Feb 10: Just Give Them a K.I.S.S.

Feb 10 SimpleC’mon – gimme a big K.I.S.S!  That’s what your clients are saying.  No, not THAT kind of kissing!  #GoodGrief Clients want the “Keep It Simple Stupid” kind.  Basically I’m saying, stop being YOU and start being THEM.

So these are all true stories and they have a lot to do with why I started my website.

  • Story #1 – – Crummey
    • I worked in estate planning for quite a few years.  Nice, prestigious San Francisco boutique firm working on ultra-high net worth clients’ planning needs.  I had a man call in to our office and he was pretty pissed off.  He wanted to know why we were being paid for Crummey work.  I started to explain it was part of the estate planning attorney’s fees and he got a little angrier with me and said he shouldn’t pay for Crummey work.  After a couple of tries it dawned on me that he was saying “crummy” work while I was thinking of “Crummey” work.  I was so saturated in the estate planning Kool-Aid that I couldn’t see it from his perspective.  I didn’t laugh either.  It was such an honest misunderstanding, I was actually embarassed at myself for being so insensitive.
  • Story #2 – – COI
    • I worked at an isurance company as a new business case manager.  A woman called in and kept asking why I was referencing “COI” in my letters?  I remembered pausing because she was saying “COI” like coi, as in goldfish.  I couldn’t figure out why in the world she was saying “coi”?  It then dawned on me that she didn’t know “Cost of Insurance” charges was abbreviated as COI in insurance correspondence.  Again, I was so into my own jargon and did a disservice to this person.  How disappointed I was in what I had done.
  • Story #3 – – WOP
    • I worked at a brokerage office as an underwriter.  I typed an email to an advisor whose language was NOT insurance and said something to the effect that I could not get WOP approved for a policy.  He wrote me back and asked why I would want to “wop his client”.  I sat there thinking, “Huh?”  Again – – I had done it AGAIN!  Inside my own head too much and I should have said Waiver of Premium instead of assuming he knew what WOP was.  Especially since I knew that insurance was not this gentleman’s area of expertise.  Shame on me!  Argh!
You see we all do it.  Whether we mean to or not, we do this.  It’s a tremendous disservice to our community of clients.  Successful advisors recognize it (or have fabulous assistants who do) and stop talking to clients in OUR jargon and start communicating with a client as THEY would and help them understand this crazy world we work in.
So stop using jargon that makes us sound savvy and start using words that consumers can actually understand.  Give them a big K.I.S.S!
Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

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