The Client-centred Blog

Working ONLY with wonderful clients – the two essential questions

The very first stage of a new client relationship is connecting with someone.

They may get in touch with you. You may get in touch with them.

Whichever it is the next stage is that you invite them into a conversation.

Conversations are the most important aspect of building your practice because without these, nothing happens.

Once within a conversation then there are two essential questions to consider if you want to work only with wonderful clients.

  1. Can I help?
  2. Do I want to?

There is a third aspect I also believe is extremely important.

You must create value within your conversations, so that whatever the outcome in terms of whether someone becomes a client or not, the conversation creates significant value for them in some way.

I have worked with a good number of clients over the years that came as referrals from people I had conversations with but never ended up working with on a commercial basis.

Why do we end up with clients who are not wonderful?

One of the reasons that we can end up with clients that are unprofitable, too demanding, unresponsive to requests, do not respect us or are uncoachable, is that we are going too fast.

Why do we go too fast?

Because we are focusing on the outcome.

We are getting ahead of ourselves and want to win the person over, get their business and so remove the pressure that we feel.

I used to be exactly like this, and I ended up with a whole bunch of unprofitable clients.

It was my coach who helped me to see what was going on.

When we feel a sense of internal pressure and mistakenly believe it is because of our external circumstances, for instance because we tell ourselves “I need the money” or “I need this business”, we lose perspective.

It may be true that you need the money. But you never need THAT person’s money.

The crucial point is this…

Slowing down is not damaging to your business or your income. It is the exact opposite. Slowing down is the key to growing your business and your income.

What does slowing down mean?

I had a conversation with an adviser client just recently. She had been a transactional adviser and wanted to create more value for her clients.

So, at her next meeting, instead of talking about financial arrangements she asked Marie, her client, and a successful businesswoman, about why she was so driven.

What was it that inspired Marie to put so much time and energy into her work?

This had her light up with enthusiasm about a humanitarian project in Africa she wanted to bring into being.

What happened?

It turned that the client had this big dream yet no concrete plan. This presented the perfect opportunity to respectfully challenge her client and potentially create enormous value.

“You have this big dream but no plan. How come? How does this make sense to you?”

I know from my own experience that when someone challenges you in this kind of way it can be immensely powerful. It can turn something that is a dream into an actionable project that actually happens.

And what value can you put this?

Michael Bungay Stanier wrote a book called, ‘The Advice Trap’. He says:

“We keep giving advice even though it doesn’t work that well.”

What does he suggest you do instead?

Stay curious a little bit longer.

You can only do this if you are willing to slow down. And as most people are not willing to slow down it hands you a significant advantage as one who is.

So, going back to my two original questions:

Can I help?
Do I want to?

Wonderful clients are people you collaborate with in accomplishing something important for them. So, your job is to find out what is most important to them.

P.S. Here is a short clip of Michael Bungay Stanier talking about the advice trap 3m 07s). Click here to view.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Related articles

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.
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.
What makes a client want to engage a financial planner?
A successful financial planner I work with remarked to me that no one ever approaches him for a financial planning engagement. Instead, there is usually a trigger event that leads a client to thinking they want a financial product, financial issue solved, or investment advice. So, how do you shift the conversation?
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?
Want more financial planning referrals? This MUST happen first
Good financial planning referrals from happy existing clients are one of the best ways to grow your practice. Yet to create a regular and increasing flow of quality referrals there is something that MUST happen first. Let me share a story.
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?
How to sell more financial planning: stop giving advice
Do you want to sell more financial planning and boost your income? If so, then stopping giving financial advice might seem totally counter-intuitive, right? In this article I explore why holding back from giving advice can consistently help you sell more financial planning and serve your clients better.
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.
Clients are not willing to pay fees for financial planning - really?
“Clients are not willing to pay fees for financial planning!” This was the bold claim of an adviser in a post I recently read on LinkedIn. You might refer to this as a 'gross generalisation' because, quite clearly, there are many people who do already pay fees for financial planning.
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.
How to successfully sell financial planning
Genuine financial planning is very different from providing purely transactional financial advice. So, how you sell financial planning is a different kind of conversation too. Would you like it to be easier to sell financial planning engagements?
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.
Getting financial planning clients - the only obstacle
Getting financial planning clients is the number one challenge for many advisers. But why is it such a challenge? It is not for the reasons that most people think...
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
How to get more financial planning referrals
Would you like to generate more high quality financial planning referrals?
Great people skills - in an instant!
Is it possible to have great people skills in an instant?
How to ask great financial planning questions
Asking great financial planning questions is the bedrock of gathering the information you need to create a highly compelling plan for your client.
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.