The Client-centred Blog

Taming your advice monster

If you are an adviser then surely your job is to give advice, right?

Imagine this scenario.

You meet with a client or potential client and you politely ask some questions, you listen and soon you can see exactly what the clients problem is and you know you can help them solve it.

What you do next is a fork in the road.

The fork that many advisers will take is to immediately enter ‘problem solving’ mode.

But this makes you no different from what thousands of other advisers would do.

Why do we do it?

One reason is because it is safe. It is what you know. If you have spent thousands of hours to become an expert, then on one level it makes sense to share your hard earned knowledge.

There is a problem with this. In fact, several.

Jumping in too soon is short term thinking. It often stems from things such as a need to prove credibility. To prove your worth. To be liked. To please. To make some money.

It undermines the potential of what you could create.

Advisers who have high-impact relationships with clients are not tempted to jump in too soon. They will see the problems too, but instead they note them and continue to stay curious.

*What other problems could the client have?
*What does the client want most of all?
*What is the client concerned about with money and in their life?
*What would have most meaning for the client, right now?

What does service mean?

I used to have a much narrower view of service.

At one time it meant solving people’s problems, doing things on time and correctly. It meant keeping in touch with people.

All this is great and yet it is a standard, minimum level.

A wonderful question to ponder is:

How can I astonish, surprise, or wow this person by going over and above all expectations?

I have come to see that the meaning of service is something that can continually evolve. There is always the opportunity to serve clients in deeper and more creative ways – to make a bigger difference in their lives.

But this will not happen if we jump on the first problem we see. It happens because we are willing to keep asking questions, listening, and staying open to possibility.

Is this easy?

No. Which is why most people do not do it.

Steven Pressfield, in his book ‘Turning Pro’ wrote:

Each day, the professional understands, he will wake up facing the same demons, the same Resistance, the same self-sabotage, the same tendencies to shadow activities and amateurism that he had always faced.

The difference is that now he will not yield to those temptations.

He will have mastered them, and he will continue to master them.

P.S. I recommend ‘Turning Pro’ as a great little book to read if you want your work to feel fresh, inspiring and you are willing to challenge the way you approach things.

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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