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Holdin' Hands

I’ve written before about the importance of staying involved in the implementation of planning recommendations. But there’s more to it than making certain that documents are signed, and assets are properly re-titled, and valuations are completed. Advisors often make a critical mistake during this process by assuming their clients understand what’s really happening.

Here’s the problem. Because our clients are either very affluent, having built a business or risen to the top of a company or, because they make seven figure annual incomes, we know they’re intelligent, accomplished, successful people. We then presume that they understand our language, our recommendations, and all the various structures and entities we’re guiding them to implement and, thus, we often overestimate their ability to cope with all of the change. We may want to move them more quickly than they feel comfortable and confident with because, well, they’re smart and successful and we think they know what they’re doing.

One of the many dynamics that makes this even more delicate is that often, their own egos, won’t admit that they’re unsure and want to understand more, so, instead they slam on the brakes or drag their feet or leave town on vacation.

Working recently with the former CEO of a top 500 company. Wealthy. Smart. Really smart. Very well informed about a lot of the planning that he’s already put in place. Organized. Thoughtful. Thorough. But we got tangled up when there were too many things for him to think about at once. He asked for new information but bit off more than he could chew. Things got put on hold. Some of the concepts were complex. A charitable remainder trust might as well have been instructions on how to build a nuclear reactor. So, it’s time to be patient. It’s time let the client finish task one before introducing task two, three or four.

Often our mistakes are obvious. We give bad or wrong advice in the attempt to make a sale that helps us more than the client. Duh! Don’t do that. But how do things go bad when the advice is right, and the client knows it’s right? That’s on us. We forget. We forget because they’re wealthy and smart and accomplished and feel this should be easy for them. It isn’t. It’s new. We need to take our time and hold their hands and make absolutely certain that they get to the place where they need to be to make a good, intelligent decision. They’re experts in their field, not in ours. Money didn’t grant them expertise. We must not be intimidated into believing anything else.

Contact Two Hawks Consulting today for more information on how to work with clients so everyone wins!


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