Getting deep into the world of your client is the only way you can get to understand them and what they want, and consequently put yourself in a position to deliver beyond their expectations.
This is far easier than many people seem to make it.
So what is the starting point?
In this series so far we have talked about taking yourself out of the picture. You and what you want is simply not the primary purpose of engaging with a client.
What is the primary purpose is creating value for your client. This can only happen in their world, not yours.
But this doesn't mean you should act like a charity, giving away what you do for virtually nothing and considering yourself fortunate to even be making a living. In fact, it is the complete opposite.
As I write, two advisers I know spring to mind. Both are very different characters, with very different businesses. Yet both these businesses are thriving and experiencing exceptional growth.
One of the reasons the businesses keep growing is that good people want to become their clients.
This is because the primary aim of both businesses is deeply caring for people. And they really do. It is not contrived; it is genuine. There is absolutely no hidden agenda.
It is so easy to be preoccupied with your own ‘stuff’. Advisers can obsess over their proposition, fee structure, investment process and dozens of other things.
While of course these are important, it can be easy to over-complicate things with clients. But by doing this you are inviting resistance. They don't care about your world - they care about their world.
So, how do you get deep into the world of your client?
My belief is that strategies, tactics and processes will only get you so far. What really makes the difference is understanding how to bring out the best in your clients.
We are not designed to live by processes when interacting with others. If you are tied to a process, then there's the risk of trying to shoehorn each situation to fit with the process. Life doesn't lend itself to this approach enough to make it viable.
There are four key aspects to getting into the world of your client:
1. Deep listening
When you listen to music for enjoyment you let it wash over you. You are not judging, evaluating or intellectualising it. You let it impact you, move you and touch you. Deep listening to another human being is allowing them in, without employing your analytical mind. It is also listening for what comes up from deeper within you.
2. Respecting the unknown
This goes back to process. If you know the direction you are going then you do not need to try to control things with a fixed process. By all means have one, but the second it becomes more important than paying complete attention to your client then it has lost its value.
3. Let wisdom do the work for you
We all have a deeper, guiding intelligence beyond our intellect. This is where peak performance comes from. If you listen to people describing when they have excelled you will hear things like ‘I did it without thinking’, I performed beyond myself’ and ‘I played out of my mind’.
4. Putting your ‘stuff’ out of the picture
I know I keep coming back to this point, but the only way you can make it completely and utterly about your client is by you being completely and utterly out of the picture.
This makes no sense whatsoever to target-driven, numbers obsessed people who are constantly keeping score. But if you are driven by stress, you won't ever reach your potential, or connect with clients in a way that gives your work significantly more impact.
To create magical client relationships and exceptional results our job is to show up fully.
This is unusual – the quality of most people’s attention is poor. Haven’t you noticed that most seem pay more attention to their devices than they do to other people?
Overall, the secret to selling your services with integrity is not about having better techniques. It is about the quality of your presence.
The more you have on your mind the bigger the barrier between you and your client. The less you have on your mind the better things will go.