What does ‘good’ look like?
That’s the challenge for those seeking advice. If you’re a potential client, how do you differentiate between ‘mediocre’ and ‘good’ or ‘really good’?
I’ve been reflecting on this and realise that my focus always comes back to individuals, not firms. As a financial planner, I’ve collaborated with many professionals over the years and they do seem to fall into one of two camps.
First, those who are just as client centric as I am. Driven to go the extra mile and keen to bring in other expert professionals as needed. They will happily take a call outside office hours to mull over a client’s situation and are enjoyable to work with. The fact that they have all the required qualifications is, naturally, a given.
The second type of individual I’ve come across is the really technically focused. Typically niche, they can provide the perfect solution to a very specific need. However, sorry if this sounds a little unfair to say so, but possibly not always equipped with good personal communication skills.
Despite evidence of proven experience and technical qualifications, perhaps ‘good’ is actually measured by your ability to get onto someone else’s wavelength. Being able to tune into their concerns, identify their preferred terminology and use both empathy and, if necessary, techniques to really draw out what is on their minds. When this is done well and underpinned by genuine interest, it’s clear that they can tell you absolutely ‘get’ them, their situation and their needs. And it’s this combination where I believe they find the ‘magic’. It takes real skill and is something you acquire over many years.
In conclusion then, I feel that what I enjoy experiencing when working with particular professionals is probably the same for a potential client. What they need and need to feel is that the person they’re engaging with is a very good listener. So if that can be demonstrated professionally, it’s a truly valuable and defining skill.
Chartered Financial Planner
Managing Director & Founder