The Client-centred Blog

The 8 keys to inspiring financial planning meetings every time!

There are specific and predictable keys that result in inspiring financial planning meetings every time.

And by paying attention and making consistent progress with each key, you are:

1. No longer leaving the quality of your meetings to chance.

2. Raising the bar to an exceptionally high level.

In this article I list the 8 essential keys that contribute to an inspiring, repeatable process.

Key number 1 – the meeting tone

Yours and your client’s state of mind is the single biggest factor in creating inspiring financial planning meetings. You can call the collective state of mind of a meeting as the tone.

Robert C. Kausens book writes in his book ‘We’ve got to start meeting like this‘:

“The higher and lighter the meeting tone, the more creative and proactive participants are and the better they feel about the meeting. A low-tone meeting, regardless of how much is accomplished, can leave people worn out and feeling it was a waste of time – or at least not worth the effort.”

As the professional person it is essential we show up to meetings with a clear and present state of mind and be able to guide our clients into clarity of mind too.

Key number 2 – Establish what your client wants from the meeting

Your client is giving up their valuable time to be in the meeting, so it is respectful to clearly understand why. Without asking you are likely to be making assumptions and these can easily be incorrect or incomplete. So, essentially you are asking, “Why are you here?”

There are many ways to ask the same question:

“What would make this meeting a brilliant use of your time?”

“How can I help you?”

“What is on your mind?”

The form of the question is far less important than the intention behind it.

Key number 3 – Elicit your clients ultimate external goal

When asking your version of “Why are you here?” you may well get an answer that relates to a product of financial situation. One example might be, “I’m here because I want to sort my pension out.”

Yet money is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. So, what is the end that the client wants to accomplish?

If, for example, they want to talk about products and investments then explore, “For what purpose?”

You can continue to explore by using a simple two word question. Click here to find out more.

Key number 4 – Understand the goal behind the goal

External goals have no inherent value. They are always the vehicle for what your client ultimately wants, which are feelings. They want to move towards and experience feelings they value and away from feelings they don’t. An example of a ‘move toward’ is peace of mind and an ‘away from’ is worry.

You cannot guess or assume what feelings your client wants or doesn’t want . So, the reason to ask is to understand your client AND because you want them to have an emotionally engaging experience.

If you listen carefully people are always communicating their values. You can also use questions like, “What is important to you about… ? ” or “What do you get from that or what does it do for you?”, to elicit values.

An inspiring financial planning meeting happens when a client connects with their values because it creates meaning and this is fundamental to good decision making.

Key number 5 – Discover the obstacles

When you explore what your client wants then it is useful to ask, “What could stop you?” or “What do you see as the obstacles?”

There are the universally recognised ones – premature death, illness, loss of income – but it can also be surprising what can come up when you ask.

If you do not know what your client perceives as the obstacles, then how can you help them avoid them or deal with them?

Key number 6 – Listen without judgement

Habit 5 in Stephen Covey’s book, ‘The seven habits of highly effective people‘ is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Yet listening to people without judgement (or indeed many other ways we can occupy our minds when listening – evaluating, comparing, or thinking about your response) takes commitment and consistent practice.

Most people think they are far better listeners than they really are. Most are far too quick to diagnose and, as a result, do not understand their client at level where they can create greater impact.

Key number 7 – The less of you the better the meeting

The more of you there is in an interaction – your agenda, your perceived needs, your process, your urgency – the more it will lower the tone. This is the completely opposite direction to the one that you want to go in.

David H. Maister, co-author of ‘The Trusted Advisor‘ points out:

“A common trait of all these trusted advisor relationships is that the advisor places a higher value on maintaining and preserving the relationship itself than on the outcomes of the current transaction, financial or otherwise.”

Key number 8 – Agree the next step

At the end of the meeting are you and your client crystal clear on the next step?

You never want to leave a meeting with you or your client having expectations. For example, expectations of who will do what, when it will be done by, or the steps involved.

Expectations lead to all sorts of undesirable consequences, disappointment being a big one. So, creating clear agreements will work wonders for your relationships.

What you pay attention to expands

Integrating these core elements so you consistently create inspiring financial planning meetings does not happen by accident or in one meeting.

It happens by paying attention over and through time.

This is why the ‘Client-centred Academy’, which begins in January 2023 is a six month immersion experience. You get to integrate these elements (and more) through understanding, repetition and practice.

Imagine how much difference this would make to you, your clients, and your practice!

PS. Click here to go to the ‘Client-centred Academy‘ page and book your place.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Related articles

Will your financial plan pass the 'so what' test?
Imagine that you have gone through the discovery process with your client and your next meeting is to present your carefully crafted financial plan. You want the meeting to be a success and have the client be enthusiastic about your recommendations. So, how can you give yourself the highest and best chance of this happening? 
The truth about trust building for financial planners
Everyone knows that absolute trust is at the core of a successful relationship between a financial planner and a client. But where does real trust come from? And how do you create absolute trust quickly and reliably?
Top ten essential inter-personal skills for financial planners
Is technical ability a guarantee of a successful and prosperous career as a financial planner?  The answer is 'no' because being a successful practitioner is just as much about people as it is a technical role. So, in this article I am looking at my top ten essential inter-personal skills for financial planners.
The amazing power of questions
As a financial planner or adviser people come to you for your knowledge and expertise. Yet, first and foremost, you must create a context for advice so that when it is provided, people successfully implement it and get the outcome they want. The only way I have found of creating this context is to ask appropriate, intelligent questions and listen very carefully.
Financial Planner? Are you selling drills or holes?
In my career as a financial adviser the training and qualification process was all about pensions, investments, insurances, tax, markets, trusts, risk, and so on. So, in the beginning this is what I talked to people about because this is what I thought you did. It did not occur to me until several years later that I was selling something that no one really wanted.
How to get more financial planning referrals
Would you like to generate more high quality financial planning referrals?
Why financial planning clients are paying for leadership
Why do clients seek out professional help from a financial planner or adviser? Specific reasons are many, but fundamentally it comes down to only two things: 1. They have a problem to solve 2. They want to feel better  This is how value is created and this article explores a core factor in this process.
Your social self verses your professional self
Finances are a challenging subject for many people, perhaps most. So, for someone to seek out a financial planner or advisers help is a big deal. Yet just because someone receives good financial advice does this mean they will automatically be successful in achieving what they want?
How to ask great financial planning questions
Asking great financial planning questions is the foundation of creating a highly compelling plan for your client. When your client can clearly see that their financial plan is going to be an essential part of getting what they most want then why wouldn't they be excited about it?
When is your financial advisory client ready for deeper conversations?
Do you want to have deeper conversations with your clients but concerned about whether they are ready? If so, you are not alone. A typical scenario is that a financial adviser has a transactional relationship with a client and wants to shift to a financial planning relationship.
Listening is a super power
Perhaps the most underrated skill for a financial planner or adviser is listening. Is there anything more important? I appreciate that you need to know what you are talking about. Yet this is a given, isn't it?
The importance of relaxing your financial planning client
One of my financial planner clients made an astute observation when he said: "It takes a lot of courage for a client to meet with a financial planner." He understands that when he first meets with a new client, or even an existing one, they may have a lot on their mind.
How to have a great first conversation 
The first conversation you have with a potential client sets the tone for everything that comes afterwards. Therefore, it is essential to make it a great conversation, meaning that the person feels listened to, understood, and completely trusts you.
The power of creating client agreements
This article is about a powerful, proven way you can add significant value to all your client relationships. So, let me share with you a recent experience of the process in action. I have just spent three days in London as part of the AJC Coaching Career School.
Client meetings: why speak from your heart and not just your head?
If you were forced to do just one activity in your business and had to relinquish all else, what would that one activity be? In my experience most advisers would say: "Spending my time meeting with clients." Is this true for you?
Financial planner? Stop trying to prove your value
Do you ever concern yourself with trying to prove your value to a client or potential client? If so, you would be far from alone.  It can be tempting to try and be impressive and this can be especially true in the sales process. Yet it is also destructive.  So, this article is about how you become free of that burden and naturally convey value without trying.
Why slow down your financial planning conversations?
This article is about slowing down your financial planning conversations. But what does this mean and what makes it worth doing? Slowing down your conversations does not mean speaking slower or dragging out a conversation for no reason. That would make no sense. It is about creating significantly more value for your clients.
Why is a client’s well-being at the core of financial planning?
Just recently I read an article in Professional Adviser about how financial advisers see financial well-being in relation to financial planning (according to a study by Standard Life). The research showed that 71% of advisers view supporting financial well-being as a secondary part of their business in comparison with financial planning in general. Only 22% of advisers say supporting financial well-being is a 'core part of their business'.
Why challenging your financial planning clients is great for business
The key difference between a transactional financial adviser a 'Trusted adviser' is how the adviser is positioned in the mind of the client. As a 'Trusted Adviser' you are someone a client turns to for your valued input, advice, opinion, help with key decisions, and possibly coaching. A good description shared with me by a financial planner is that a 'Trusted Adviser' is a member of a client’s 'inner circle'.
How to make your financial planning meetings better than ever
Do you want to conduct outstandingly good financial planning meetings? This seems exceptionally important to me because the quality of the meetings you conduct are the foundation of building a thriving, profitable, and sustainable practice. This article is about the number one way to achieve consistent and continual improvement of your financial planning meetings and get all the rewards for doing so.
Deep rapport and why it matters
Rapport is an essential element in creating strong, productive and lasting client relationships. It is also a highly significant factor in not only the provision of financial planning and advice, but also whether your client follows it. Below is a link to an audio recording (18m39s) where I take a look at:
The 12 client-centred mind shifts - part 2
You almost certainly have clients that are worried about their finances, what might happen in future, and if they are doing the right things. We are living in challenging times. Some advisers avoid their clients at times like this. They don't want to tell them their investments have gone down or be faced with having to explain themselves.
The most powerful two word financial planning question
This articles shares a two-word financial question that can significantly increase the value of financial planning for a client. It is also be great for opening up new business opportunities too. So, let me share how I was inspired to write this post.
Top 10 ways to capture and keep your financial planning client’s attention
To make financial planning meaningful and a good investment for your client it requires them to be fully engaged and do their best thinking in your meetings. Yet we also live in a society where an ever-increasing number of things are competing for our attention. People have shorter and shorter attention spans. So, how do you capture and keep your financial planning client’s attention?
Top 10 coaching books for financial planners
If you are doing genuine financial planning where you are helping your client identify and accomplish their goals and live the life they want then coaching them is a necessity. After all, life is full of distractions and people come off track all the time. For example, people can lose focus or their sense of purpose. From time to time they may feel discouraged, disheartened, or overwhelmed.
How to run magical financial planning review meetings - every time
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?
The right way to set financial planning goals
In this article, you are going to discover how to help your clients set financial planning goals, the right way. You are also going to learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy goals and how this makes a massive difference to your client’s level of motivation, inspiration, and enjoyment of life now.
Highly effective rapport building for financial planners
A deep rapport with your client is the foundation for a productive, profitable, and long-lasting relationship. Therefore, being highly effective at quickly building and maintaining a deep rapport is an essential skill for financial planners.
A simple guide to influencing financial planning clients
Do you want to become more effective at influencing financial planning clients? In this simple guide I explore one of the most crucial factors of influence you can apply immediately for better results.
One of the best financial planning questions and how to use it
Often, the best financial planning questions are the ones that help a client to open up and think more deeply. Why is this important? Because the impact of your financial planning and advice is directly correlated to quality of the information you gather from your client.
Should you take notes in a financial planning meeting?
What is the right approach to note taking in financial planning meetings? This is a question that often comes up in my coaching programmes with financial planners. So, let's take a closer look.
4 ways to create massive value financial planning meetings
How to do a brilliant financial planning fact find
Doing a brilliant financial planning fact find underpins everything that you do for a client. It is what differentiates you from other financial planners and is a golden opportunity to build exceptional relationships and provide massive value. But there are also two very different elements to fact finding.
The hidden secret to high-impact financial planning meetings
Do you want to have your financial planning meetings be high-impact, high-engagement experiences for both your clients and you? Of course! We all want this, don't we?
5 steps financial planners can take to becoming a better listener
As a financial planner what value is there in becoming a better listener? Is it worth your time, effort, and focus to improve? This article explores the value of deep listening and 5 practical steps you can take to immediately become a better listener.
Asking essential financial planning questions: the ones that no one else thinks to ask
This article looks at an important aspect of asking financial planning questions that often get neglected. Often, financial advice is triggered when something happens or is going to happens in a client’s life. For instance, the sale of a business, divorce, or an upcoming retirement.
How financial planners can build instant trust with clients
As a financial planner building instant trust with clients is one of the biggest obstacles you will need to overcome. This article looks at a different yet highly effective approach.
What is the most important financial planning question of all?
Do you want to have greater impact with your clients, create more value, and escape the diminishing world of transactional financial advice? If so, there is an important financial planning question.
Presenting your clients financial plan - the key to success
Great people skills - in an instant!
Is it possible to have great people skills in an instant?
Why is your financial planning practice culture the key to delivering exceptional service?
Are you committed to delivering exceptional client service? If so, employees who genuinely care, communicate well, and take responsibility are the key. The foundation of this resides in the business culture you create.
Are your financial planning conversations too nice?
What is the difference between a financial advisory conversation and a financial planning conversation?
Should Financial Planners stop talking about retirement?
Why should financial planners choose their language carefully in their financial planning conversations with clients?
Understanding your client’s world – key number 1
Financial Advice is so often delivered in very unimaginative ways that has little difference to how the majority of practitioners deliver it.