Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Is shared ownership the answer for your family farm?

A few weeks back our family was at grandpa's farm taking some family pictures.  As we were there we were experimenting on a couple of different shots.  This one is of Jhett and Libby on our little John Deere 790.  Our cameraman, Colt Warren caught this picture and I think it tells a great story. 

#1- Everyone loves the family tractor- Whether you are in farming or in some other family business, many people have fond feelings towards the family business or at least parts of it.  Just because everyone loves it doesn't mean that sharing it will be a good idea.  

Example- One family I work with has a family cabin on a beautiful lake.  They all agree that they have many great memories there.  Because of this mom and dad have planned to give it to their kids as a shared ownership asset.  Seems like a good idea at first until the next generation has to begin paying property taxes, maintenance costs and then sharing decision making over house upgrades, scheduling the use of the property etc.  What was once an asset that represented fun and family has now become something that will probably drive a wedge between them.

#2- Who gets to drive, who gets to ride and who has to watch?- This picture illustrates that Libby was interested in being in control.  She didn't want Jhett to ride.  In family business there is a need for clarity regarding who will control the assets and have ultimate say with business decisions.  

Please don't misunderstand, shared ownership can be a wonderful thing.  It can lead to business success and even deepen personal relationships if done right.  However, it should not be assumed that things will just work out well.  There need to be plans in place, structures created, and expectations established for owners, managers and employees.  

If you'd like to learn more about the challenges and opportunities with shared ownership, you should plan on buying my book.  It's called, "The Farm Whisperer" and is coming out very soon.  

Send an e-mail to if you'd like to be notified when it comes out.  

Dave Specht

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sell Like a Plumber!!

As I was driving to town I was thinking about marketing and sales.  I was thinking about how wrong so many professionals in the financial services industry approach their job.  I started thinking of some of my mentors and how they have become successful.  One example of someone doing it right is Randy Johnson, one of my close friends from Nebraska and an extremely successful life insurance professional.  Why is he so successful?  Does he have some secret pitch, some magic close that make people want to buy from him?  Maybe......

Just as I was thinking about what makes him successful I passed a plumber's truck.  Something in my mind clicked.......that was it!  He sells like a plumber!

Let me explain.  Have you ever had a plumber knock on your door and brag about how nice his pipe wrench is or how special his plumber's tape is?  Does he brag that he is smarter than other plumbers to get the opportunity to work for people?  Does he TELL people what he wants to do for them? Probably not.  He ASKS good questions.  He finds out what they really need.

Plumbers are focused on solving people's problems, making people's lives easier, more comfortable.  Plumbers are willing to do the dirty work and get into uncomfortable positions at times to help the customer.  Why don't we all do that?  Why don't we emulate the plumber?  If professionals in the financial services industry would begin to sell like plumbers the public perception would improve and they would be more successful.

I'm going to work on it!  I hope you do too.

In my new book, "The Farm Whisperer" I will unveil several techniques that advisers can use to serve generational farmers to preserve their relationships and perpetuate their farms.  If you want to be one of the first to know about when it will go live, shoot me an e-mail.

Until next time,

Dave Specht