Talk about who your client wants to be

By Guest |  15-07-20 | 
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Morningstar invites thought leaders from the investment community to share their insights. Views expressed are personal and should not be construed as investment advice.

There’s a lean, muscular, half-naked man in my bathroom mirror every morning and it’s not me.

I have an off and on relationship with exercise. I want to have a long healthspan. There are times when I’m good and consistent about fitness and others when that priority gets crowded out. When I struggle to maintain the habit, that ripped young man in the shorts puts me back on course. That man I will never be but want to be.

He was the recommendation of some long-forgotten article or book on setting goals. It probably was not about fitness. I can’t remember. If you want to change, the advice went, find a picture of what you want and put it somewhere you will see it every day. For some people, it may be the moped driver in Italy. For others, it is the parents with their arms around the teenager in a cap and gown. For me, it was that guy with the six-pack abs.

We all work on things because we want to be different. We want to be more successful, more knowledgeable, more fulfilled, happier, or healthier. Not all of those, of course, and the list is a lot longer. We do things because we want to change. If we were perfectly content about everything, there would not be a reason to change anything.

So if you want someone to become a client they need to want a change, too. Not just a change of advisers. They want to be someone who is more successful, more satisfied, less anxious, more confident. They don’t necessarily want a new adviser because of the adviser. They want a new adviser because of who they will be once they start working with the adviser who can get them there.

Who does your ideal client want to be? Someone confident or secure about their retirement? Someone who still has some money in the bank after the last child has graduated from college? Someone who does good in the world by leveraging their wealth?

Rather than talk about what you do, paint a picture of your successful clients. The people who became who they are because of your unique contribution. The person who is secure about their retirement whatever the market does. The person who travels the world and experiences new cultures. The couple who takes the team approach to managing their finances despite radically different attitudes about money. The person who successfully sold their company. The doctor who could retire early enough to do meaningful work for the underprivileged.

Orient your communications, maybe even your services, around that aspirational image clients have for themselves. Show them how you can help them be who they want to be and they will be drawn to you like they are drawn to be that future vision. You might even help them discover who they want to be. It’s easier to be client-driven when you have driven clients.

This post by Stephen Wershing was first published on The Client Driven Practice.

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