, you are most certainly not alone. It just seems like it because the door is closed with just you and your client(s) inside.
In fact, there are many others right there in the room with you. Unseen, unnamed, devoid of fiduciary relationships of any kind by any measure, easily ignored and even more easily underappreciated-there are actually many, many, many people there. That is the nature of money. Its ability to tie us together with so many others defies physical limitations of mere time and space. In some ways of thinking, there are literally billions of people in your conference room.
Can you cope with such numbers? Of course. You are a professional. But consider and beware: Your best laid plans might have been magnificent, but if those others in the room slip objections into your clients' subconscious, those best laid plans might just be toast.
Among your many tasks at this crucial moment is to consider how these unseen folks might have infiltrated your clients' most intimate thought processes and relationships with money. Who might these people be, and how do they fit into your clients' financial lives? They come in various guises, missions and psychic intensities.
Among the first group of influentials are those celebrated people-generals and politicians, storytellers and mythmakers, teachers and preachers, wise ones and elders, explorers and creators-whose values, accomplishments and personalities have affected individuals and cultures and left a mark on their times. Such people help form the consciousness of mankind's various ages and make us who we are. These people of culture have shaped your client's value systems, though he might not know it, as well as his basic understanding of money, wealth and the meaning of life. Their song might be long over, but their melodies linger into an infinite future. They can sometimes contribute to irrational fears, but they often nurture hopes and structure notions of right and wrong, duty and dreams, power and impotency, grace and sin.
Also in the room are your clients' loved ones and the others they are concerned about. Parents can be exceptionally strong when they are in the room. Who are they? Were they children of the Great Depression or the Great War? Korea or Vietnam? What values were imposed upon them? What values have they transmitted?
Who died prematurely? What promises were broken? What are their family's mythologies? Who was the favorite parent? Who were they to the outside world? What are their surprises? What did they inherit?
Was there tragedy? Did it lead to fear?