September 13, 2011
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Last week I spoke to an investor who got a call from his advisor’s assistant about scheduling a time to review his portfolio.
“I had the same reaction as when I get a call from my dentist’s office,” said this investor, whose account was worth over $1 million at the end of 2010. “I recognize it’s important and something that I have to do, but also know it’s not likely to be pleasant – so put it off as long as I can.”
For many clients, the regrettable reality is that meeting with their advisor is no longer an uplifting experience. Instead of anticipating meetings with enthusiasm, they look to meetings with foreboding. Instead of walking away optimistic about possibilities, they leave burdened down by limitations
This situation is unhealthy and unsustainable for both clients and for advisors. Here are three steps to make meetings with clients a more positive experience, so that they’re not seen as akin to a visit to the dentist.
Step one: Be upbeat
For many advisors, the challenge of creating positive client meetings starts with being positive. Unless you’re upbeat, there’s no chance that your clients will be.
Markets like we’ve seen of late can obviously make this a challenge – but that doesn’t make this less of a priority. Being positive doesn’t mean that you’re oblivious to the challenges we’re facing – clients are looking for realistic optimism, not someone with a “don’t worry, be happy” view of the world.
In February of 2009, I wrote about 12 ways to stay positive. Here are some sample strategies:
- Start by recognizing how important this is – being positive is the necessary first step to effective interactions with clients;
- Exercise at the start of the day to give you a boost – even a short brisk walk can help;
- Find ways to fight fatigue and renew energy during the day – get some fresh air at lunch, schedule a short walk between client meetings, and throughout the day take energy boosting snacks like fruit;
- Take short breaks – schedule a short walk between client meetings;
- Be alert to signs that your energy level is dropping – before making a call or going into a meeting, take 30 seconds to focus on lifting your mood; and
- Seek to surround yourself with positive colleagues – those who give you energy.
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