The Client-centred Blog

When is my client ready for deeper conversations?

A question that comes up from time to time from advisers is ‘When is my client ready for deeper conversations?’

A typical scenario is that the adviser has a transactional relationship with a client and wants to shift to a financial planning relationship.

This question arises because there is a concern within the adviser about how a client may react to a different approach and a new line of questioning.

*What if they react negatively?

*What if they do not respond to deeper questions?

*What if they do not want a financial planning relationship?

I appreciate that these may seem like valid concerns but let us take a step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture.

Putting yourself in the shoes of a client what do you think would be more engaging for you?

a. A conversation about products, investments or what the markets are doing.


b. A conversation about you, what is important to you and how to get the life you want.

Advisers can talk far too much technobabble to clients. What this will do is undermine trust, not build it. 


Because products, investments and markets are in the adviser’s world. 

Of course, you need to know what you are doing but most clients are not turned on by this stuff. A conversation about pensions is hardly likely to have someone gripping the edge of their seat, is it?

Psychologist William James said:

‘The greatest need of the human soul is the need for appreciation, the need to feel important.’  

How do you make someone feel important?

Give them 100% of your attention. Be curious about them and their world. Be willing to listen unconditionally.

Attention is an exceedingly high value currency, and it is the foundation of being a ‘Trusted Adviser’. 

When is a client ready for deeper conversations?

When it makes sense to you, as the adviser. 

What this requires is you to firstly ask deeper questions of yourself. Even more powerful is to work with your own coach on this. The dynamic of working with someone is completely different to trying to figure it out on your own. 

If deeper conversations with clients is something new for you and you feel a little apprehensive, that is ok. Everyone feels this way when they do something new.

But are you really going to allow a little fear to stop you?

The fear is there because you genuinely care and this is a good sign, not a bad one.

Most clients and potential clients would love you to be deeply interested in them. Is it an act of deep service because very few people, if any, are going to take this level of interest in them.

P.S. Here is a link to a video I recorded on this subject. Click here to view.

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.