Advisors love to advise. We think we have a great deal of value to add and always want our clients to listen and take our advice. This often manifests itself as the advisor talking and the client listening.
The problem with this is that when we’re doing all the talking, we really don’t know if we’re helping the client deal with the issues they believe are important. Instead we’re often telling the client what we think they should do and don’t spend a great deal of time asking ourselves whether this is what the client wants to deal with or not.
The problem is that many advisors just don’t listen very well. They don’t make a practice of asking the client why they want to do something and they don’t drill down on client wishes. Without this activity I believe many advisors answer the wrong question and waste both the client’s and their time.
If you ask many advisors what they’re implementation rate is with clients they will tell you that it’s very low. This isn’t because the advisor has a lack of technical skills; I believe it’s usually because the advisor has not done a good job of setting up conversations that go both ways.
Effective advisors listen at least twice as much as they talk. Great advisors learn to listen well and ask good questions. It’s through this process they don’t make the mistake of assuming what the client wants. Listening well assures that the advisor will know what the client wants.
If the advisor takes the next step and then understands what the motivation is behind their client’s wishes they can then design a great solution that will have a high level of implementation. This is what I call the why step, or helping the client understand why their outcome is important.
Advisors have a big responsibility in understanding client motivation and wishes. It’s easy for advisors to guide clients in a particular direction. Our clients comes to us for advice. We have the opportunity to either give advice assuming we know what the issue is or listen intently to truly understand what our client’s goals are.
When we truly understand we’re providing better service and will have happier clients.
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