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Four keys to highly motivated financial planning clients

In a perfect world all financial planning clients would be highly motivated to follow through with their financial plans and get the results they want.

Yet this is not a perfect world and I remember sometimes getting frustrated with clients that did not take the actions they needed to take.  

Do you ever feel like this?

If so, this article shares four keys to highly motivated clients I discovered and share with my clients. These will help you create the highest and best chance that clients will:

1. Be highly motivated to work with you

2. Follow through with the tasks that you need them to do

3. Be willing to take the actions necessary to achieve their goals

The shocking truth about advice

You would think that after consulting a professional and being given sound advice, people would follow through on what they need to do.

Yet if you ever experience clients not taking action then you would be far from alone. I would imagine every professional experiences this.

In the book, ‘Life Energy‘ by pioneering doctor, the late John Diamond, he shares a shocking truth. He has asked thousands of medical doctors how many of their patients follow their advice.

The general consensus is that it is less than ten percent! 

So, even for something as important as a person’s health less than ten percent of people are willing to follow the advice they are given.

I do not know what the figure is for financial advice but my guess is that a many people do not follow the advice they are provided with. 

You cannot motivate another person

Motivation is an inner drive or desire to take the actions necessary to accomplish a chosen outcome. It is an investment someone makes in themselves and their lives.

The thing is that you cannot motivate a person; you can only create an environment or the conditions in which someone is more likely to be motivated.

Why is this?

Because people are motivated for their own reasons, not ours or other peoples.

So, here are the 4 keys:

1. Ask more questions 

Let me share an experience that had great impact on me. 

The late Johnny Carson was a well-known American television host who had his own show, ‘The tonight show starring Johnny Carson’.

Going back many years I remember watching one show when one of his guests was ‘America’s top salesperson’. The guy came on and Johnny said, “So, you are America’s top salesperson. Sell me something then!”

The guy thought for a moment and then said, “Well, what do you want me to sell you?”

Johnny looked around and his eyes fell upon a decorative ash tray on the table. So, he asked the guy to sell him that.

The salesperson said, “What would you want that for?”

Carson gave a couple of reasons and the guy said, “Why else would you want it?”

Carson had to think but he came up with another reason.

The guy then said, “And what might you expect to pay for such an item?”

Carson thought and said, “Maybe $25”.

The salesman said, “It’s yours!”

What I thought was fascinating was that he did not try to entice, convince, or persuade Carson of anything. All the guy did was ask questions and listen.

In a similar way, asking more questions and listening helps people get clarity. Rather than persuading someone of why they should do something it is far more powerful to explore the question:

“What makes this worth doing?”

For a simple financial planning questions formula, click here.

The only step in a financial plan that really matters

A mistake I used to make was asking and expecting too much of people and then wondering why they did not follow through with it. 

Then I learned that motivation is something you get after you have taken action, not before. This is why the only step that really matters is the next tiny action that is do-able for the client.

How do you know if it is do-able?

Ask them and test it. If it is too much then agree with your client what they are willing and able to do. 

Magnify the consequences

There is a theory that humans are motivated by the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure.

One of the reasons people do not take action is that they are living in a kind of ‘grey zone’ where they do not associate significant pain or pleasure with an outcome. In other words, they go ‘unconscious’ about something.

We have all been there, right?

For instance, we know we should exercise more and stop eating and drinking too much of the wrong things but cannot seem to help ourselves.

Yet a moment of clarity can change everything.

A couple of years ago I had some professional photos done for my website and when I looked at them I realised I had developed a ‘lock down’ belly! 

Initially, I felt bad about it and then I felt motivated to change my behaviour and lost three inches from my waistline over the next few months.

The photos were like holding up a mirror and I did not like what I saw.

Done in an environment of loving kindness it is entirely appropriate to conversationally hold a mirror up to your clients thinking and behaviour and where it will lead them.      

Create agreements

I have shared a number of times before the distinction of ‘expectations vs. agreements’ that I learn from Steve Chandler. If you have not yet listened to this powerful audio, you can download it by clicking here.

You can form relationships with people based on expectations or based on firm agreements.

If you want to elevate the impact of your work with clients, then agreements will help you do this. You can make some of your agreements a conditional element of taking someone on as a client.

Four keys to highly motivated financial planning clients

Everybody wins when you make these four keys to highly motivated financial planning clients a way of being in your client relationships.

It serves your client because they increase their chances of achieving the results they want. It serves you because you have more happy and satisfied clients.

PS. Have you checked out the ‘Financial Planning Power Questions’ card deck yet? If not, click here.


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