Context is the meaning created within a situation and it makes a massive difference.
A favourite story of mine is from Jacques Prevert, a French poet.
He once walked by a blind beggar who had a sign next to him that read:
“Blind Man Without A Pension”
He asked the man how he was doing, and the blind man replied:
“Very badly, no one is making any donations.”
Jacques picked up the man’s sign and re-wrote what it said.
Three days later he walked by the blind man again and him how he was doing. He said:
“Fantastic! My hat is filling up three times a day.”
So, what did he change?
He replaced “Blind Man without a pension” with “Spring is coming, but I won’t see it.”
By changing the context, he knew that it would change the way people thought about the situation.
Do you ever think about the context of your client conversations?
In the process of doing high impact financial planning and helping your clients achieve their goals, then having them follow your advice is crucial if they are to be successful.
Also, it is inevitable that you will need to coach some of your clients as they will have thinking, behaviours and habits that will otherwise sabotage their goals.
Successfully influencing your clients means that they willingly alter their thinking and behaviour, so it aligns with their goals and outcomes.
How do you best accomplish this?
This is why context is so important. I have found that people change or take action when there is a compelling enough reason for them to do so.
The most important context for this with your clients is within the context of what your clients care most about.
What happens when advice is ‘out of context’?
I was speaking with an adviser this week who had recently experienced several potential clients deciding to go elsewhere.
What stood out to me was that this was a context problem.
The adviser talked about products and investments with these people, but the thing is that most people have little interest in these things.
What they care about are their own lives.
When you have conversations that dive deeply into what clients really want and they emotionally and spiritually connect with this, it puts your subsequent advice into context.
Ultimately, people do what makes sense to them. When they can clearly see that something will help them get what they want then they tend to do it.