Here’s the 6 Step Formula To Get Your Client To Open Up Like a Flower

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What if your clients become very eager to talk about their financial goals?

And even thank you because you gave them the opportunity to share their story with you?

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want 

Magical words by Zig Ziglar. It’s the essence of engaging clients.

So, what do your clients really want? Your clients want to feel great about themselves. They just really like themselves, are eager to talk about themselves and they also find themselves highly important.

So, what can you do to get your clients what they want?

Begin with the end in mind

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, bestselling author Stephen Covey says that one of “The Habits” is to begin with the end in mind. Stephen explains that to begin with the end in mind means, to start with a clear understanding of your destination.

It means to know where you’re going. So that you better understand where you are now. And that the steps you are going to take, are always in the right direction. 

But how many clients do you have who begin with the end in mind?

But can you blame them? Your clients are busy. Really busy. They get caught up in the busy-ness of life, to work hard and even harder without being effective. They want instant-gratification. Now. Fast.

People often work hard at climbing the ladder of success, only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall ~ Stephen Covey

If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.

People struggle to achieve a higher income, more recognition or a certain degree of professional competence. Only to find that their drive to achieve their goal blinded them to the things that really mattered most. And now are gone.

How to begin with the end in mind?

I believe that if financial planners are able to let their clients begin with the end in mind, it not only will create an inner-compass for their clients. It also means that every important (financial) decision your clients are going to make, is based on the thought to eventually achieve this “end”.

It’s like your own business.

If you want to have a successful financial planning business, you clearly define what you’re trying to accomplish. You clearly think through the service you want to provide to your target audience. Then you organize all the elements (such as financial, organization, marketing, locations, etc.) to meet that objective.

Sounds logical?

Then why aren’t people doing it for themselves? Why don’t they begin with the end in mind? Why don’t they begin with their goals as a starting point?

Well, here’s the secret: nobody has asked them so far!

So, what do you ask your clients?

Before I’m going to tell you what’s the first step to get your clients open up like a flower, I’m asking you to begin with your end in mind. Your own goals.

Because when you experience “this first step” yourself, you’ll know what your clients experience when you are engaging them.

And no worries, it only takes about 30 seconds of your time.

So, I’d like to ask you to read this short story here below. Read it intensively. Maybe even read it twice. And then answer the question at the end.

I’m serious. It’s going to help you.

So here’s the story.

Via The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

“I’d like you to imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important occasions of your life. It will be held in a room sufficiently large to seat all of your friends, your family, your business associates–anyone and everyone to whom you are important and who is important to you.

Can you see it?

The walls are draped with deep golden tapestries. The lightning is subdued, soft, casting a warm glow on the faces of your expectant guests. The chairs are handsomely upholstered in a golden fabric that matches the tapestries.

The golden carpeting is deeply piled.

At the front of the room is a dais, and on the dais a large, beautifully decorated table with candles burning at either end. On the table, in the center, is the object of everyone’s attention.

A large, shining, ornate box.

And in the box is … you!

Stiff as the proverbial board. Do you see yourself lying in the box, not a dry eye in the room?

Now, listen………..”

…………… and answer this question:

What Will They Say When I Am Dead?

This thought-provoking-story-and-incredibly-powerful-question makes the ultimate application of beginning with the end in mind. To answer it you have to “fast forward” to the end of your life and look back.

It forces you to think about the things that matter most to you.

You may find out that what you thought mattered most to you in your life, is different now. You may have thought it would be something like fame, achievement, money or some other things you strive for. But now, you may have gained a different perspective.

If you carefully consider what you wanted to be said of you in the “funeral experience” you will find your definition of success.

You think about what the most meaningful people in your life will say as they reflect on their relationship with you. And about the impact you have had on their lives.

You also might come to the conclusion you should be doing things differently. Better maybe.

If so, then here’s the good news: You can still shape these conversations. Starting today. And yes, your clients can do that too.

Except, your client isn’t aware of this. Because no one has told him this story and asked him this question.


Do you feel this opportunity too? Or else, can you imagine what impression you are going to make if you ask this extremely powerful question to your client? You might.

But you are in doubt. I was too.

I thought I didn’t have the guts to ask this “high-touch-question”. Because maybe I would look like some “artsy-fartsy-kind-of-guy”.

And I hear you think:

“Ronald, do you seriously think I’m going to tell this fluffy story to my clients? No way.”

I understand.

But I’m going to help you to rephrase it.

Step 1: Ask that important question

If you’re not comfortable with the “do-you-see-yourself-lying-in-the-box-story”, your story could be like this:

“To really help you with your financial issues I believe I have to know you very well and I need to understand what’s really important in your life. That’s why I’m going to ask you a couple of questions to find out what your goals are in life. Even if you might think you don’t have any goals yet. 

Is that ok with you? (And your client says “yes”)

Thank you. The first question I’m going to ask you might sound a bit woolly at first, but it is meant to really get to know you. What I would like you to do is to picture yourself years from now. Actually I would like you to picture yourself at the end of your own life. Then think of the people you love the most, your friends and family and other people who are important in your life. Can you tell me how you want those people to remember you at the end of your life?

Now, don’t expect that the next couple of minutes are going to be easy. They’re not. And clients often resist the discussion. Typically, they’re not deliberately hiding anything; they just probably never thought about this ever before.

Some clients may insist that this kind of conversation is meaningless and a waste of time. But remember, most of your clients will be willing to talk. They open up like a flower.


Because they can talk about themselves. And every human being likes to talk about themselves.

Step 2: Listen actively

Your clients may have a difficult time formulating answers. Be patient. Tell them again that in order to help them, you must know them.

Listen for clues to what really matters and why.

Step 3: Show empathy

Pay really careful attention to what they say, how they says it, and what’s left unsaid.

Actively engage your clients in a serious, deep, and high-level conversation with a full and open exchange of their feelings.

Step 4: Build rapport

Empathy is what you feel. Rapport is when your clients feel it back.

If you’ve executed the previous steps correctly and have given it some time, you’ll get here. Your relationship with your clients has been one-sided so far. They have done the talking and you have been listening while showing empathy.

As empathy has been shown, rapport develops.

Step 5: Influence

Until you have rapport, you can’t influence the other side because they’re not listening and trusting you. Once you have that connection, you can work on suggesting ideas and problem solving.

By the way, you might think that it’s ethically wrong to influence your clients. Please don’t or read this article. You’ll find out that they want to be influenced.

Step 6: Act

Once the relationship has been established and influence achieved, your clients are willing to act on the suggestions you’ve developed together. Your client’s willingness to act will most likely occur only if the previous stages have been successfully completed.

However, to make these 6 steps become successful over time, financial planners should be aware of one big mistake. It’s a mistake that I believe many financial planners make.

But I want you to prevent you to make that mistake. So what if I told you about  The Biggest Mistake Financial Planners Make After Getting Their Clients To Open Up. 

And I also tell you what to do, to avoid this pain.

If you want to know, all you have to do is to answer this question:

What’s The Biggest Mistake You Ever Made When Trying To Get Your Clients To Go In Business With You?

Leave your answer – below – in the comment field.

You’ll receive the free PDF with The Biggest Mistake Financial Planners Make After Getting Their Clients To Open Up.

Let’s make financial planning matter.

To Your Success,



Leave a Reply 78 comments

Agrita Reply

They look in watch and start to finish conversation, because it’s so much time wasted for one client , which didn’t say, I want to apply for credit.

Judita Reply

Inappropriate timing with business offer

Jen Reply

Directing the conversation back too soon to what the Financial Planner can provide

Monisha Murthy Reply

Providing too much information

Guus Pijnenburg Reply

Pointing out too soon, generically, what their true problem was before actually listenig to what they thougt their problem was.

Jim Reply

Assuming the deal was essentially done and that I wasn\’t competing with anyone.

Elisha Reply

Not using the details I\’ve gathered to close the sale.

Bronwyn Reply

Talking too much and not just letting it be about the client.

John Reply

Providing the solution before understanding the full extent of the problem.

Andreas Reply

Not preparing the client for the roadblock up front.

Scott Reply

I spent too much time talking and not enough time listening.

Jon Reply

Failing to get commitment from a client before discussing the solutions I had for him.

Teresa Reply

Not following through with the client.

TommyG Reply

Kept selling after client convinced. Say less listen more.

Matt Reply

Not establishing any rapport

Sean Reply

Making more about the numbers and not objectives.

Paul Reply

not showing them how I can stay relevant to them to assist them with their pathway

Dave Cawley Reply

Trying to sell a product, instead of listening and making the appropriate recommendation.

Brad Reply

I\’ve had success connecting with the client in the first meeting and talking about long-term goals and finding that emotional connection. But have trouble in follow up meetings which tend to be more about product. It\’s hard to relate the product to the long-term goals in a language that they still connect with.

hendri Reply

Meeting the client without preparations. Assuming things would just work out fine like previous cases.

Geoff Ivanac Reply

Not getting to understand what was important to the clients and spending too much time getting bogged down in content and technical details.

Daniel Schwenker Reply

Not scheduling the follow up meeting.

Philip Reply

Not following step 2

Emil Reply

Talking too much and too soon about product and technical features

Marc Reply

Going through several rounds of appointments without having gotten clear buying signals from the prospect, wasting time and resources in the process…

H Jeffrey Reply

talking too much and not listening enough!

Ben Reply

Discussing solutions to what I beleive their problems are prior to fully understanding the client and what they beleive their issues to be. Spending too much time talking about solutions as apposed to listening to the client about what they are looking to acheive.

Scott Reply

talking too much about solutions, options available for them

Todd Reply

Assuming I have the solution prematurely

kathleen Reply

selling my services as an answer to their issues

mark Reply

Focusing on the solution.

Mike Clark Reply

Make them feel like we knew everything and treat them like a number.

Paul Reply

The biggest mistake might be the FP is immediately going to solve the problems and in that case finding just products. So only sending to the client, not receiving, in order to get contracted. But for this moment there there is no fully commitment.

Mike Reply

Being too keen to be helpful and impress the prospective client by telling them how to address the problem they came to me with, before signing them up as a client.

Erik Reply

Overloading the client with information that I love talking about, then realizing that they are not following me.

David Reply

Giving them the plan without agreeing the cost of providing the service. Telling them how to get to the end instead of selling the what the end could look like.

Kevin Reply

Giving away the solution to the clients problem before gaining a commitment to work with me!

Rutvij Bhutaiya Reply

Delayed in call back to one of my HNI client.

helen Reply

Present solutions too quickly.

Wayne Reply

Providing too much information for them to process. Not listening, talking too much.

Jason Reply

Speaking too much and not asking for the business.

Steven Reply

Trying to get the sales too fast without understanding the clients needs.

Richard Reply

Not following up

Cameron Reply

Tried to solve client concerns before taking the time to fully understand their issue

Joe Reply

Trying to sell my service rather than continuing to ask questions and listening!

Warren Reply

giving too much information to the potential client before they commit to come on board with me.

Ken Reply

Lost patience with a closed mind.

David Reply

Trying to explain a very technical financial issue to a highly qualified and experienced specialist in another field and not realising that he was not understanding it and really was not interested in the technicalities just the end result.

Marsha Reply

Rushing to sell product before understanding thoroughly what the client wants or needs.

Mark Reply

Providing a solution to meet their goals verbally before having actual commitment from the client(s). They are then left in a position of power – either try implement themselves, go elsewhere and ask for strategy to be implemented or to reduce your fees as you\’ve already given away most of what you would be recommending for free.

Theo Reply

Not being empty enough myself to really listen to my client what he or she is telling me and not telling me.

Peter Reply

Talking too much in stead of listening.

Robert Terry Reply

Probably starting to talk when I really want the client to

Matt Reply

Talking too much.

Michel Metten Reply

talking too much and forgot to listen to the potential client!

Rutvik Pathak Reply

Mistake I make is sharing too much information with him , which is difficult for him to digest….

Rutvik Pathak Reply

The Biggest Mistake I make is sharing too much information with him , which is difficult for him to digest….

Adrian Kidd Reply

Being ingenuine

Eric Reply

Give too much detail in the beginning without them understanding the concept.

Chandan Singh Padiyar Reply

The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made When Trying To Get My Client To Get In Business With me was, I criticized his current way of buying Investment Products

Martyn Reply

Giving them too which information straight away and leaving them feeling overwhelmed.

Sean Reply

Not asking enough questions about WHY the client wanted\”x\” as a result. I get numbers, but not enough emotional connection.

Justin Reply

Showing them technical detail which was beyond there comprehension.

Mike Leffler Reply

I\’ve just felt lost. Here, I\’ve gotten them to open up and tell me what I wanted them to tell me. However, I felt lost then. I had a hard time connecting the soft data with the hard data (investments/solutions). I think the soft data was somewhat overdone because I had a hard time making practical use of it and making a natural connection to the solutions.

Kim Reply

Talking to much and trying to help the client before they commit to our service.

Mark Marshall Reply

Start rattling off and going into overload with information.

Blake Reply

Being to pushy about implementing the advice.

Marti Reply

Info overload

Harvey James Reply

Not asking them for their business and being bullet-proof about my pricing.

Sean Hinson Reply

Going straight into solution mode and not allowing a deeper relationship to develop.
Not asking enough questions.

Brendon Reply

Going straight to technical solutions, not taking the time to build a relationship

matt stevens Reply

Accepting all new client enquiries and offering a poorer service to my existing clients because I\’m too busy! This has now been reversed.

marc Reply

focusing on the numbers not on the emotions

Monica Reply

Paralyzing the prospective client with too much information to help them be absolutely sure that working with me would be the right decision for them.

Mark Charlton Reply

Solving the the problem for the potential client before they commit to come on board with me.

Peter Reply

Talking about myself when the conversation should be about the client.

Scott Painter Reply

Delaying asking or NOT asking for the client\’s business.

Nikki Reply

Biggest mistake – thinking a referral from an existing client meant the prospective client was actually looking for services like ours, when in fact they were only looking to prove the way they currently operated was the \’right\’ way.

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