Helping stuck clients is a routine challenge. Read on for a quick-take on four practical steps to help clients move forward, or download the article
Why Clients Get Stuck
The influx of 24/7 news and social media plays on client’s emotions, drowning out the thoughtful advice of their professional. The emotions clanging around the client’s head suppress reasoning. Many times clients aren’t resisting you, they’re just stuck in fear, confusion or internal conflict.
Step 1: Don't Persuade
Don’t fall into the trap of immediately offering rational explanations to logically persuade. It’s a natural, but risky first step. If the client is stuck emotionally, no amount of reason will resolve the emotional conflict. Pressing reason will only increase the resistance.
Step 2: Pay Attention
Instead of pointing to reason, stop and pay attention to the client’s body language. Are they calming asking logical questions? If so, they need a rational explanation. However, if they’re waffling, frowning, fidgeting or repeatedly evading action, that’s clue that emotion is driving the behavior.
To read more on how this shows up, download the full Hartfords Funds Insights article
Step 3: Uncover Concerns
Whenever emotion is part of the resistance, it’s important to understand what’s behind it. People get stuck emotionally because:
- Avoiding pain is more important than achieving gain
- Present feelings are far more powerful than future consequences
Ask diplomatic open-ended questions to uncover any emotional concerns. You might ask: “You seem unsure, what concerns do you have?”
Step 4: Address the Long Term Impact
The client might be fearful of volatility and hesitant to commit. Logically we know that today’s fear will be tomorrow’s regret when “money stuffed in the mattress” derails future goals. But, the client can’t feel that future risk while in the grip of today’s fear.
The same is true for clients who are waffling over choices, chasing returns, constantly wanting to jump to the latest fad, or just frozen. All are driven by immediate emotional needs. These need to be addressed before the client can move forward.
Use open-ended questions to uncover the driving emotions. Then, walk the client gently through the impact of following their immediate impulses. This helps the client feel the future, and counters the intense pull of the present.
Be Patient & Expect to Repeat
Clients are constantly bombarded with headlines, influencers and “experts”. Be patient in walking clients through the steps to move toward future goals. They need your hand-holding. For more, check out the full article at Hartford Funds Insights or download the PDF
Even better, contact me on how to specifically help your clients move forward.