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Colorful wisdom

Timothy D. Clairmont, MSFS, CFP

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When everyone can easily look up the answer to any question, emotional intelligence can be a differentiator in your business. Clairmont explains how he has applied a system of colorized personality types to his clients and how that helps organize their service.

Click here to find more from the 2018 Annual Meeting

Having a high IQ isn’t enough anymore. With the invention of the internet, now everyone is brilliant. Everyone can google the right answers.

Psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman said, “In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.”

The key to success in the future is having a high EQ. What is your emotional quotient? How well can you connect with your clients, your team, your referral partners?

It turns out that there are only four basic personality types, and Hippocrates identified them over 300 years ago.

We’ve all probably heard of some of the popular personality tests like Myers Briggs and DISC, but the speaker that I heard at the MDRT Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California, in 2012 used a different approach. He assigned colors to the four personality types: Blue, Green, Orange, and Gold.

In his speech, Stu Schlackman shared that:

Blues are the selfless artists of the world. They are most likely to pursue a cause for humanity. They care more about others than they do about themselves.

Greens are the engineers of the world. These are the researchers and detail-oriented people. They ask questions about their questions.

Oranges are the outgoing people in the world. They are always interested in having bigger and better amazing experiences, and they thrive on being the center of attention.

Golds are the organizers of the world. They relish structure and are likely to organize their closets by size, shape, category, and color.

There is a lot more to learn about these four personality types, such as which colors make decisions quickly and which ones take their time, which colors are opposites and will likely have conflict with each other, and which professions tend to attract certain personality types.

Understanding yourself is always helpful. I’m sure that many of you are wondering what your color score might be like right now. This is mine, by the way. [visual] But, how do we use this in business?

The first thing we did in 2012 is that we had our staff take the color test. We discovered that there were a few personalities that didn’t quite fit with the culture of our firm. We made some changes. Things are better now.

Now we use the insight spectrum survey with every new hire. We use it to increase productivity, align people with their natural desires, and position our team members where they will shine best.

Next, we applied it to our clients. We wanted to connect faster, make our client relationships deeper, and build a client base of people we enjoyed working with.

There were some clients whom we really liked. They were loyal. They made good money. They were fast decision makers. Then there were other clients. Well, let’s just say that we didn’t enjoy working with them quite as much.

So, what did we do?

No, we didn’t fire a bunch of our clients.

Instead, by looking at our clients through Stu’s colored lenses, we altered our service model.

When a blue client calls, we take more time and make sure we focus on connecting with them about their friends and family. (By the way, no one beats a loyal blue in a referral competition.)

For the greens, we repeat back their questions so they know we got it right. We never guess. We tell them what we know, and if we don’t know, we tell them that we’ll research the answer and get right back to them.

The orange clients are always kept happy by our asking them about the newest and most exciting experiences they’ve had.

When a gold client calls, we get right down to business. We’re bottom-line oriented and we talk in bullets.

The easiest way we’ve learned our clients’ service preferences is by decorating our office with purpose.

We put family pictures on one wall for the blues. We put my CFP certificate and master’s degree on another wall for the greens. (They love education.) We put a picture of me scuba diving in Iceland on a third wall for the oranges. Then I just see which wall they gravitate to first.

What about the golds? Rather than look at pictures, the golds usually walk in, sit down, and get right to business.

By serving our clients the way they want to be served, our clients’ customer satisfaction has shot through the roof!

As you choose which sessions to attend here at MDRT, remember, your entire business could be transformed by one great idea.


Timothy Daniel Clairmont, CFP, MSFS, is an eight-year MDRT member with one Court of the Table and seven Top of the Table honors. He is the founder and CEO of Clear Financial Partners, a wealth management firm in Lake Oswego, Oregon. His 20 years of industry experience and passion for helping others resulted in international recognition in the financial community.


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