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4 min read

Life Lessons: Half Moon Cookies

By Dave Resseguie on 3/15/22 10:00 AM

Topics: Advisor Today

Leonardo da Vinci said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

I learned one of the simplest lessons of my career from half-moon cookies. You know those black and white cookies? The New York style cookies?

For the last 14 1/2 years, I’ve committed myself to achieving the best level of personal mastery that I can by maintaining a personal commitment to understanding the psychology of influencing others through our effective communication.

There’s a massive difference between influence and manipulation...

To be clear - I am talking about influence!

I envision a day where our industry never again has a retention problem. Failure is not an option. We teach the habits and the disciplines that drive early productivity and high retention as you help that next generation of advisors be exceptional.

Because of this, we have spent a significant amount of time role-playing with financial professionals as they strive to better memorize, internalize, and personalize their language.

Back in the summer of 2010, I was role-playing phoning with an advisor in downtown Miami.

Our office building was attached by a corridor to the Intercontinental Hotel, and in the hotel lobby, there was a Starbucks. I'm a sucker for a Venti Blonde roast (I'll drink about 3 of these each day before 10 am...)

I told the advisor that we should go down to the Starbucks, grab a cup of coffee, and role-play in the lobby of the hotel. "It may make it feel more real because oftentimes our phoning is done while we are out of the office," I said.

Well, back in the day, Starbucks used to sell a 2 pack of half-moon cookies that were about an inch and a half in diameter.

These were some of the softest, most flavorful half-moon cookies you would ever bite into. Spongy to the touch, perfect mix of vanilla and chocolate... I’m salivating right now just thinking about it.

I got a coffee. "Chaz" got a water. I also got a pack of these half moon cookies. #SweetTooth

We sat down in the leather chairs in the lobby of the hotel getting ready to role-play. I took one of the two cookies out of the packaging, and I ate it.

I then asked Chaz: "Chaz, would you like the other cookie?"

To which he replied "No, that’s okay. I don’t really like cookies."

I said, “Please, you’ll like it. I promise. And I probably shouldn't have two of these, so if you don’t take it, I’m just gonna end up throwing it out. Please, have it?!"

He laughed and with a big smile on his face said, "Dave, I appreciate it, but I just really don’t like cookies. You have it."

I said, "Chaz, as a personal favor to me... if you don’t take this cookie, I’m literally gonna get up out of my chair, I'm going to walk over to that trash can over there, and I'm going to throw it out. And I don’t like being wasteful. That just goes against my values... PLUS it’s really good. I know you’ll like it. Please take the cookie."

So he took the cookie.

He took the packaging from my hand, began to take the cookie out of the packaging, and brought it right up close to his mouth getting ready to eat the cookie.

When it was right about to touch his mouth, I yelled at him: “STOP!!”

Other people in the lobby looked at me like something was happening. I didn't care.

He stopped. shocked... and looked at me... wondering what the heck was going on.

I said in a direct, forceful, and somewhat abrasive tone, "Give me the cookie!"

He looked at me—shocked.

I stretched out my arm, turned my forearm (so my palm was facing upward), moved my pointer finger back and forth in a “come here motion” and again said in a deep voice, "Chaz, give me the cookie."

He gave me the cookie.

I looked him square in the eyes, smiled, and said matter-of-factly: "I am going to eat this cookie!" 

And I popped the entire thing in my mouth! (This was pre-Covid, so I wasn’t all that worried about germs.)

After a brief pause, I asked, "Chaz, why did you take that cookie?"

He was confused.

I said, "Chaz, you told me you didn’t like cookies... And yet, you had this cookie in your hand, super close to your lips, and you were about ready to eat this thing. Why did you take the cookie?"

He said, "You wouldn’t leave me alone about it."

I said, "I’ll tell you why you took the cookie. You didn’t want me to tell me NO three times in a row…"

It’s been said that more than 50% of our yes's come at or after the third objection.

People do not want to reject you more than three times when you are offering something in a humble manner.

With a kind-hearted, servant-oriented, other-focused approach. Something that genuinely could be valuable for them.

One of my deepest beliefs when it comes to phoning is this. 

Phoning is not about us! 

Phoning is always, always, always about other people. 

It is one of the most selfless things that we can do. 

Give others every opportunity possible to say YES to meeting with you.

That meeting may just change their life!

Dave Resseguie is the Founder and Chief Shepherd of The Resseguie Group and a contributing columnist for Advisor Today.

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