Those who tell their stories rule the world. So say industry consultants and advisor coaches John Bowen, founder and CEO of CEG Worldwide, and Bo Eason, a former NFL player turned playwright and public speaker who is also a Senior Fellow with CEG.
“Story connects the human race,” Bowen said during a four-hour workshop he and Eason co-led at the Loring Ward 2012 National Education Conference, held June 5-7 in Monterey, Calif. “There is only one shortcut to success. You must be able to impact people emotionally with your story.”
All roads lead to your personal story, the duo said. As you “own” your voice and unleash your story, your creativity, performance and capacity in every area of your life will go to new heights.
“This is the age of storytellers,” Eason said. “We live in a dream society and those who capture the attention and hearts of their audience have immense power to lead and influence.”
Walking The Talk
Eason, who walked his talk by kicking off the conference with an evening performance the day before the workshop, had essentially bared his soul on stage for a full 90 minutes as approximately 100 Loring Ward employees and conference attendees sat in rapt attention as Eason dramatized challenging periods and turning points in his life.
“Essentially, we are bringing Broadway to Monterey,” said Loring Ward EVP Steve Atkinson during his introduction before Eason’s acclaimed one-man show began. “Prepare to be engaged and possibly disturbed by some of the elements in the show,” Atkinson warned. “If you get queasy from seeing needles or blood, avert your eyes.”
Hailed by the New York Times as, “one of the most powerful plays of the last decade”, The Runt of the Litter is a highly personal story performed by Eason. The performance set the context for Eason and Bowen’s half-day workshop the following day.
At the end of Eason’s opening night performance, the advisors in attendance had much to discuss over dinner and an awards ceremony that included singing “Happy Birthday” to Alan Werba, a former partner in Reinhardt Werba Bowen Inc. (acquired by Assante Capital Management Inc. in 1998 and later reconstituted as Loring Ward).
“Loring Ward has a rich and vibrant history that began over 20 years ago,” said Loring Ward CEO Alex Potts. “We were founded by 3 independent financial Advisors (Reinhardt, Werba and Bowen) who wanted to create a better advisory practice model. I’m happy to welcome John Bowen to the stage,” Potts said as he announced that Bowen was receiving the Loring Ward lifetime achievement award that night.
“All this reminiscing ties in nicely to our theme of ‘storytelling’ today,” Bowen said. I’m pleased to have been a part of the company’s success.”
Loring Ward provides investment management, comprehensive back office support, and practice management solutions to independent financial Advisors and their clients. In 1991, Loring Ward partnered with leading institutional money manager Dimensional Fund Advisors in order to bring institutional money management to the advisors it serves. In 1999, Loring Ward launched their own fund family, the SA Funds, which are sub-advised by Dimensional.
Over the course of the half-day storytelling workshop that took place the following day, Bowen and Eason offered the following tips:
1. Love your story.
“If you don’t care about your story or your dream, nobody else will either,” Eason said. “You must fall in love with your life experience, the ups, the downs, the tears and the triumphs, the blood and the sweat. The miles you’ve already run all result in a unique, valuable perspective on the world. It’s compelling – and it’s the most valuable asset you have,” Eason said.
2. Dive deep and get personal.
“The more personal your story, the more universal it becomes,” Bowen said. “Share from our own experience. Talk about the stories that give your life its greatest meaning and fulfillment.
3. Cut to the chase.
“Talk about that one thing that still hurts, that gives you shame, that you still fear, the one aspect or experience of your story that fully reveals the depth of your humanity. Be more courageous than the rest and you will begin to live a life you never imagined,” Eason said.
4. Go big or go home.
“I’m not talking about giving to charity or volunteering time,” Eason said. I’m talking about the art of giving all of oneself, all of the time. Your generosity is equivalent to your income. If you want more money, give more of yourself and your story to the world.”
“Most financial advisors are very logical and left-brain dominant, but 84% of affluent investors are right-brain dominant, which means they want to connect emotionally first and then justify their decision to work with you with logic,” Bowen said.
Mastering Your Personal Story
Bowen and Eason will be conducting a live webinar called “Connect with New Affluent Clients by Mastering Your Personal Story” on June 27. The goal is to help advisors develop their own stories to be used to quickly establish trust and intimacy with clients and prospective clients.
Later that afternoon, while at the Loring Ward conference, I was pleased to present my own one-hour session on Marketing that Works for Advisors Today. I’ll share highlights from that presentation -- as well as some additional insights from a consumer sentiment panel, conducted live, right at the conference – in my next Marketing Maven installment.