Getting deep into the world of your client is the only way you can get to understand them and what they want, and put yourself in a position to deliver beyond their expectations.
This is actually far easier than many people seem to make it.
What is the starting point?
Get yourself out of the picture. You and what you want is simply not the purpose of engaging with a client. Creating value for your client is the primary aim and this can only happen in their world, not yours.
Does this mean you should act like a charity, giving away what you do for virtually nothing and be fortunate to even make a living?
No. It is the complete opposite.
As I am writing this two advisers I know have popped into my thoughts. Both are very different characters, with very different businesses and yet both of those businesses are thriving and experiencing exceptional growth.
One of the reasons the businesses keep growing is that good people want to become their clients.
Because the primary aim of both businesses is deeply caring for people. And they really do. It is not contrived; it is genuine. There is absolutely no hidden agenda.
It is so easy to be preoccupied with your own ‘stuff’. Advisers can obsess over their proposition, fee structure, investment process and dozens of other things.
Of course, these are important but it is so easy to over-complicate things and if you do this with clients you are inviting resistance. They do not care about your world. They care about their world.
So, how do you get deep into the world of your client?
Strategies, tactics and processes will only get you so far. What makes the difference is understanding how to bring out their best thinking.
We are not designed to live by processes (when interacting with others) because if you are tied to a process then you are going to try to shoehorn each situation to fit with the process. And life just does not lend itself enough to this approach to make it viable.
There are four keys to getting into the world of your client:
1. Deep listening
When you listen to music for enjoyment you let it wash over you. You are not judging, evaluating or intellectualising it. You let it impact you, move you and touch you. Deep listening to another human being is allowing them in, without employing your analytical mind. It is also listening for what comes up from deeper within you.
2. Respecting the unknown
This goes back to process. If you know the direction you are going in then you do not need to try to control things with a fixed process. By all means have one, but the second it becomes more important than paying complete attention to your client then it has lost its value.
3. Let wisdom do the work for you
We all have a deeper, guiding intelligence beyond our intellect. This is where peak performance comes from. If you listen to people describing when they have excelled you will hear things like ‘I did it without thinking’, I performed beyond myself’ and ‘I played out of my mind’.
4. Putting your ‘stuff’ out of the picture.
The only way you can make it completely and utterly about your client is by you being completely and utterly out of the picture. This makes no sense whatsoever to target driven, numbers obsessed people who are constantly keeping score. But if you are driven by stress you will never reach your potential or connect with clients in a way that gives your work significantly more impact.
To create magical client relationships and exceptional results our job is to show up fully. This is becoming increasingly unusual – the quality of people’s attention is poor. Most seem pay more attention to their devices than to other people.
The more you have on your mind the bigger the barrier between you and your client. The less you have on your mind the better things will go.