The Client-centred Blog

Getting clients to come to you


If you are building your practice then having an increasing number of people seeking you out and wanting to work with you is the ideal situation.

What could be better than having great conversations with interested people and hearing them say the magic words…

‘So, where do we go from here?’

Is this a situation you would love to happen more often?

All client relationships are built within conversations. It may be true that a good referral may come to you with already high expectations but those expectations still have to be fulfilled, or ideally, far exceeded.

The question is what kind of conversations exceed people’s expectations?

In my book ‘The Client-centred Financial Adviser’ I wrote a chapter on the three levels of client conversation…

Level 1 conversations are those conversations that focus almost entirely on financial products, investments, funds and markets.

Level 2 conversations are those conversations that operate on the level of identifying a financial problem to solve (such as an IHT problem) and then providing a solution.

Level 3 conversations are those conversations that, first and foremost, focus on exploring what matters most to your client, their values and getting clarity on what the life they want looks like.

To create further distinction, level 1 and 2 conversations are intellectual conversations with little or no emotional engagement.

Level 3 conversations are meaningful, emotionally engaging experiences that encourage a client to get reflective. This is what builds the bridge between your clients most important goals and your subsequent advice.

This is not to say that level 1 and 2 conversations are not part of the overall process, but if you are looking to create value then leading with these kind of conversation will at best get you into a transactional relationship and, at worst, completely turn someone off.

Just recently someone I know wanted to engage a financial planner and within a few minutes of their first meeting the planner turned the conversation to the differences between passive vs. active investing.

He didn’t get hired on that occasion.

Why are level 3 conversations so much more compelling and valuable for clients?

The late Thomas J. Leonard was a certified financial planner who went on to become one of the key founders of personal coaching. In his popular book ‘The Portable Coach’ he says…

‘My clients, I soon realised, wanted much more than knowing what stocks to buy. They wanted to acquire much more in life than wealth itself.’

So, he moved on to focusing not just on the money but also on helping his clients ‘become stronger and better and more successful in a well-rounded, lasting way.’

And here is the thing.

Clients do not care about pensions, investments or life cover. They do not care about what the markets are doing or passive vs. active investing. They do not care about financial planning.

Successful Financial Planner, Paul Tracey, founder of Provest Financial Planning said that no client ever comes to his practice asking for a financial plan and yet one of Paul’s biggest ‘problems’ is keeping up with the number of referrals his practice gets from existing clients.

You cannot not influence someone. Whatever you do is going to influence them in some way.

So, what kind of influence do you want to have?

When you understand the mechanics of how to operate in highly effective states of mind and bring out the best thinking in your clients then it becomes natural and easy to facilitate rich, meaningful and highly positive client meetings.

This is the platform for getting more clients to come to you.


John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.



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