How You Almost Always Win Your Clients’ Hearts and Sometimes Even Get Raving Fans By Just Reversing The Order of Your Story

Raving fans for the financial planner


Not a single financial planner wants to scare his potential clients off when telling the story about their business. Yet, very few financial planners dare to really attract their clients with the real reason they are in business. But what if that reason is a story that makes you more believable, trustworthy and gets you more clients (and maybe even some raving fans)?

In 1997, a young CEO was launching a new product, and here’s what he said to his team:

“Marketing is about values. Our clients want to know what it is that we stand for. And what we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. We’re about something more than that. We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

The he played the “Think Different” advertising campaign video, which began with the words, “Here’s to the crazy ones …..”

The ad, of course, was for the Apple computer, and the “crazy ones” were people who dared to think that they could change the world. Steve Jobs changed how we buy and listen to music and the way we work and shop. Apple forever changed how we feel about technology by becoming part of our story.

How do you win your client’s heart (and even get some raving fans)?

What if the Apple ad would go on like this:

Here’s to the crazy ones. We make great computers. They are beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Wanna buy one?

Do you think this is a compelling ad? I think not.

Unfortunately, that’s how most financial planners communicate. They say for example:

I’m a financial planner, I give advice to high net worth people so that they can reach their financial goals. I’m a fee-only CFP with specialization in wealth management. Wanna buy my service?”

The real Apple ad goes like this:

Here’s to the crazy ones. In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?”

Do you think this is a compelling ad? I believe it is.

Apple reversed the order of their business story. Apple didn’t tell us first what they were selling. No, first they told us why they were in business. Apple sells computers to challenge the status quo. Apple told us why they did what they did. And that helped them to speak to what really matters to the people. So that ‘the crazy ones’ had a real and personal connection with the story of Apple.

What Steve Jobs knew

As we all know Steve Jobs was a brilliant marketer. He knew that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. He knew that if he would tell the world what he was selling, he wouldn’t be really compelling or different than any other computer company.

So what if the financial planner would communicate like Apple? So that your client will have a true connection with your story?

What if you start your story with why? Then maybe you’ll also get raving fans, just like Apple.

If you want A Story That Inspires Clients And That You Can Use to Inspire Yourself, I’ll send you the PDF. All you have to do is to answer this question:

What is your biggest problem in persuading your client to do (more) business with you?

Please, leave your answer here below in the comment field. You’ll receive (within 24 hours) a personal email from me with A Story That Inspires Clients And That You Can Use to Inspire YourselfWith your comment you’ll help me and other readers of this blog with insights. So that we can inspire each other and think together to improve and innovate our financial planning business.

To your success,

Ronald Sier

If you don’t want to miss the next tip to advance your client relationships then please fill in the boxes below and click.


Leave a Reply 57 comments

Gianluca Reply

Thank Ronald, i’m your italian fan

Nancy Reply

Great information. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
I have saved as a favorite for later!

John Reply

Biggest issue is clients are open to getting some information from you and then thinking they can do it themselves

Scott Wellens Reply

My biggest problem attracting more business is trying to distinguish myself from the crowd. I know that I am different but I don\’t know how to put it all into words.

Nat Reply

My biggest problem is clients thinking they know it all

Joe Reply

Getting prospects to realise that Lifestyle Financial Planning is a complete departure form the established but broken system of commission driven sales

Derick Reply

I think Marty and Chris\’ view point sums up what I am experiencing. I am very client centric and adding value is not difficult in a client portfolio, however how to differentiate my value proposition to stand out from the crowd is something that I think I need to work on and also how to change the behavioral programming that clients have in spending money on non wealth accumulation items. The feel good items seem to dominate household expenses these days. Changing that perception in creating a mental shift in the client is the challenge.

Bill Reply

Ray nailed it very well. The financial service industry is distrusted by many people, in some cases for very valid reasons. The constant deluge of news about Ponzi schemes and crooked planners stealing from little old ladies does not build confidence, any more than finding your \”planner\” is really a salesman dedicated to his/her commission at the expense of the client, even if they hold a CFP designation. As a fee-only registered investment advisor I have a fiduciary (the new F word) responsibility to the client, not to myself. Regretfully that is not just not understood by the public, it is unknown. Until a single legal definition of \”fiduciary\” that favors the client is mandated the confusion and distrust will continue. And thus, as Ray pointed out, distinguishing oneself from the pack is difficult.

Asmadi Ahmad Reply

The biggest hurdle for me when I first started out is projecting the emotional dilemma into the prospect minds. Too often I fall into the \”professional standard\” routine of telling about my services, which does nothing to engage the prospects I met.

Anthony Reply

Establishing trust !!!

Marc Reply

The biggest show stopper for more business is typically limited budget. Nevertheless, once true desire has been aroused, even the alleged limited budget is not a constraint anymore…

John Reply

For new clients it\’s articulating value. The same as Chris\’s comments on 25 July. I also read your response and am now using all these comments to improve my techniques. Thankyou.

Andrew Reply

My greatest issue is articulating the value I can deliver – especially opposed to accountants, who are in my cases than not already the potential client\’s trusted adviser.

Charlie Reply

I feel the biggest problem is attracting the right type of client and having confidence to turn down clients who take away from your specialty and from your client focus by then solving other problems unfamiliar to the desired practice.

Ray Reply

I actually feel there are 2 big issues I face — establishing trust and then differentiating myself from the masses of other planners.

Kevin Reply

Being real is the starting point. Recognizing and addressing the challenges of the client and letting them see how you will address them, with only their best interests in mind, is key.

Philip Reply

What is your biggest problem in persuading your client to do (more) business with you?

Selecting the right clients and focusing in on clients that want to and have the ability to do more business. Learning to say no more often – sometimes that can be a hard decision .

Brian Reply

I know clients want to feel secure. Have a sense of freedom, less stress and not be a burden to others. Ideally being able to do what they want, when they want, where they want. How do I craft a compelling story to communicate this?

Damien Reply

The biggest challenge is determining my WHY and articulating that to my the clients I am refferred as not all will value my beliefs?

bo de beleggingsadviseur Reply

Trying to articulate and find my elevator pitch without having to defend the industry

Marc Reply

My biggest problem is that I am still following the \”telling is selling\” approach coupled with left-brain thinking. I am in need to change this to a story-telling approach coupled with questions which connect with prospects on an emotional level

lilibeth viaplana Reply

too much competition

Ronald Reply

I think that the biggest problem is the lack off thrust of our clients in the financial industry. Reason is the bad information by the companies about the cost in their products ( see the Dutch law suites against the insurance companies like Aegon, Reaal about their bad products ) The television programs like Tros Radar etc.

The common people does not trust us. And also the bad financial situation their in.. ( jobless, less income by regulations like Tax. )

It will take time. es I see the Industry changing from a Product-selling to advice-selling…..

Enes Reply

Not having enough experience in the industry and being relatively young compared to other financial planners out there.

Dominic Reply

Biggest issue is get clients to see beyond cost of advice versus the value of the advice.

Ray Reply

Getting clients to believe I am different than all the other financial service providers out there.

Nita Menezes Reply

Amazing article Ronald.
My challenge with prospects is that they like the process,appreciate the kind of professional work involved, but are stuck due to some sort of inertia..Quite often it is the fee and they are not ready to spell it out.
Most of the times it is their previous experience where they have been taken for a ride and are scared to change.Challenge is to create a sense of urgency ….

Pervis Ullis Reply

I\’d like to get clients more engaged in follow-through. Too often, we discuss good ideas and plans, but execution lacks commitment.

J.J. Reply

Convincing clients that the effort & risk of change; planning & investing with me, is necessary.

Terri Reply

My challenge in getting prospects to act is getting them as emotionally involved in solving their problem as I am. When I work with someone that has a burning desire to improve or change, it is so rewarding for both of us! Helping clients understand the difference between simple and easy and how to filter out the media noise is a huge challenge.

Tyler Furger Reply

I think that you covered the biggest challenge well. THere is often a barrier that exists between myself and a prospective client and that barrier is trust. I\’ve always felt that intentions are one of the most important pieces to evaluate decisions, and when clients have a more thorough understanding of our intent, they will be in a better place to evaluate and accept the decisions we are making behalf.

Miranda Reply

My biggest problem in persuading clients to do business with me is that I talk TOO much! My intro is not short, solid, and impactful. I believe it\’s too much info and may be overwhelming for prospects. In my passion for financial planning, I need help in telling my story with a high degree of transferring the empowerment outlook.

Blake Reply

Great article Ronald.

It was in fact Simon Sinek\’s video on which led me to your site as I was searching for more details. Like you Ronald, I now realise the importance of story telling and explaining my WHY to potential clients as this will allow me to attract others who share similar beliefs and I will have more influence and can provide more value if my clients and I are aligned on a more emotional level.

The biggest challenge is determining my WHY and articulating that to my the clients I am refferred as not all will value my beliefs?

Shae Reply

A problem in the UK industry is that many processes in business are driven by compliance (rather than client needs) which kills the engagement and confuses the real planning. We have a population that is highly suspicious of the industry because typically they have not received great value in the past . We also have an investment industry that is generally ultra short term in its thinking and this can be highly misleading for clients planning long term.

Jose Reply

True performance

Mike Reply

Getting them to understand that we invest money in a better way than the competition.

Suresh K Narula Reply

My biggest problem is: how is connecting with the affluent prospects and not having any network.

Rick Reply

What is your biggest problem in persuading your client to do (more) business with you?

Too much talking – not enough listening…

Helen Reply

My biggest problem in getting clients to do business with me is not tapping into the right brain emotional stuff as much as I should. I am so glad I have found your blog as I find the articles positive and motivating and I will use them to re-think my client engagement process. I can explain the benefits of doing business with me until the cows come home and they seem so compelling to myself – but without the emotional buy in of the customer – they fall on deaf ears.

Matthew Walz Reply

Ron: I am new in the industry and am continuing to work a lot with my base flow clients. I am leary at times as I don\’t want to seem pushy and thus deter them from seeing the importance of what it is I do. I truly am learning that the right brain approach is more effective and appealing to my prospects. I also work as a nurse in a large hospital and thus have a large niche market. My trouble is getting those I know to understand my value as a financial planner. My boss in the industry is very right brained in his approach and I foresee this as a tremendous asset as my career moves along. That being said, the more stories I hear and can draw from the better.

Mike Reply

My biggest problem in getting clients to do more business with me is \”shiny object syndrome.\” Many seem to want a quick fix or quick result. We may have a sound plan that will meet their goals, but they expect me to pull a rabbit out of a hat every so often, rather than stick to the same strategy year after year.

Marc Reply

Hi Ronald,

For me, the biggest problem is cutting through the noise and the clutter that has become the face of the mainstream financial industry.

There\’s an enormous amount of money in this industry. It\’s this money that buys the advertising, and gets the air time, and the publication space. All this money let\’s these huge firms tell their story very loudly, and with such pervasiveness that people buy into that story, and accept it as Gospel.

They feel that if this information is so ubiquitous, it has to be right … right?

Wrong. But those of us who see things differently, and try to do things differently in this industry have a huge built-in bias to get through in order to tell our story.

Obviously, we can\’t yell louder, and we don\’t want to yell louder. We\’re seeking a different approach. A way to cut through the din. A way to have our story be given a fair listen, and evaluated for what it is, instead of what the mainstream tells people it is.

That\’s why I\’m here, and I suspect that\’s why a lot of people are here. You are on to something really important. And I\’m trying to internalize it. Not just for me and my practice, but for the people who need good planning, and are not getting it.

Harshavardhan Bhusari Reply

Hi Ronald,

Interesting blog indeed! The biggest problem/challenge currently in this part of the world is to persuade clients to pay for the professional advice. Being a product oriented market, free advice coupled with mis-selling of products is freely available. Under these circumstances to make clients believe in a process (and not a product) and then to persuade him to pay fee for it is challenging given the varied nature of different individuals.

Cody M. Reply

I agree with a few of the above posters in that I spent a long time trying to inspire prospects to take action for themselves. I finally realized that no matter how much hand holding I provided, it ended up being a waste of time. Move on, cut your losses, and find the individuals that my message resonates with.

Tim Murray Reply

My challenge is convincing prospects, particularly those that don\’t know me, that the service I provide from my one man shop in my home, actually has much more value than the product pushing big firms with their fancy offices and \”research\” teams. A lot of smoke and mirrors and the public doesn\’t get it…

Simon Reply

My biggest problem when talking with prospective clients is articulating my value proposition in a way that will inspire people to take action. I know the value of adivce but as you\’ve mentioned clients need to go through the process to see the value

Justin Reply

I think the biggest challenge facing my firm is the general lack of trust in the Financial services sector. If consumers don\’t know where to turn too to get unbiased and client centric advice then they wont engage at all. It is also really difficult for someone to honestly know whether the advice was in their best interest until years later. I know we deliver advice with real integrity but how does the consumer distinguish that with the advice from a glib and slick sales person. With a product such as Apple computers they can see that it just works. Much easier with a tangible product.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    Thank you for your reply Justin. An interesting question and probably THE biggest problem of our industry. But let me ask you this: what do you do when you don\’t know how to choose?

    You rely on your \’gut-feeling\’. That\’s what consumers also are going to do when searching for a financial planner. When you focus on how you can make your clients feel about themselves when doing business with you, it doesn\’t even matter to them if your advice doesn\’t exactly turn out in their best interest. Because you and your services make them feel great. That doesn\’t mean that your advice doesn\’t have to be solid. You must do good work. Always, just like the Apple computer is good work. It\’s like a fortune cookie. The cookie is your service, your advice, your financial plan. That must always be good. Then there\’s the fortune, the story, the intangible part and the thing that makes your client feel something. Now, I know that the \’financial planning\’ cookie is the best cookie in the financial services industry. That\’s why I\’m focussing on the financial planner with this blog. What I believe can be advanced is the fortune. And that\’s one of the things I\’m helping you with, with my blog. So that your service gives your client an acquired or perceived value. To be successful and to regain trust, you must not sell the cookie but the fortune.

      Justin Reply

      Spot on Ronald but my challenge is not when clients do engage with me, I have a very high rate of clients that come and see me that then hire me. That\’s not the challenge, the challenge is that people will not even try and engage as they don\’t want to enter the \”Bear pit\”. It\’s too scary out there. \”If I don\’t address my financial problems at least I wont get ripped off. \” I will DIY or not at all. Apple got people to want an IPAD, I need to get people to want Advice.

        Ronald Sier Reply

        Thanks again Justin. You specify your problem very clear now. What I read is that people have lost all faith in the financial services industry. If your target audience also fits in that categorie, you want to sell hope with your services. You have to tell stories of hope, create metaphors that build faith and make videos where you tell your purpose. What about this: \”MFP Wealth Management wants to rebuild trust in the financial services industry. We believe in a future where people will have peace of mind about their financial issues, so they can do the things they are really good at. We\’re doing that with …how you\’re doing this…. What we do is ….financial planning, wealth management, etc…..\”

        Do you believe your clients are buying into this story?

        I truly believe that financial planners are key in rebuilding trust in our industry. I know financial planners are by definition highly educated and they truly want to help people. So we are the best ambassadors for rebuilding trust. And that makes our profession more important than ever. When we are all spreading a message that engages with our potential clients (and doing good work which we do) than rebuilding trust is just a matter of time. We just have to use our (right brain) potential to appeal to the emotions of our clients.

Alan Reply

One of the biggest challenges is to articulate the value of true, goals based financial planning to potential clients. It is difficult to clearly explain what it is, how it is delivered and the real value, both financially as well as emotionally for individuals.

I have found that the best way is story telling – providing examples of the work we have done for others \’just like you\’ and explained their situation before they worked with us and then after we had helped.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    Thanks for your comment Alan. Although I think storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to engage clients, I believe it must be used well in the right situation. I believe it works if you exactly know what\’s really important to your client. Otherwise you might be telling a story that doesn\’t resonate with your clients. With potential clients it\’s sometimes difficult to let them tell what\’s really important. One \’tactic\’ I use quite often is to tell my own story first, so that the client feels \’obliged\’ to tell his story.

    I wrote an article about this a while ago. You might want to take a look at that:
    Hope this helps Alan.

Marti Reply

We live in an instant gratification world and our objective as financial planners and professionals is to help others. One huge challenge is persuading clients to do what is in their best interest; ie: sacrificing today through savings and delayed gratification so they can achieve goals down the road. I\’m curious how others have assisted their clients in overcoming this behavioral shift.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    I think you\’re on the right track Marti. I totally agree with you on the gratification part. So what does gratification mean? It\’s \’the pleasurable emotional reaction of happiness in response to fulfillment of a desire of a goal\’. (according to Wikipedia). That\’s good news because it totally resonates with our profession. Now what I believe must be our challenge is not only doing what\’s in their best interest (because that\’s what we always do, that\’s our profession), but also make your clients experience this \’pleasurable emotional reaction\’. What financial planners normally do is focussing on the goal. But to really make your clients feel great (and be successful in the future) is to focus on the feeling we give to our clients. So the question is: What business are you in? Are you in the financial planning business? Or are you in the \’peace of mind business\’ or \’guidance business\’ etcetera.
    Hope this helps you Marti.

Chris Reply

My biggest problem in persuading clients to do business with me is I don\’t know how to distinguish myself from the crowd. How do I articulate my value proposition in a way that is inspires people to act?

    Ronald Sier Reply

    I recognize that problem Chris. It is (what I believe) the most heard problem. You see, clients often see the value of financial planning AFTER being in business with you.
    That\’s why I believe it\’s really important that you can make people \’feel\’ they way they want to feel. So do you know how do your clients want to feel? Connected, informed, important, reassured, special and on and on. That\’s what you have to find out and build your propositon around this feeling. So that people feel BEFORE they go in business with you. You\’ll see that you\’ll have engaging clients like Apple has.

Russ Thornton Reply

Great post, Ronald. Thanks for sharing.

I have spent and continue to spend a lot of time thinking about my personal \”why\” and have also been inspired by the work of Simon Sinek along with Apple\’s \”Think Different\” ad campaign.

My biggest challenge in winning the hearts and minds of new clients is \”conventional wisdom.\” Many people have latched on to what they hear in the media and from other so-called advisors about how they should make financial decisions and manage their money.

When I present a different and often much simpler approach, many people honestly don\’t believe it can be as simple as I make it for them. They want to make things more complex (and often more expensive) than it needs to be in managing their personal finances.

I\’ve since come to realize that I can\’t win over everyone, and those that my approach resonates with will be attracted to me and those that don\’t \”get it\” can take it or leave it. This has been a liberating realization for me as I no longer try \”convince & convert\” everyone I meet with.

Thanks for the writing and work you\’re doing

Leave a Reply: