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How to Start Great Advice Conversations

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Written by: Jim Stackpool

Great financial advice isn’t about the money – it’s about something much more meaningful.

Great advice is about taking clients to places they haven’t been.

Great advice is about helping clients manage their un-manageable things.

Unfortunately though, when it comes to financial advice, most Australians have become conformists. Unable to easily value, trust or assess most of the financial advice available, they conform to beliefs that financial advice is either for the rich, the lazy, or someone approaching retirement.

There is however an antidote to break this conformity.

It starts with a conversation.

Specifically a different conversation.

The different conversation needs to create a ‘discovery’ that changes a person’s beliefs such that they realise that conforming to today’s dogma about advice is actually a limiting belief for them in their circumstances. Their ‘discovery’ is that the way they have been thinking, acting, investing, believing, saving or spending is actually adding to their financial problems rather than addressing them.

Part VI of Those Crucial First Five Minutes…

My last five blog posts have articulated how best to start and position this crucial conversation. Advising being no different to most affairs in our lives, the better you prepare and position your approach, the better your performance.

Part 6 (and last) of these first five minutes focusses your different conversation – your ‘discovery’ conversation – with the right person in your client’s “family” (assuming you advise mums and dads, or life partners, or business partners) – the person who hasn’t been involved in meaningful advice conversations due to the aforementioned conformity of beliefs about financial advice.

So, firstly it’s crucial for both partners of the family or business you are advising to be present. Secondly before you begin your own unique approach to your discovery conversation with your clients, you say something like:

“We would like to start this part of our meeting with the person who doesn’t get as involved with the financials in your relationship (or family, or partnership, or business). So who will be going first?”

Why is this important?

It’s simply a good way to take today’s conformity and beliefs about financial advice to task.

Starting with the member of the partnership or family who has not been as involved financially better enables (though not always mind you) a conversation in something that they are expert at – what they really want to achieve in their financial lives.

All relationships exist atop of a myriad of differences of opinion, aspirations, beliefs and challenges. It’s crucial for advisers to not only understand these differences, but respect them and manage your advice accordingly.

By starting your ‘discovery’ conversation with the people who are not as au fait with mechanics (i.e. the technical stuff) in their current financial lives helps to shift away from today’s conformity that advice is about all about money, about investing, about loans or cash flows.

Money, investing, loans, cash flows, tax structures are obviously important but only in the context of what are all those things are for. Helping your clients individually and collectively achieve things they haven’t achieved whilst assisting them manage the things that need management is the essence of the antidote that will dispel today’s conformity hindering too many Australians from better financial lives.

These are the best of times to build great advice firms to deliver great professional advice that, like all professions, aims to serve the greater public good and the needs of your clients whilst delivering great returns for you, your team and stakeholders.

What do you reckon?

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