The Client-centred Blog

Stop worrying about your value

Many practitioners seem to waste time worrying about their value.

It is one of the reasons people take qualification after qualification.

So they can feel worthy.

I have often spoken with advisers who say things like, “I can’t go and speak to xxx (high net worth, professional connections, etc.) because I don’t have xxx qualification”).

Years ago, I used to share an office with an adviser who had so many letters after his name he needed an extension on his business card just to fit them all in!

He wanted to be impressive, but the fact was his client relationships were often superficial.

He was too consumed with how he came across.

He knew clients didn’t warm to him and he thought that more qualifications would take care of that problem, but alas.

Clients expect you to know what you are talking about. It’s a given.

How many times have you been asked for your qualifications by a prospective client?

For me, not once in nearly 30 years. Ok, maybe once. This is not what people are concerned about.

Far more pressing are their own fears, worries, and concerns.

In the book ‘The trusted Advisor’ they write:

“Since clients are often anxious and uncertain, they are, above all, looking for someone who will provide reassurance, calm their fears, and inspire confidence.”

Clients are often afraid of opening up to you because they don’t want to feel vulnerable. They don’t want to admit their mistakes and appear stupid. They are fearful of the future and the unknown.

How can you deal with this?

Not by pulling out your extended business card and showing them how clever you are.

I think it’s great to get qualified and continue your professional development but trying to be the expert or impressive creates a barrier.

This doesn’t pull people in. It pushes them away. It shuts things down and prevents people warming to you.

If I am a client, what I want to see, hear, feel and know is that you are deeply interested in me and my world.

Creating exceptional, transformational client relationships has its foundation in one thing.


And there is one activity, above all others, that takes care of this.

Deep listening.

Yet hardly anyone does this. Hardly anyone.

One of my coaches, Annika Hurwitt, taught me that the first step towards deep listening is to practice listening and not responding.

This doesn’t mean don’t ever respond. That would make you look weird. It means staying out of your own thinking and letting someone finish what they are saying. Give them time and space even when you might be tempted to think they have finished. When you pay full attention, you will know when someone has finished.

So, there is a massive opportunity right in front of you.

Deeply listen to the next person you encounter. Forget completely about your value and get into their world.

Everyone, without exception, who begins to practice this tells me that it immediately transforms the quality of their interactions and relationships.

P.S. I highly recommend George Pransky’s audio on listening. Click here.

John Dashfield

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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