When presenting your financial plan and advice to a client you want them to be in a highly receptive state and eager to listen to you, don’t you?
But the process begins long before you get to this point.
Just recently I had lunch with a friend who was telling me about her latest business project.
She had been hired as part of a small team to build a case for a £40 million plus investment in a new IT infrastructure for a local council.
Having spent several months compiling a detailed assessment it was clear that whilst the up-front investment was huge, the payoff was far bigger.
The savings in time, efficiency and money made it a no-brainer.
So, having brought together a compelling case the teams next job was to test the water with the end users.
What did they think? How receptive were they? She anticipated a warm and enthusiastic response.
What they got was the complete opposite. The response from most people was ‘So what?’
They were not interested.
Feeling deflated after all the work they had done my friend and her team got together and reflected.
They soon realised they failed the ‘So what?’ test.
Despite their reasons (time, efficiency, money) being sound, these were not important to the end users.
We have all been there, right?
We love our product or service and, therefore, we assume that our clients and potential clients will feel the same way.
Schoolgirl error and yet it is one that many practitioners make.
Clients do not care about financial planning, pensions or investments because these are the vehicle not the destination, so why would they?
My friend and her team then went back to the end users and this time they asked questions and they listened.
What did they discover?
Most of the end users were in their jobs because they wanted to make a difference.
This was the driver – their most important value.
So, they showed the end users how the new system would help them make a bigger difference and, consequently, they were far more receptive.
Decades ago, Zig Ziglar said:
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
The main point is that if you want someone to listen to you then listen to them first. Find out what matters to them at the deepest level.
This is what trusted advisers do.
They invest their time and attention to sincerely get to know their clients at a deep level so that they can help them solve meaningful problems and live better lives.
Do you know what drives each of your clients? What matters most to them in life? Is this a conversation you have with them on a regular basis?
If not, why not?
People love it when you take a genuine interest in them because so few people do.
Most people are primarily self-interested and so this opens up a huge opportunity if you are the one person who is willing to give without expecting something back.
Go and invest two hours or more getting to understand each your clients and potential clients even better. Not with an agenda, just an honest desire to serve.
Is there a better use of your time?
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