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Towards the beginning of this year (2014) I started using a process with clients and potential clients that has had more power than anything I’ve introduced in years.  It’s called the alignment conversation.

During this conversation we take a look at how you’re aligned with yourself.  This means are you really doing the things that you want to be doing?  In ever instance there has been a gap.  If we can help fill the gap, we have a conversation about what our relationship might look like.

We start with where you are.

Before we can start a journey with you we need to know where you are.  This means what is going on in your life now.  Are you happy with what you have?  If not, we’ll have lots to talk about in the next part of the conversation.

Next we ask where you want to be.

This might be the most important part of the conversation.  I’m not really interested in what your goals are.  I’m more interested in where you want to be at some point in the future.  You get to choose what that point might be.  My job is to just asking good questions for both us to find out with clarity what that future is.

We then look at the gap between the two.

If we know where we are and where we want to be we get to start looking at the differences.  If they’re minor, you likely are pretty happy with where you are.  If there’s a big gap it could be from being unhappy or you might be seeing some opportunities that you want to take advantage of.  I’m hoping it’s more about opportunity and less about being unhappy.

We help you identify the value of filling the gap.

This is where the important part of the conversation happens.  I want to find out what would be different in your life if you were able to fill the gap.  This is where we get to why it’s important for you and how any changes would make your life better.

When we gain real clarity on the value of filling the gap, we might end up going back to revisit the conversation about where you want to be.  In fact, most of time that’s exactly what we do.

The important thing in this part of the process is to not necessarily put a monetary value on what filling the gap is.  I want to know how your life will be different and how any changes will make your life better.

We’ll give you some information about us.

If you’re going to work with us you probably want to know a little bit about how we got to where we are.  In my case, I’ll give you a brief history of who I am and how I came to hold the beliefs I have.  You’ll have an ability to do lots of research about us.  We have a very public image on the Internet and it’s easy to find out who we are.

What about a collaborative team?

I think collaboration is the key to developing real alignment between you and I.  Without alignment between us there won’t be respect.  Without collaboration I can promise you that you’ll not get the type of result you want.  Once we figure out how to collaborate with each other then we can talk about others that we’ll need to help you get a positive result.

We’ll talk about our requirements of doing business with you.

We don’t accept everyone as clients.  It’s important for you to know what our rules are for accepting new clients.  It’s important for us to know what your rules are for success when we work with you.  I find that having this conversation keeps us from having misunderstandings that could easily have been avoided.

What do you think?  Do you think an alignment conversation might help you figure out who the right advisors are for you?  

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Topics: wealth management, alignment conversation

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