Connecting with your client ensures they don't leave you
Sometimes we know that a client needs help with a particular financial challenge, but we don't know how to begin the conversation. Money management can reflect personal issues that clients might not be ready to discuss.
Last year, a portfolio manager, Jack, asked me to meet with his client, Phillip. Phillip's approach to managing his portfolio was scattered—he was not adhering to his original budget and frequently offered illogical explanations as to why he had to purchase some expensive gadget. Jack, not wanting to alienate Phillip, didn't know what to say and how to change that self-destructive behavior.
I told Jack, "You have two problems. First, you and Phillip have not yet established a trusting relationship. Without trust, Phillip might feel that your discussion about his spending is overly personal. Second, getting a person to accept advice on a topic that causes anxiety is never easy, but it can be easy with the proper approach."
I spent several sessions with Jack teaching him how to get to know Phillip better with rapport-building techniques. It was important for Jack to appear professional and caring but not intrusive. As a result of our meetings, he had the right words at the right time to raise the uncomfortable topic with Phillip, who was then willing to call me.
My work with Phillip focused on the areas of his life in which he felt frustration and a lack of control. He had never realized that his financial decisions were often governed by his feelings that were cemented by the time he was five years old. We actually never even spoke about money. Gradually, over the next eight months, Jack observed changes in Phillip's behavior about money; no frantic texts about being overdrawn at the bank, no Sunday telephone calls from a gallery in Paris, no arguing about his monthly budget.
He became the ideal client: engaged in the conversations and willing to tell Jack he did not understand why he was moving certain monies around and changing funds. He actually started asking questions of Jack.
Jack finally knew his client was confident, less self-destructive, and able to stay on his budget. The two of them were able to form a bond of trust and respect. With the new bond, Jack felt secure that his client would come to him with questions that could lead to mutual understanding.
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"Pegi Burdick's work is deep and can be transformational. It's for people who just can't seem to move ahead financially no matter what they do. Her courageous counseling guides clients on a journey of self-discovery by removing blocks and opening up wide new vistas to better living."
Robin Applegarth CRPC
"Any financial adviser can benefit tremendously from Pegi's understanding of people's relationship with money and their emotions. Knowing what motivates your client to act the way they do with their money is the secret weapon to gaining their trust and ultimately their business."