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.
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.
“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?
…………… 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.”
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,