The Client-centred Blog

Financial Planning clients for life – the one thing you MUST do

Creating happy, enthusiastic, loyal financial planning clients for life requires you to do one thing well, and consistently.

What is that one thing?

As I began to write this piece a favourite book came to mind. Michael LeBoeuf’s, ‘How to win customers and keep them for life’.

Right at the beginning of the book he shares the results of a survey on ‘Why customers quit.’

“68% quit because of an attitude of indifference toward the customer by the owner, manager or some employee.

In other words, the customer does not feel cared for.

Caring is just another word for service

A financial planner I work with, Phil, told me about a client of his, Trevor.

Trevor was a typical small business owning entrepreneur. He had worked extremely hard to build a successful enterprise, which included him working every Saturday for many years.

The business was now well established, profitable, and required far less of Trevor’s input. Part of his financial plan included cutting back on his hours so he could spend more quality time with his family, something his wife was very keen for him to do.

Trevor had discussed the financial implications with Phil, and it was completely do-able and no risk to the business.

However, another six months went by and yet Trevor was still going to work every Saturday.

Opportunities to serve clients are always there

Human beings are creatures of habit. Even when we want to change the thought of it can lead to procrastination or inaction.

Phil realised this and so at their next meeting he pulled Trevor up on failing to keep his commitment. He did not let Trevor wriggle off the hook and kept silent whilst Trevor thought.

Six months later…

Trevor proudly shared with Phil that he had not worked a single Saturday since their last conversation and he was loving it. His wife and family were extremely pleased too.

Trevor thanked Phil and said their last conversation was the catalyst.

He also remarked that this change was extremely valuable to him and this alone made Phil’s fees worth every penny and more.

Financial Planning clients for life – the one thing you MUST do

What is the one thing that Phil did for Trevor?

He created value. He made a difference. When you keep doing this, you have a client for life.

How do you create value?

It requires that you go beyond the ‘routine work’ and do something that has your client thinking, feeling, and behaving differently.

Value can be added in an infinite number of ways. But doing it consistently requires caring, attention, imagination, creativity and, at times, courage.

The value creating mindset

Whenever you travel with a commercial airline you are taken through the safety procedures by the flight attendants. One of the instructions is that in an emergency you put your oxygen mask on first.

Why?

Because if you are gasping for air you are not going to be able to help anyone else, are you?

Similarly, if you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, over-burdened, and time poor then you are not going to be able to devote your time and attention to caring for other people, including your clients. This is what Michael LeBoeuf was pointing out in his book.

So, the key to creating value begins with your and your teams state of mind (Are you sharpening the saw?).

I share a new paradigm of how the human mind works because this simple understanding leads to greatly increased mental presence, clarity of thought and the ability to effortlessly generate creative ideas. This includes putting clients front and centre and creating value for them in unexpected ways.

‘My experience is that having gained an understanding of state of mind and the importance of being totally present at client meetings it meant that I discarded most of my distractions such as meeting agendas so that my focus is on what the clients are telling me rather than thinking about the next point on the agenda. I am more relaxed and calm before and during the meetings due to the fact that I am not busy minded with all of the stuff that I used to be thinking about. In turn that makes be more present, so I can truly listen to the client. This has created a massive improvement in both the clients and my experience of meetings and ultimately and improved outcome for all concerned.’ Paul Tracey, Principal of Provest Financial Solutions

P.S. I recorded an interview with Paul Tracey about his approach to financial planning. You can download it here.

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