Rainmaking secrets from the samurai


Have you heard of ju-jutsu?

It’s an ancient Japanese martial art.

The thing that separates ju-jitsu from many other forms of the martial arts is that it focuses on manipulating the opponent’s force against themselves, rather than confronting it with one’s own force.

So the warrior doesn’t waste a single ounce of energy.

Rather, the stronger the opponent, the greater the power at the command of the warrior – because it can all be used to trounce the opponent.

So what do these medieval practices have to do with the rough-and-tumble world of generating new business?

Plenty, if you know where to look and how to bend big energy to achieve your purpose.

The majority of financial professionals are like traditional soldiers, battering the “enemy” of closing a deal head-on, with all the strength at their disposal.

They talk about all the great strengths they bring to the table, hoping to use this power to “vanquish” the deal.

They’re dead wrong.

Using a ju-jutsu mindset will help you avoid wasting all this energy needlessly.

Instead, it will help you co-opt powerful forces to work in your favor and that of your prospective client, leaving everybody much better off.

The stronger the opponent, the greater the power at the command of the warrior 

The Seven Deadly Dangers

Whether they’re aware of it or not, every single person deals with seven big challenges that create stress and anxiety in their dealings with money.

It doesn’t really matter how much or how little they have, the challenges are always there, circling silently in the waters like a school of sharks.

Rainmaking secrets of the samurai

Photo by Rudney Uezu

  1. Fuzzy work: It’s difficult to define exactly what a financial “task” consists of. Without these sharp lines, everything becomes blurry and stressful, with no beginning and no end
  2. Cognitive overload: Financial information is dense and hard to understand, placing intense demands on already overburdened mental bandwidth
  3. Decision confusion: With an overwhelming number of choices of products and paths, making decisions becomes exhausting and fraught with fear about making a fatal mistake
  4. Buggy brains: The human mind is biased in ways that make it almost impossible to assimilate information properly, and to take action that we know we want to take
  5. Opaque professions:  When consumers don’t have professional expertise, and all providers sound exactly the same, it gets hard to differentiate between them and make the right choice.
  6. Product skepticism: The financial services industry as a whole bears the burden of proof, to show consumers that what they’re getting is appropriate and transparent
  7. Execution friction: Financial actions are notoriously laborious and tedious, involving an immense amount of red tape and bureaucracy. Often, finishing them can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

Turning the Tables on the Enemy

The bad news is that none of these problems will really go away because they owe their existence to some hard-to-change factors:

  • Increasing complexity of modern living and slim human bandwidth
  • The buggy human brain, hardwired for survival on the savannah, not for figuring out 401(k) math
  • Industry structure, particularly around incentives and conflict of interest, and information asymmetries,

The good news, however, is that you can co-opt these seven “enemies” and use their immense power to help your prospects and progress your own goals.

All you need to do is to flip the switch on your primary pitch – move away from touting “peace of mind” and “enjoy your wealth”.

Instead, surface these lurking fears in an empathetic and skillful way.

When you’re having the initial conversation, don’t start with goals.

And then show them how you can lay these demons to rest with what you bring to the table.

Rainmaking secrets of the samurai

Photo by Jungwoo Hong 

How can you do this well?

Step 1: Identify the Enemy

When you’re having the initial conversation, don’t start with goals.

Instead, probe to see which pain is disturbing your prospect’s mental equilibrium the most.

  • Is it the vague uncertainty of not knowing the right path?
  • The fear of doing something wrong?
  • Or just a desire to take the whole thing off their plates?

Identifying the one big thing that moved them enough to come and talk to you is absolutely key to success.

Step 2: Determine the Right Prescription

You’ve zoomed in on the “Big Itch”.

Frame your entire conversation and pitch around the top pain.

Use the language of this pain, and its impact on their equilibrium to demonstrate in very specific ways how you can make the pain go away.

To do this right,

  1. Create a list of everything your firm does extremely well
  2. Map each of these things to one or more of the seven major causes of financial discomfort.
  3. Articulate the relief that your offering provides in relieving that specific pain

The benefit?

The next time you’re having that critical conversation, you can immediately identify the exact parts of your firm’s offering that will stand out like a neon sign in the dark in your prospect’s mind:

  • I know that all this financial complexity is a hassle to you – that’s why our plan will be based on 5-7 main themes, each of which will help you address a specific goal or worry that prompted you to take action in the first pace.  Then you can drill down into each. Here’s an example…”
  • Taking care of your money is very time-consuming and I know you have a business to run. We take care of all the actions for you. We always check in with you before-hand with a quick reminder and summary, so you’ll always get to make the final call”
  • We know there are a lot of good firms out there. We specialize in working with divorcing individuals because we understand that divorce places enormous financial and emotional loads all at one of the most important points in your financial life”

Step 3: Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

As you have more conversations with more of your prospects, you’ll get sharper and sharper with your understanding of their precise pains.

And your pitch will get more honed than a surgeon’s scalpel.

Having a specific target market you’re going after will amplify your effectiveness even more.

It also becomes much easier to monitor changes over time and to make the tweaks needed to keep your appeal and effectiveness razor sharp.

The bonus? You’ll never have to sell based on “peace of mind” or “intentional living” again.

Get ready for your black belt in rainmaking.

What enemy force are you going to co-opt in your next ju-jutsu maneuver?


Ju-Jutsu entry in Wikipedia

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