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From Optional to Essential

How to avoid disruption, protect your client base, and expand your business 

By Tim Sanders

As an advisor, being a good “option” for financial advice is a dangerous strategy in today’s world of technology innovations, regulatory changes, and demographic shifts. Since clients have more options than ever, business continuity can be hard to maintain. The secret to long-term success is to make the leap from optional to essential in the eyes of your clients. This content outlines how to transform your client relationships from optional to essential.

How to Take Your Client Relationships from Optional to Essential by Becoming:

  • A Fountain of Knowledge
    After a meeting with you, do your clients feel inspired because they’ve learned something important about their future? To make this happen, commit to continual learning, reading books and relevant reports to stay on top of change. Serving as a resource of relevant, carefully-curated knowledge for your clients, rather than a "firehose of information," will keep your clients informed, but not overwhelmed. When they need mentorship on a new subject, such as alternative investments, you're there with crisp advice.

  • A Connector of Dots
    During client conversations, listen for problems they're trying to solve, both financial and non-financial, and be ready to help out. One way may be to connect them with a trusted provider that you've vetted, such as an accountant, lawyer, contractor, or even a dog sitter. You want your clients to see you as a lifestyle problem solver, not just a financial problem solver.
  • A Sounding Board
    Learn how to listen deeply, provide encouragement, and, through the process, help clients discover their own solutions and release their frustrations. Ask questions that can help make you a great collaborator, help clients vet their ideas, talk through their challenges, and unleash innovative thinking. Listen more than you talk during most meetings and focus the conversation on the client—not yourself. Respond to a client’s expression of anxiety or anger with “tell me more” instead of “you shouldn’t feel that way.”

Doing What Robo-Advisors Could Never Do

Your teaching, connecting, and listening skills can differentiate you from the competition and cement client relationships over the coming years. Once clients know how much you care about them, they’ll never consider replacing you with faster-better-cheaper advances—no matter how shiny or new.

Workbook Training Audio (37:01)

Tim Sanders explains how to use the advisor workbook.


Next Steps

  1. Download or order the From Optional to Essential workbook below
  2. Within one week, listen to Tim's workbook training audio above
  3. Within two weeks, review the list of questions on page 13 of the workbook. Start using some of these questions in your client conversations.

Tim Sanders

Founding Partner, Deeper Media, Inc.

New York Times best-selling author and expert on motivation, emotional talent and sales innovation

ADVISOR WEBCAST: From Optional to Essential
How to Avoid Disruption, Protect Your Client Base, and Expand Your Business



Tim Sanders, Deeper Media, Inc. is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Hartford Funds.