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Five things to learn from your difficult clients

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Do these comments sound familiar?

  • “I’ve spent hours with this prospect, and she still isn’t budging – how do I get her to make a move?”
  • “My high-net-worth clients have pulled huge sums out of the market, and I can’t get them to consider better alternatives.”
  • “How do I respond to comments that lump me in with ‘greedy Wall Street’ or ‘evil insurance’ crooks?”
  • “My former client’s heirs have been unwilling to meet with me – and seem ready to transfer their assets elsewhere.”

What turns a reluctant client into an eager one? It isn’t about products or investment strategies; it’s about the questions and conversations that get prospects and clients to take the leap of faith required in today’s uncertain economy. Your most difficult clients can teach you where you may have some gaps in your self-talk – and how to rethink your approach.

  1. Start with the “beginner’s mind.” Perhaps your preconceived notions of the client are getting in the way of discovering the real reasons for the client’s hesitance.
  2. Start seeing yourself as a “game changer” instead of just a “risk mitigator.”
  3. Be emotionally courageous with the client. You need to take a risk, too – to show empathy and even vulnerability with the client to help the client open up about what he really wants to discuss but had not felt comfortable admitting.
  4. Display a physically calm and powerful presence with the client to establish a safe atmosphere for the client.
  5. Respond to cynical comments with more curiosity, instead of defense, to learn more and diffuse hostility.

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