In our last segment, we talked about The Planning Table and we talked about the Advisor Styles. The overarching thing that we really were addressing there is understanding ... thinking about the whole setting of the stage for this is what role do you want to play in your clients' lives? How do you want to be building and developing relationships as you think about the future of your business, and also looking at how do your current clients and relationships see you today? How do they see you showing up in their lives? That was the concept there that we were introducing and really trying to help you think about and understand. As you think about shifting gears and you think about now going out and having some of these conversations, and really incorporating that Planning Table discussion into those discussions with prospects as well as your existing clients, I want to give you a framework for that and how you can think about approaching that conversation.
One of the reference points for this, I want to make sure that you're taking a look at, is The Planning Table tool that we've provided for you as a part of the course. Look at that in the handouts because The Planning Table is neat. It's a blank piece of paper, well not a blank piece of paper, but it's a single piece of paper with a table on it, a blank table, and all the seats are vacant except for the clients' seats. It's a really nice tool to be able to go in and have that conversation and really understand with that prospect, with that client, who are the key important relationships in their lives that are sitting around the table. If I was thinking about approaching this with an existing client relationship, again I would be going back and having this conversation with my best client relationships where I really want to understand what seat do they have me in at their table today?
Where do they see me? How do they view me? What's their mindset about the relationship that they have with me and of the role that I play in their lives and on their team as their advisor? I want to understand that and so that's part of obviously the opportunity to go in is to have that conversation. I would be introducing this whole concept from a global relationship standpoint talking about the role you want to play in their lives. If this is a best client hopefully you're going back to see them because you see opportunity here. You want to play a more significant role and I would simply be articulating the fact that one of the ways I like to approach that is by leveraging other client relationships.
Or you could talk about how your business model is evolving. Leveraging other client relationships, here's how I approach that. I take it from a standpoint of saying, "Listen, over the last six to 12 months, we've had a number of important relationships to our business approach us to ask us to take more of a heightened role on their team, meaning over the years we've done a lot of great work together, but because of their situation has grown more complex, they've got a number of advisor relationships. That has just magnified the complexity that they're dealing with today and they have had a high degree of trust in our relationship. They've really valued the work that I had done for them, and so they've come and approached us, me and my team, to say, 'Can you take a more heightened role on our team? Can you play more of a quarterback or overarching role on our team?'
So what we've done is taken a look at who are the key and important relationships for us in our business where we really do want to take a more heightened role on their team and they can benefit and value from that. That's part of what I'm here to talk with you about here today because for us in our business, you are absolutely one of those key client relationships and we believe that while we've done great work to date together, there's more work for us to be done and we could probably play a more significant role in your lives, and so partly I want to walk you through that here today and talk about it. Jumping out of it, that's how I would want to jump into that conversation again, leveraging other relationships and what other people are saying about you.
I like that approach. It works for me and I think it's a powerful way to step into it. As I said, the other way to step into it and think about it is where your basically business is evolving for you, when you look at most of your client relationships. I bet, we find this all the time with our advisor clients, is that when you look at your client relationships to where they are today, as opposed to where they started with you, the first time they became a client, what was their situation looking like then, and where are they today? Also for you, where have you grown in business. If you engaged them in your first five years, as an advisor, where are you today, 10, 15, 20 years, whatever, down the road. You're an entirely different advisor.
You've got an entirely different skillset to bring to the table so you can approach it from a standpoint that, "Listen, my business is evolving, and we're finding that with a number of our key client relationships that they've got other advisors. It's created a lot of complexity in their lives to have to be in conversation and navigating all the other advisors that are on their team and so we're approaching them to say how can we help? How can we take a more leadership role on your team, and really be the one to be in conversation with you about everything you're trying to achieve and then ensuring that the advisors that are working on your behalf all have that right direction and all know what's important to you and we're all working together to achieve that for you, more of a collaborative standpoint."
I think going in and having that conversation with a client again, all of these things are going to do is just simply heighten how they're seeing you. The mindset that they have about you. It's going to have them thinking about you more and more and more, and when they're thinking about you, the bottom line is, it's going to create more opportunities whether with inside their situation or they're introducing you to some of their friends, colleagues, whatever. It's going to create a butterfly effect if you will of opportunity for you. Those are a couple of ways that I would suggest you approaching this conversation with existing relationships. I think you'll be really, really successful in doing that.
When you're thinking about a prospect, the planning tool will be a powerful thing to bring into that approach meeting. We're going to talk about approach in a little bit, but in that approach meeting, I think this is a powerful tool to be able to have there, because one of the things that we're going to talk about is who are the key and important relationships in your lives? We want to know with a prospective client. Who are their other advisors? Who are their other key relationships? Do they have somebody that is managing money for them today? Do they have somebody that they've done insurance work for? Is somebody providing comprehensive financial planning? Do they have an accountant that they love? Do they have a lawyer that they love? Who are these people?
We want to understand that with prospects because number one, you want to know who your competition, who's your competition? Who is in your core competency area? Maybe they're isn't somebody, but maybe there is. It's always great to know. The other side of it is, is that we want to see where there's gaps. If I'm a financial advisor, and I've got an attorney that I work extremely well with, and I know that they don't have a great relationship with an attorney, I know that there's going to be a future opportunity as we start to look at estate planning and other areas, that I'm going to be able to introduce my relationship to the team. We work great together and that's going to be a powerful thing for me. The attorney's going to be excited because you're creating a new client opportunity for them, but now you're building your team.That's really, really powerful, so The Planning Table tool is something I would use in the way ... this is for you, it's not a leave-behind for the client by any means, but this is a tool for you to get a lay of the land. To introduce the sides of the table, to talk about the various roles and begin to have a conversation again, with prospects as well as some of your best existing client relationships about the various sides and the approaches that they take. Have them begin to share with you, who are their key and important relationships and where do they see them as it relates to the different styles on the different sides of the table? This will be such education for you and believe it or not, and understand it right now or not, at some point in the future you will understand that when you're going through this conversation with prospects and clients, they're thinking.
Nobody's ever really approached them this way. Nobody's ever talked with them this way about their other advisor relationships. They're thinking and they're learning and whether you know it or not, or feel it or see it immediately, this is creating a uniqueness for you, a thoughtfulness that you're showing up differently and again, I believe that's going to have all kinds of opportunities coming to you that just don't always get seen right out of the gates. I really, really hope this is helpful, thinking about how you can approach your existing client relationships, your best ones. You've got to get out and have this conversation. Find out who's in what seats around their table from their perspective. Tell them where you want to be. Tell them the role you want to play and then with prospects it's relatively easy. What do you have to lose? This is a great tool and a great conversation to understand who your competitors are, and where are the vacant seats that you can actually bring your successful collaborators to this and that just has all kinds of future opportunity for you.
Thank you very much, and this is The Planning Table discussion.
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