As a financial practitioner it is easy to only talk to your clients about products, investments and financial matters.
Because it is comfortable for you. It is where you feel safe. It is what you know about.
But this isn’t where the real juice in the relationship is – not for you or your client.
There are many highly qualified financial professionals who do a technically great job for their clients but who never make the kind of impact that is genuinely transformational for their clients.
If you want to be even more highly valued by your clients, do high-impact work and earn high fees that people willingly pay then you have to get off the safe ground.
There is far more value in opening up a conversation about what your clients really want from life than just having an intellectual conversation about their finances that has no real connection to the much bigger “Why?”
Most of us do not reflect often enough, if ever at all, upon what we really want from life.
Can you truly say you know what really matters to each of your clients? What compels them? What are their priorities in life? What their fears and concerns are? Where do they want to be at the end of this year, in five years’ time and beyond?
An adviser client of mine recounted a situation where a couple wanted to invest a significant sum of money. Instead of just effecting the transaction he got really curious. He asked questions. He listened. He explored what was really important to them.
The clients shared that what mattered most of all was to slow down the pace of their working lives and spend more time with each other and with family. They have young grandchildren and want to be involved and enjoy seeing them grow up.
The adviser, through really getting to understand his client and the situation, was able to clearly demonstrate how this important goal was something that was possible right now and not out in the future sometime, as the clients thought it was.
He helped them gain real clarity and the work they did together was genuinely life-changing because it was more than just about investing some money.
When you are able to connect what matters most to your clients together with your planning, advice and recommendations it changes everything.
It takes the relationship from a transactional one, which they could have with any practitioner, to one where you are serving the client in a much more meaningful way.
So, how do you get off the safe ground?
Having deeper and richer conversations with your clients is not about trying to change your behaviour. It is not about tactics, strategies or employing a step-by-step process.
It does require your willingness to be present, curious and to really listen with no agenda. Your purpose, before offering any advice, is to connect, listen and understand.
Such a conversation can be as much as a journey of discovery for your clients as it is for you.
As a coach, I focus upon helping my clients understand the principles behind state of mind because this is the fastest and most precise way to the kind of mind-set where powerful client conversations become natural, easy and your standard way of operating.
When we have a quiet mind and feel secure within ourselves this, in turn, has a remarkable effect upon who we are with because of the quality of our presence.
When a client feels safe in the feeling that they won’t be judged and that there is no hidden agenda, they become far more willing to open up.
An environment like this facilitates a client doing their very best thinking and experiencing real clarity – something that is extremely valuable to them.
The ultimate outcome is that their trust in you, their perception of value and the commercial value in the relationship are highly likely to rise – often significantly.