Here’s The Surprising Truth About Why Your Financial Planning Customers Love It When You Double Your Income


Yes, it sounds crazy, I know.

You might think it’s about more leads, fees, AUM, or commissions. But no, it’s not.

The real reason is far more interesting. And it’s something most financial planners don’t know.

So before I’ll tell you the truth about how you are able to double your income while having highly satisfied customers, let me first tell you a story.


In their groundbreaking book Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath write about a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University who decided to see whether most people would donate to an abstract cause or to a single person.

They handed participants an envelope and a charity-request letter giving them an opportunity to donate some of their money to Save the Children. A charity that focuses on the well-being of children worldwide.

The researchers tested two versions of the request letter. The first version featured statistics about the magnitude of the problems facing children in Africa, such as the following:

  • Food shortages in Malawi are affecting more than 3 million children
  • Four million Angolans – one third of the population – have been forced to flee their homes
  • More than 11 million people in Ethiopia need immediate food assistance

The other version of the letter gave information about a single young girl:

  • Any money that you donate will go to Rokia, a seven-year old girl from Mali, Africa. Rokia is desperatly poor and faces the threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. With your support, and the support of other caring sponsors, Save the Children will work with Rokia’s family and other members of the community to help feed and educate her and provide basic medical care and hygiene education

The researchers gave participants one or two different letters, then left them alone. They chose how much money, if any, to put back into the envelope, then they sealed the envelope and handed it back to the researcher.

On average, the people who read the statistics contributed $1,14. The people who read about Rokia contributed $2,38 – more than twice as much.

It seems that most people have this in common:

Appealing to the heart, trumps the abstract cause

It gets even more interesting. The researchers decided to give a third group of people both sets of information – the statistics and the story about Rokia. As it turned out the people who received both letters gave $1,43, almost a dollar less than the people who got the Rokia story alone.

The researchers theorized that thinking about numbers shifts people into a more analytical frame of mind. When people activate their left brain and think analytically, they’re less likely to think emotionally. The researchers believed that it was people’s right brain and emotional response to Rokia’s plight that led them to act. And donate more.

To prove this argument, they ran a second study. In this study they primed some people to think in a left-brain analytical way by asking questions such as: “If an object travels at five feet per minute, then by your calculations how many feet will it travel in 360 seconds?” Other people were primed to think in terms of right-brain feelings: “Please write down one word to describe how you feel when you hear the word ‘baby’.”

Then both groups were given the Rokia letter. And, confirming the researchers’ theory, the analytically primed people gave less. When people were primed to feel before they read about Rokia, they gave $2,34; about the same as before. But when they primed to calculate before they read about Rokia, they gave $1,26.

These results are shocking.

Once we put on our analytical hat, people are far less willing to spend money on a cause of which we feel is important to us.

What Financial Planners Better Should Not Do

Financial planners are “default” highly educated advisors. And, we’re also almost always helpful people, by nature. Therefore it’s quite tempting to spread your (analytical, left-brain) knowledge when explaining your service, telling your story and talking to your customers.

To test what language most financial planners use on their website I just googled “financial planner <name city>” to peek at some – randomly chosen – financial planner’s websites. It turnes out that every site I visited uses words and phrases like:

“facilitating the accomplishment of long-term financial goals”

“answering financial questions”

“assist in making financial decisions”

“maximizing the tax efficiency of client portfolios”

fee-only financial planner”

investment management services”

And so on.

Those financial planners probably – and unconsciously –  have put on their “analytical hat” when making the text for their websites.

So, I wonder….

Do you think – after reading Rokia’s story – that when you explain your financial planning service, or tell your story (on your website), or talk to your customers with words like financial, tax and fee-only, how do you think this effects your (potential) client’s willingness to pay your price?

I bet the answer is obvious to you.

What Financial Planners Better Should Do

Don’t feel bad. We can’t blame ourselves. Financial planners are almost always analytical left brainers. Why? Because we are educated to be analytical, logical and rational. Think about your CFP examination. Or other financial planning education.

How much percent of the program is about engaging your clients?

As you probably know by now, numbers and facts certainly do not engage. But that’s not all…

When using analytical language you also – unconsciously – influence your client to think in an analytical, left-brain way about your service. Which has the annoying consequence that it decreases your client’s willingness to pay your price. Which leads to the unpleasant thought that your clients want to pay less than 50% of your price.


On the other hand…if almost every financial planner speaks in an analytical way, what are the possibilities for a higher income when we start talking in a more emotional, engaging and memorable way?

Chances are that people are far more willing to pay more for your services. And it’s not only that. They also feel more engaged about you and your services.

So what exactly should we do?

First, I believe it’s crucial that your (potential) clients believe in you and your services. That counts for a lot.

But belief is not enough.

For people to take action so that they really want to pay your price, they have to care.

Belief does not necessarily make people care enough to act. And certainly not make them want to pay a higher price.

For example, everyone believes that eatling lots of fatty food leads to health problems; there’s no doubt about the facts. But the belief does not make people care enough to act.

However, there is one thing that does make people act.

It’s all about feelings. Feelings do inspire people to act.

How Do You Make People Care? (And Act, And Pay Your Price)

To make people care, your story, your language, and your customer materials should be based less on logic and more on tapping into emotions. It’s less about presenting information and more about persuading people deep down.

The effect of your story should be that you capture attention, entertain, enlighten, and persuade. And most important: matterYour story should be memorable and shareable — and appeal to emotions.

Studies from the Journal of Advertising Research show that people are twice as likely to be persuaded by emotion than by facts. 

The story of Rokia shows that people are willing to pay you twice your price.

There’s only one challenge. And I know for sure that you really can conquer that. What you need to do is to fulfill your right brain potential so that you really can make an emotional connection with your customers.

So, your story matters … but how do you tell your story?

What, specifically, makes for a good and engaging story?

If you want to know the 5 Things Every Great Story Needs, you’ll receive the PDF.

All you have to do, is to answer this question:

What Is The One Thing You Want Me To Do, To Help You Make Your Business Matter?

Please, leave your answer here below in the comment field.

And you’ll get the 5 Things Every Great Story Needs.

To Your Success,

Ronald Sier

If you don’t want to miss the next tip to Make Your Financial Planning Business Matter, then please fill in the boxes below and click.


Leave a Reply 87 comments

Marion Reply

Thanks for this great article.

Craig Grover Reply

I struggle in connecting with clients on an emotional level – too analytical for my own good. Any advice is appreciated.

David Reply

Help me to take others in the firm on the same journey to improve our marketing and help clients love us!

Peter Reply

Getting people from left to right at a presentation,fitting the stories into it to much or to little?

Scott Reply

I need better direction.

Chris Reply

How to market my client cash-flow modelling programme?

Taiya Reply

Interesting! In the analogy, if the financial planner replaces Rokia, then I need to have a compelling story about myself that makes people want to give me money i.e. pay my fees. I\’ve always been taught to make the story about the client and create a vision of how working with me benefits them. Maybe I\’m being too literal.

John Smith Reply

I didn\’t get the message here. How would this advice apply to my customers? It might be good for charity but the link between this and financial services seems weak at best.

James Reply

Hi Ronald
My question is how to talk with and listen to people to more effectively to draw out their big problem.
Cheers, James

Ben Reply

How to create simple and effective stories for clients.

Matthew Raleigh Reply

How to get clients to take action and personal responsibility for the plans we implement?

Mark V Reply


Thank you for your efforts and excellent message, with which I fully concur.

I am always interested in developing effective communication strategies with clients to help empower them to act on their dreams and which help reinforce and articulate my value proposition.

alan Reply

Very useful as we are reviewing our website and other materials.

David T Reply

An emotionally engaged client is a long term client

Jason T. Reply

I want to further develop my niche and also want to continue the pursuit to make really meaningful meetings that matter to clients and change behavior, thereby impacting them and the world!

Glenn Brophy Reply

That dinner party moment when someone pops the question … and what is it you do?

What is the best response which works for you?

greg Reply

I want help to be able to help my clients and potential clients see the value of advice, that its not all about investment returns and get rich quick schemes, and how clients who engage with their financial planner have significantly better outcomes than those that don\’t seek advice.

Marc Reply

Get the right brain fully engaged, both my own right brain and my client\’s right brain. Start with the end picture and work backwards…

JR Reply

How can I better position the planning focus to the typical male -return oriented – consumer?

Victoria Reply

i would like to know how i can expand my right brain potential and reach out to the clients using emotional language. What is the most effective emotional language?

jeff Reply

role play

Sam Hull, CFP (Ret.), CPCC, MBA Reply

I have the privilege and honor of mentoring a good number of young financial planner, both through my business and & pro-bono, as part of the FPA MentorMatch service. Helping them relax their \”newbie\” fixation on \”The Knowledge\” and focus more on \”The Client\” is almost always part of what\’s involved in our conversation.

Charlie Reply

Help to get clients engaged in automatically increasing contributions

Reine Clemow Reply

I want help in getting more referrals through a process

Allison Reply

I feel that this is a key concept but do not know how to use it well yet. I would like the 5 great things every great story needs.

Ben Reply

Help me to turn my discussions from a left brain analytical discussion into a more right-brain, story telling discussion, to be able to touch the emotional side of my clients thoughts.

Jason Reply


I appreciate your time and effort with this information which is excellent.

I would like help on getting do-it-yourselfers engaged and to see the value in a consistent process since I believe we would agree and investments return and investors return are two different and sometimes drastically results.


Marc Reply

Use story telling successfully to align with client\’s right brain motivation

bill Reply

My current reality is that I have inherited a book of life insurance business, and many of the clients have been sold/peddled bad policies/plans. I would like to make them whole, but to do that I have to inspire them to action. To make matters worse many of these people are living on very tight budgets already-can you point me in a direction to learn not only how I can help communicate budgeting/savings to people living with little or no savings while still being profitable to salvage a mediocre book of business?

bill Reply

I am a young CFP, and I have read tons of books about HNW advising and business building and would love to make that my focus one day. My current reality is that I have inherited a book of life insurance business, and many of the clients have been sold/peddled bad policies/plans. I would like to make them whole, but to do that I have to inspire them to action. To make matters worse many of these people are living on very tight budgets already-can you point me in a direction to learn not only how I can help communicate budgeting/savings to people living with little or no savings while still being profitable to salvage a mediocre book of business?

gardner sherrill Reply

Ronald – Its apparent to me that there are a lot of us out there reading the same books, blogs etc. Simon Sinek, Carl Richards, Dan Pink, Daniel Kahneman. I love what I am reading there and here but I have a hard time converting that information into daily practice in a way that resonates with clients. I\’m largely to blame but I feel like I come across as too fluffy without substance. I therefore only touch on it until someone is already established as a client. I would prefer to lead with this so I attract more like minded potential clients.

Alan Reply

Hi Ronals, firstly I\’d like to thank you for taking the time out to deliver a great webinar on meaning is the new money. I completely concur and am on a mission to deliver that in my new venture. This venture questions the status quo and involves the combination of smart technology & tools to deliver education and empower people to better understand their own financial goals/journey along with professional guidance more easily accessible to all. I want to learn more about tapping into peoples emotions because I believe its for their benefit and their families benefit that they receive the right messages.



Rutvik Pathak Reply

How can we ourself develop our right side of our Brain…. Having emotional connect with client is one of the highest priority but for that I think our own Right side of the brain should be developed.

Lyn Bell Reply

I do find that as advisers and planners we tend to use jargon words as you have indicated in your article…and often we don\’t realise that it is jargon as we are so close to it! I\’d like to know how to tap into the right brain. And how do we still give the facts we are expected to provide but relate to the emotions?

Mark Stern Reply

learn how to integrate emotional stories with factual support.

Monica Reply

Great post! I would really love to learn how to get a client\’s emotional buy in to follow up on actions.

Scott Reply

Hi Ronald,
I only recently discovered your website late last year. One of the areas I know I struggle in is getting the client to emotionally buy in. Having an engineering background I know I am analytically biased and am aware that I need to approach discussions from a more emotional viewpoint.

Any tips or ideas you have to get me away from the charts and statistics that I tend to fall back on would be much appreciated.

Sean Reply

I would like to learn how to connect with my clients and help them see the bigger picture

Pervis Ullis Reply

Generate an emotionally appealing story.

Rutvij Reply

Write a revolutionary book, which see beyond numbers. Happy New Year.

Andy Garrison Reply


Thanks for the article. I could use insight on making the emotional appeal to prospects and referrals without crossing the line. I suppose I\’m asking how to make professional emotional appeal. Thanks!

Herko Reply

Hi Ronald, very true and recognisable after reading Simon Sinek\’s Golden circle of why. I\’m writing down my Why, can you give me your feedback on this when I\’m done?

Yves Reply

How to convey my value proposition through case studies/stories.
Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Brian Reply

Help me create stories that clients can tell others to stimulate referrals and interest in what we do.

Jeff Reply

As a younger advisor, how can I use stories more effectively to relate to boomer or older aged clients?

Mike Davis Reply

The clearest way to say what the client wants to hear, which is the reason the client seeks guidance

Champ Reply

I am very straight and boring when it comes to presentation and telling stories…. I would like to learn to be more creative and interesting when selling or explaining. Same effort -> better results!

Wilbert Reply

Help me increase my customer conversion rate from my advertising efforts

Van Walker Reply

What Is The One Thing You Want Me To Do, To Help You Make Your Business Matter? I have a great story which certainly helps break the ice, however the most difficult thing I have trouble with seems to be trust. Not in me, but our product. They aren\’t mainstream like stocks bonds and mutual funds, etc., which are anything but trustworthy, but the results and returns are great. I invest in everything I offer and have received great results, which I am willing to share with clients. Don\’t get me wrong, I\’m certainly not starving, far from it but not being mainstream is a chore. I have little confidence in many of the products with house hold names, and certainly do not wish to offer much of the stuff on the market.

Steve Reply

Strange question, as I feel that my business already does matter (both to me and my existing clients).

However, I am interested in learning about ways to communicate more effectively with clients so that I can encourage them to take action to achieve what is important to them. I am also interested in ways of communicating with potential clients so that they will understand the benefits that my services can bring to them.

Noah Reply

The best ways to use visuals to aid in the planning process and create deeper relationships and more motivated, engaged clients. Beyond bar graphs and charts? Also, ways to use conversational marketing (value prop., elevator speech, etc) to get attention from prospective clients without sounding forced and cliche.

Great stuff.

Peter Reply

I have a good feeling about this. I feel that I will soon get help to make me feel better when talking with my clients which will help them feel better…………………….

Jason Badger Reply

Can you help me move my small practice from high-effort, low-margin to a proper effort level and reasonable margin, which will require raising fees on many clients?

Drew Reply

G\’day Ron,
I\’m enjoying your articles. Drawing upon your expertise and vantage point, How would you suggest we target a Generation Y neich market? Looking forward to you next article!

J.J. Reply

How can I obtain quality introductions from my clients and friends and attract people to my business?

Michel Metten Reply

Every week I look forward to your article. With your help and the 5 things every story needs, I am going to try to think more \”right\”.
Thanks for you tips!

Munaf Reply

Thanks for the tips! How do you get the client to trust you after the first meeting.

Aidan Reply

How can we reassure the post-Boomer generations that saving and investing for their futures is still safe and critical to their financial success when they have little faith in the banking system and distrust equities markets?

    Nigel Barker-Smith Reply

    You have a very typical obstacle thrown at you when the clients dream is not clear and bright enough. Keep asking open questions, like \”tell me more\”. It\’s amazing how obstacles disappear the clearer their vision of the future looks, especially when it\’s full of only what they enjoy.

    Warning, if the obstacle is in your head I.e bank distrust etc………then your the problem!
    Remove all judgements and let the client tell you their story.
    Happy holidays.

Michelle Reply

How do you make people feel something for insurance rather than just quoting statistics and presenting facts

M.S.Shabbir Reply

How can I make my clients see value in paying Advisory fee to an Independent Financial Adviser when Banks whom investors trust mis-sell products and get commission from manufacturers for higher volume sales?

Tracy Reply

Thanks Ron
Fantastic information. I would appreciate any ideas on how to create a story out of the facts to reach people emotionally.

raj Reply

Appealing to the heart, trumps the abstract cause .Wow its really great finding ,this approach helps our profession to go step ahead… in the right way

Blake Reply

I would like you to provide more examples of how we can integrate language, marketing, wording, etc into our businesses in order to increase our emotional connections with our clients. As you highlighted we do not learn how to do this in our formal FP training and so I am very interested to learn the best ways to tap into my right brain thinking and also my clients right brain thinking.

Brian Reply

Just keep sharing your thoughts with us, Ron. They alone challenge me to think differently about my practice and the people whose lives I\’m trying to impact in a meaningful way.

Jay Evans Reply

Would appreciate the email from you on how to create a story. Thanks!

Bill O\'Donnell Reply

I tend to be pretty analytical and my clients and prospects respect my technical expertise. I haven\’t done a good enough job of appealing to their emotions, though. I\’d welcome suggestions on morphing that technical strength into supporting emotional calls to action.

karl daly Reply

I totally agree with this approach.I would like to learn more about structuring my meetings to encompass the emotional and real life aspects where my advice can help…..suggestions?

Katia Reply

To tell stories, what is the best : charts or drawings ?
If drawings have influence, what are the best drawings ?

Terri Reply

I want you to help me identify ways to reach my ideal clients in ways that are efficient and cost effective. I have a compelling story, just don\’t know where to tell it so it is heard by my niche market.

Brahma Reply

More example of emotional (right brained) elevator speech so they are eager to ask \’how\’ etc and willing to explore further.

Francis Klonowski Reply

During the next 12 months I\’d like to ensure that I have a true understanding from all clients of their real concerns and aspirations – and avoid focusing on investent returns or funds at our review meetings. And to revise the website to reflect this approach.

Ernie Reply

Agree 100% with you. My problem is, as a left brain dominant person, I cannot switch back and forth from left to right when needed during a client presentation. How is this done?

    Lilibeth Reply

    I am essentially a right brained person but I need more help in compelling storytelling

Russell Reply


Just found your site last week and I\’m really enjoying your approach. I\’d love to read specific examples of ways to connect on a right brain level. I\’m so ingrained in the logical left brain side I need help!

Digby Reply

Hi Ronald

Great article. Please keep up the valuable content in your news letter! I look forward to reading the 5 Things Every Great Story Needs.

Ted Reply

Your newsletters are inspiring to me. Thinking about what we do and why we do it leads to the ideas on how to improve our business. Thinking outside the box makes for long term success.

Brendon Reply

Would love to hear your thoughts on the role of advisers in the area of inheritances and intergenerational wealth. Since we\’ve all heard terrible stories of how family wealth has been frittered away, caused great quarrels and rifts between children, etc, it would seem there is a lot of value to be added in this area. Do you believe there are opportunities for us to facilitate conversations between generations around this delicate area?

Doron Strusberg Reply

I would like you to help me to make my services more approachable to people.

Mike Dayoub, CFP® Reply

Help me double my number of clients, of course!

Ben Reply

How to help young clients engage in long term goal setting.

Derek Cobia Reply

I\’d like to know how to make an emotional connection with the general public using social media, blogs, newsletters, or any other form of reasonably cheap marketing tactics.

lisa ashton Reply

I am fairly new to the industry and as a CFP my focus in on reaching the clients that no one else wants to serve. They are not high net worth they are the struggling middle class who need to know cash flow management because they can\’t find money to invest. I find that so much of the information I read a lot and most sources tells us what we should do but does not help with the HOW to do.

Glenn Pitt Reply

Hi Ronald, I really appreciate your tips and guidance here as this helps me become a better servant for my current and future clients. We do not need more facts/figures/noise to communicate our important offer to current/prospective clients but do need more strings to align/attach our services to attainment of client goals. Everyone is unique, yet there are several patterns evident for successful behaviors as implemented by successful clients over time and mostly those under my advice/guidance. Time to sell the \”sizzle\” and not the \”steak\” in the financial advice discussion with clients! Regards…..Glenn Pitt Sydney Australia

Mark Marshall Reply

Good morning, I am looking for some directions, do you know the way to the right brain

Gary Winwood-Smith Reply

Does my story make you feel something……How can my story better make people feel more and care more?

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