by Tony Vidler
It is tough in professional services to get clients to fully understand what you do, and where your knowledge and skills can make a difference in their lives. Much of what we do is nebulous….intangible….conceptual….and full of what if’s?
Getting a client to the AHA! moment where they get it, and understand the process, your knowledge and skills, and what difference these things can all make to their lives can be done reasonably simply with a diagram.
I admit my preference is to draw the diagram on a whiteboard or a pad in front of the clients in real time, rather than have a pre-prepared graphic, as it is more interactive and it is personalised for the client. It is about them when you are drawing it, and you are far more likely to get that AHA! moment, and total buy-in to the process.
The Number 1 diagram to use is this one:
Two lines….one showing how retirement and investment planning works, and the other showing where risk management fits in over the course of a typical client’s life.
Pretty simple, and you don’t need to be an artist to draw two lines.
And there are actually two AHA! moments in doing it.
The first moment is when they realise what good holistic financial advice is all about…..the mix of managing risks, and cash, and planning ahead, and having a plan for it all…but recognising that there are likely to be shifting priorities for the client overtime and what we begin with isn’t necessarily going to be a critical part of the plan over time….suddenly holistic advice and having a plan makes sense. It all fits together in helping the clients achieve what they want.
The second AHA! moment though is even more powerful….it is the positioning of the value and the skill of the adviser.
Our greatest value is managing the intersection in reality….a little bit like the traffic policeman…
Knowing when to let some things go, and knowing when to stop others, and managing the changes in a fast moving and dynamic environment. When to put the accelerator down on the savings or investments…when to ease back on some of the insurance and risk management strategies….or visa versa…. knowing when it is time to get more serious with the estate planning….and so on.
Any online calculator can provide clients with basic numbers on how much they should have, or should save, at any given moment in their life.
No online calculator however can manage emotions, competing priorities, rapidly shifting needs and aspirations and the numbers at the same time, and on an ongoing ever-shifting basis.
The professional adviser’s greatest value to clients is not in creating a plan full of numbers, it is in adapting the plan to fit the clients world as their lives change.
Explain that to a client and you will usually get the AHA! you need to get them buying into a great advice process.