When advisors launch their careers, they all have a passion to become the best in the industry. However, it’s important to recognize that in order to be successful you must nurture each relationship you have.
While most advisors have similar educational backgrounds, intelligence and resources, some thrive more than others. The ones who are successful address three essential questions that help them build positive client relationships.
The Essential Questions:
 Why would someone work with me?
 What is the most important reason why someone would take action?
 How do I empower someone to commit to their plan?
Answering these essential questions and evaluating yourself may prove challenging, but a good way to solidify your responses is to have a mentor guide you. One of my personal mentors and fellow Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) member Lou Cassara helped me develop my answers to these essential questions. Lou, president and chief executive officer of The Cassara Clinic, has not only guided me to answer questions about my own business practices, but his philosophy, practice processes and coaching programs have helped me grow my business even more.
Attracting the Right Clients
Once an advisor understands what they can offer clients that no other advisor can, they can use the following approach to develop a plan of action for their clients. The first step is to identify clients who complement your business values and can benefit from your specific experience. For me, the values that I build upon when developing any client relationship are honesty, integrity and passion. When working in an industry where you help others plan their financial lives, it’s important to uphold such standards in order to build trust between the client and the advisor.
This first step allows each person to evaluate the nature of the business relationship and decide if they are a mutual fit to work together. Potential clients must be clear about the values, qualities and expectations of the professional relationship you hope to build. This can be done by sharing a value statement during your first meeting. The value statement I share with each of my clients shows a genuine interest in helping them protect, preserve and grow what they’ve built to give each client the confidence, clarity and peace of mind to honor the agreements that they’ve made with their loved ones and their business partners.
The Trust Question
After finding that a potential client aligns with your values, it’s important to connect with them in a meaningful way to discuss what they are seeking, instead of simply presenting to them. To do this, an advisor must open up the discussion to discover the client’s life intention. Begin by clarifying to clients that an intention is to be something, such as being a great parent, being a good steward of one’s assets or being a world-class entrepreneur who cares about their employees. Focusing on intentions will help guide the process. Clients do not mind obtaining insurance or executing estate planning documents if it moves them closer to their end goal.
To evoke a client’s intention, I use Lou’s Trust Question: “What can I help you focus on and accomplish in the next 12 months that would make you feel satisfied with your progress?” Clients respond openly to this question because it is genuine, nonleading and one that completely frames the discussion around the intentions they have for their lives.
Developing a Plan
With a clear direction, it’s time to put together a recommended plan of action centered on the client’s priorities as aligned with their intentions. When providing a recommendation, identify whether implementing it will move the client closer to their intended goal. This ultimately helps them to honor the commitment they made earlier in the process.
My conviction in using this process was solidified when I delivered my first death benefit. The benefit paid to the family was $925,000, and every dollar was needed to sustain this family’s well-being. Since I started in the business, I have handled 13 death claims, totaling more than $5 million in benefits. Each experience has helped me realize that every dollar matters to these families. While we cannot bring back a loved one, we can help ensure that the people closest to them are properly protected and honor the commitment of the insured.
There is a direct correlation between what clients are seeking and the advisor with whom they choose to work. Attracting the right clients and then nurturing those relationships will lead to a successful business model and a thriving business.