Overcoming Apathy And Getting Clients To Move!

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

It frustrates me to no end that some clients just don’t want to help themselves. We are fiduciaries who take our roles very seriously. If we recommend a client make an estate plan or consider additional insurance, we are doing it because we believe it is in the client’s best interest. Some clients are very good about following through, but others nod “yes” when I’m talking but then don’t follow through. It’s not like we can take their arm and sign papers for them! Should we just disregard the people who don’t care or keep hoping for movement?

Anne S.

Dear Anne,

The fascinating truth about human beings is that we don’t always do what’s best for ourselves! In fact, most people won’t be motivated to action unless the pain of staying where they are becomes so great they can’t stand it, or the pleasure of where they could go becomes so clear they want to move in a new direction. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are almost always operating on the pain/pleasure continuum. This leads me to ask the question, have you communicated well enough to your clients the upside or downside of following through with what you are suggesting? In other words, is it only you who understands the issue and implication or are your clients clear about the value to them?

Consider some of these possibilities. The client could:

  • Be operating from a place of fear – most people avoid change at all costs and they hate to make a bad decision.
  • Misunderstand what you are asking and exactly what they need to do. They may need more specific direction and steps to take.
  • Want another opinion (and may not tell you they are seeking it).
  • Be disengaged from the process.

By Beverly Flaxington, read the full article here.

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