As financial advisors we have the ability to see the potential in just about everyone. Clients come to us with goals and dreams and we become the stewards of their vision.
We can see clearly where they are, where they are going and what it is going to take to get there.
We know that there will be obstacles, but we have helped many clients over those hurdles before.
And sometimes, I wonder if we don’t believe more than they do. Some clients thrive when they are given tools and your belief in them. But occasionally, we run across someone who is resistant to our belief in them.
They say they want it with their words, but their actions and reactions suggest otherwise. You get them on the path and then they find a way to sabotage their own progress.
-They don’t do their homework
-They start missing meetings
-They slip and fall and purchase a timeshare…
...and then they blame.
-They blame you for their lack of progress
-They doubt your advice because the guy at work said otherwise
-They question the whole process
There is that old saying, “You can’t want it more than they do.”
You really can’t.
When you find yourself knee deep in a client relationship like this, you really only have two choices.
Redefine the expectations
You have to be willing to call a spade a spade and put the relationship on the line.
I found myself in this exact situation last week. A long-time client couple was struggling. We have been working together over ten years and they have big dreams. However, they can’t keep themselves out of debt.
We make progress, they get it paid down. Then the next meeting, which was delayed by several months, I find out that the credit cards have creeped right back up.
Of course it’s not their fault. I mean, life is literally not worth living without several international vacations a year. It isn’t fair that other people get to do things they don’t. If they can afford it, why can’t we?
But, you know what? They are sick of talking about debt. That is all we ever talk about together. They want to talk about making more money. A side business? More aggressive investments? What am I really doing for them?
As frustrating as this situation was, it was a blessing in disguise.
It gave me an opportunity to stop everything and have a real conversation about the future of our relationship. We were able to talk about their apparent unhappiness. We talked about their expectations and their responsibilities. We talked about what I could do for them.
I gave the the opportunity to walk away. I opened the door wide, but I didn’t push them through it.
That radical honesty with no agenda allowed the truth to come out. It allowed them to take responsibility for themselves and it allowed me to figure out how to serve them better.
I am happy to report that we were able to build the plan together and they are committed to taking their next steps on the journey with me. We shall see, we never know how these things will end, but for now we are in a much better place.
Let me ask you this, do you have clients that you believe in more than they believe in themselves? Are you watching them sabotage themselves over and over?
I challenge you to be willing to have the hard conversation. Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. It may be the biggest gift you ever give them!
Have you been there? Have you believed in a client more than they believed in themselves? How did you handle it?
I would love to hear from you! Join me in the TIA Mastermind group and tell us how it all turned out!