When a client relationship is new it will feel fresh, engaging, and there will often be a lot to do. You are getting to know your client, they are getting to know you, and important issues are being dealt with.
But how do you keep financial planning review meetings fresh, insightful, and inspiring, year after year?
How would your clients rate your financial planning review meetings?
Would they give them a 10 out of 10? This meaning that despite you knowing each other well you never fail to engage, delight, and surprise your client. You and your client leave your meetings with a warm glow, and they never feel mundane, repetitive, or stale.
Or is there an opportunity for improvement?
Of course, there is always room for improvement. No matter how good things already are they can always get better.
Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century, points out in his book ‘Freedom from the known’:
“In all our relationships each one of us builds an image about the other and these two images have a relationship, not the human beings themselves.”
In other words, a relationship is based on how we see someone, and how they see us.
The three levels of value creation
Imagine the relationship with your client can exist on one of three levels:
1. Product and investment centric
2. Financial problem and solution centric
3. Client centric
The problem with levels 1 and 2 is what happens when the products and investments are in place and the financial problems all solved?
This does not mean to say that new ones won’t crop up, but it turns the relationship into a reactive one of only responding to events after they have happened.
It also tends to be one of the primary reasons there is a loss of interest by one of both parties in the relationship. If you read the research in Michael LeBeouf’s excellent book, ‘How to win customers and keep them for life’, it demonstrates that when a customer quits, 68% of the time it is because of:
‘An attitude of indifference towards the customer by the owner, manager or some employee.’
What is the primary focus of your client review meetings?
Being ‘Client centred’ does not mean you are not putting in place appropriate products and investments or solving their financial problems.
But money is a means to an end, not the end in itself.
A client centred relationship recognises this and that what matters most of all is your client’s well-being, peace of mind and success.
The paradox of relationships
One of the things that makes a relationship work long-term is that there is both certainty and uncertainty.
Clients want certainty in the sense that you are someone they like, trust implicitly, and can rely upon.
Paradoxically, unless there is uncertainty things can easily get stale.
By uncertainty I mean that you consistently exceed their expectations, surprise them, and challenge them. You consistently contribute to them leading a higher quality of life rather than just review meetings providing a boring update (to read more on high impact financial planning meetings, click here).
How do you run magical client review meetings every time?
Returning to what Krishnamurti was pointing out, it can be extremely limiting to communicate with others though the labels we give them and the assumptions and judgements we make about them. This is the primary cause of a relationship going stale.
However, when we drop all of our thinking about someone we communicate from our heart, not our head. We come from a place of love, not judgement. There is nothing that will foster deep human connection and insightful conversations more than this.
What gets in the way?
The biggest barrier to being in the ‘don’t know mind’ is our own discomfort with it.
This can be especially true for people who derive their sense of self-worth from being the expert.
So, it can take a leap of faith and a willingness to try something different.
Yet having shared this with many advisers who have gone on to try it, no one reports wanting to go back to how it was before. Instead, they find that their client relationships deepen and stay fresh.
Ultimately, the ability to constantly re-inventing, revitalizing, and reinvigorating your client relationships is finding the balance between sharing what they need to know about their arrangements and, at the same time, treating them as a brand-new client you know nothing about.
P.S. Did you find this article helpful? If so, you can download a FREE copy of ‘Magical Client Meetings Every Time’. You will discover the 10 essential keys and use the score sheet to immediately determine your next steps. Click here to download.