In the three previous posts, we discussed engaging your intuitive self by asking a set of questions—the right questions—to align your thoughts and beliefs in an unshakable commitment to grow. Now it’s time to take the leap as financial planners and financial advisors to align with clients and work with them to achieve their goals.
When you align with the interests of your client, Jack Beatty believes that “both parties will be mutually profitable in an interactive relationship.” The question then becomes, “How do you, as a financial advisor, engage your client in a mutually-profitable interactive relationship?”
Jack has spent years refining, testing and reworking his alignment process, and I have been the beneficiary of his advice. The hardest part for you, the financial planner, is to create the proper mindset and presence. When you are able to do so, your energy and excitement transfers to your clients.
However, this will take discipline and practice. Individual clients will benefit and share personal outcomes as part of shared outcomes. It is your responsibility to help them, guide them and pull them into their new growth mindset. As I quoted Jack earlier, “A growth mindset sustains an enduring success.”
Wouldn’t you like to create lasting relationships with your clients that grow with them? Clients are forgiving about mistakes, low performance and lapses when they know that you have their full interest at heart. Aligning your and your client’s outcomes strengthens your ability (and your client’s ability) to achieve goals.
Roles and Goals
In the space below, I outline the roles, and then specify the questions you can use to align with your clients and create an unwavering commitment to their desired goals.
The roles are broken down into three responsibilities: inquirer, responder, and facilitator.
As the financial advisor, you will most likely take on two of those roles: inquirer and facilitator. In these roles, you will need to employ an active state of mind—no judging, selling, or guiding. Actively inquire, listen, clarify, quantify, decide and implement. Your intention is to ask well-worded questions to encourage clients to be fully present and create the desired outcomes that they want.
As the inquirer, you can begin with broad questions that engage the client to think and show them that you care and are committed to the relationship. Questions include:
- What significant outcome would you like to achieve in the next 90 or 180 days?
- What’s working for you right now? What do you want to do more of?
- If you could develop the perfect future, what would it look like?
It is now time for the responder (the client) to engage. Allow him to imagine the possibilities, find his inner voice and become aware of his wants, needs, and aspirations.
Then, as the facilitator (your new role), you want to actively engage the client to achieve his inner voice and realize his aspirations. You need to understand, not just listen. When you hear something important, repeat it back to your client—this will ensure that you understand and are able to clarify any misconceptions you have about what your client said. “Be interested,” Jack emphasizes.
It will be easy for you to search for the opportunities that you see. DON’T! Be present and attentive to what your client says and make it about your client. Don’t interrupt or inject your thoughts. Only recap or clarify after he is done. Keep restating your client’s thoughts until you absolutely understand what he wants to achieve.
Outcomes and Opportunities
From your conversation, develop a list of the outcomes. Outcomes should be specific, measurable, and time-specific. From the list of well-developed outcomes, encourge the client to understand the emotional context behind each outcome. What is important about achieving each outcome? What difference will it make in your client’s life? What is worthwhile in achieving the outcome?
By engaging in this conversation with clients, you can collaborate and better understand their outcomes. The question you ask then becomes: Do you (the client) want to get started?
You and your client are now aligned and are ready to team up to achieve a mutual outcome. Take baby steps; break each outcome down into digestible portions. Remember each outcome, define each activity within the outcome and designate who is responsible for each activity.
What’s the result? You are now your client’s coach. This is Jack Beatty’s alignment process. It takes discipline, commitment and hard work. But the payoff is a deep resolve and resilience to achieve your client’s outcomes. Jack stresses that you need to enable your clients to “believe that your ideal future self is attainable, desirable, and deeply satisfying.”
Good luck and enjoy the journey of aligning with your clients, creating an uncompromising commitment to their outcomes and coaching them to success!
Practice your roles and goals to properly align with your clients and help them achieve their outcomes. Make sure you review the previous posts to successfully master each step of the client alignment process:
Main photo credit: http://www.cornwallchamber.co.uk/updates/page/2/