Are Your Clients Meetings Like Visits to the Dentist?

June 17, 2014

by Dan Richards

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In their desire to give prudent advice, sometimes advisors fail to deliver the positive messages that clients need to stay motivated and on track. Worse yet, some advisors’ approaches leave clients feeling that their next visit will be a chore.

I was reminded of that in a recent conversation with a professional couple, who told me this about their advisor:

Lots of people complain about their financial advisors, but Nancy’s a joy to work with. We always walk away from meetings with renewed enthusiasm about prospects for the future. Our previous advisor was a nice guy, but his meetings were a bit like going to the dentist – they were often a bit painful. We went because we knew we should but they weren’t really something we looked forward to.

We met Nancy at a dinner party at a friend’s house. Our friend had been telling us about her for a while. We arranged to meet with her the following week and after talking to Nancy, we saw why our friend was so enthusiastic about her.

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Helping clients stayed energized

The next day I called Nancy and arranged to have coffee the following week. Our conversation revealed some important messages for advisors. Nancy gave me permission to share it below.

I believe that I’m in the business of helping clients stay energized and focused on their financial goals and to make financial decisions that will lead happy lives both today and in future. The last 10 years have been tough for a lot of people, and it’s easy to become discouraged. It’s not enough for advisors to give great advice and put together a great plan. You have to help clients stick to that plan. That’s my major focus and that of everyone on my team – to help clients implement the advice they agree to.”

One problem is that there’s so much attention on saving for retirement that people can deprive themselves of the things that make life enjoyable today. My niche is professionals in their 30s, 40s and 50s, many of whom are just ramping up their saving in a serious way. I don’t work with a lot of super-wealthy people. My clients have solid incomes, but most still have to be careful about their spending. That’s why I encourage them to maintain a balance between the things that will let them enjoy retirement and the small things that keep them going day to day.

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