The service received by regular customers of a good business – like the warmth one feels at that bar where everyone knows your name and the bartender has your drink ready before you ask – is what our clients (most of them anyway) are seeking and would appreciate. Everyone wants to be recognized/acknowledged and made much of since humans like positive attention and want to feel important. Just watch the local TV news and all of the video (professional or social media or other) showing people expressing their opinions on a variety of subjects (and people on TV expressing opinions about video as opposed to “reality”). It really means something to many of us to be able to say something and know others will hear and see it. This is something akin to the notion of a person bringing a lawsuit for the principle of the thing – in other words, to be able to say their piece even if they don’t get anything more out of it.
Why does this matter? It helps us as advisors to understand motivations and decisions by our customers and to know why they work with us (or not) and what is expected or at least desired from us in serving them. It should go without saying that we need to be open and encouraging with our clients and get them to share what is important to them. How else could we be able to give effective and needed advice? The human element is central to much business and that definitely includes the investment advisory and financial planning arena.
The advice we give – from the various options for action and the tools and techniques we recommend – should fit this approach as well. It should reflect our understanding of what our client has told us and evidence our respect for what they need to do and to have in their lives. That connection, felt on a human level, is a strong connection indeed and will help make the relationship a successful one for both you and your client.
So the next time you are approached by a client and feel any impatience or irritation – squelch it. Sit back and listen, really listen, and your client will appreciate it and you may learn much that will assist you in working with that client. Of course, there will be those persons who just won’t benefit from this approach and who you won’t be able to help as you would want to help. Not everyone should be your client and that is important to know as well.