What Advisors Can Learn From the Death of Tony Hsieh

It’s Not Crazy… It’s A Smart Business Move

If I suggested you do this any time over the last 10 years, you would have thought I was crazy. It turns out it was the perfect thing to do, both then and now.

I’m talking about Tony Hsieh, the creator of Zappos, who tragically died this month and who sold his company back in 2009 to Amazon for over a billion dollars. He died without an estate plan or even a simple will.

Now imagine back in 2009 if I came to you and said, “I’ve just heard that Tony sold his business to Amazon for over a billion dollars. You’ve got to connect with him and talk with him about estate planning, even try and get him interested in doing a basic will,” you would have laughed me out of your office. The assumption would be, “Hey, he’s got a cadre of professionals ready to do all of these things for him. He’s got CPAs. He’s got estate attorneys who would have all these details dialed in. That’s just going to be a waste of time.” But as it turns out, that is not the case. He did not have these things taken care of.

As advisors, we can look around and see people who we’d love to have on board with us as clients, maybe wealthier business owners in the community, who we just assume have these details taken care of for them, but who often don’t. This presents you with a phenomenal opportunity to show how you provide value by taking care of what matters most. But understandably, we get in our own way. We get inside our own heads and think that “Wow, there’s a great opportunity.” But immediately these negative voices go off, and we start saying to ourselves, “Yeah, but they’ll have these details taken care of. They’ll have all these matters taken care of and locked down tightly. Surely, I mean, look at how productive and how wonderfully blessed they’ve been with what they’ve created. All of those financial issues would be dealt with properly and professionally.”

Don’t assume that. Learn from Tony Hsieh’s example that not everybody has these details in place, and don’t overthink it.

So when you’re looking out there at your community and you see opportunities like this where you think you can provide real value to people,

  1. Don’t overthink it. Don’t assume they have all these details dialed in.
  2. Research the person. Research them and the firm they’ve just sold, and understand more about them. Learn what might be important to them.
  3. Don’t listen to those voices in your head. Reject those voices telling you, “No, they’ll have this all taken care of.” Instead, just go out there and make yourself known to them. Make that introduction. Look, what’s the worst that can happen to you? All they’re going to tell you is, “Thanks, but no thanks. We’ve got these details dialed in.” That’s the worst it gets. But what’s the best thing that can happen? Maybe you’re going to hear from them, as an advisor needed to do from Tony Hsieh, you’re going to hear them say, “This is perfect timing, and you’re the exact person I’m needing to talk with.”

Go out there and find these people who desperately need your help. Don’t be discouraged. Just be bold. Take that first step, and you’ll be amazed at just what might come through for you.

I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.