Listen Very Carefully (I Will Say This Only Once)

First Meeting Mistake 8: Not Dealing With The Answers (a mistake in two parts)

Part 1: Not Listening

By now you should be asking searching and interesting questions (as discussed in last week’s blog), however, if you fail to listen carefully to the answers given to you, you will be in a worse position with the client than if you hadn’t asked the searching and interesting questions to begin with.

So you need to listen to the client, and listen carefully.

This may seem obvious to many of you, yet it is easier said than done, especially if you are learning a new skill (like asking searching and interesting questions).

Often, when you start asking these great questions your brain can get so caught up in what you are going to ask next, you can miss the answers. Or if you do catch them, they don’t register as strongly as they should. However, this will improve with practise, and it is worth practising…and practising.

Part 2: Not Recognising The Significance

This one is a killer. I’ve seen advisers ask great questions, listen to, and even note down, the client’s answers, but then fail to recognise the significance of those answers in the bigger scheme of things.

Here’s an example:

Adviser: What would you do if you had all the money in the world?
Client: Move to the countryside and write a book.

Adviser: If you went to the doctor and were told you only have 5 years to live, what would you do?
Client: Sell up, move to the countryside and write a book.

Adviser:  If you were told you only had 24 hours to live, what did you not get to do?
Client: Write my book.

You’re in conversation with the client, and the whole idea of moving to the countryside and writing a book is part of their future plan. They tell you they’ll do it in 5-6 years time when they retire.

What should you do as their adviser?

Often in these instances I believe the client has pushed the goal out because they can’t see how they could possibly do it now. This is a safety mechanism. If it is in the future they don’t have to do anything about it…and let’s face it, our dreams can be scary.

If a client gave me these answers I would be trying to find a way to make that goal happen yesterday. What can I do to help this client start to live their dream right now?

Yes, there will be some hurdles to overcome (there always are), but the skill of a great adviser is to find a way to jump over some of the hurdles, walk around others and to crash through the rest if at all possible.

You might talk to this client about when they can afford to retire. With some smart planning you might be able to bring the date forward. Do they really know how much they will need to live on in retirement and how close they are to getting there?

You might talk about buying a place in the countryside now to use on the weekends, or taking more time off from work, or starting on the book immediately. Why wait?

In many cases the barriers to doing something are not insurmountable. Even if you could bring the date forward 12 months you would have added incredible value to the client.

How often do retired clients tell you that ‘in the future’ they would like to take that world trip? I would encourage them to book it now, whilst their health is good. You never know what’s around the corner.

The same type of thinking can apply to less obvious, but equally important goals.   So please, please, please, make sure to note the significance of the answers you are given.

By helping clients live their ideal life (as best you can) you add more value than any other profession on the planet. [click it to tweet it]

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