Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.Teresa Riccobuono

If you never have had a client relationship start off strong and then fizzle out, congratulations.

For those of you who have, read on. I am going to help you put together a client instruction manual.

As with any relationship, good communication is the key to success. Many advisors, especially those who are more analytic, may focus solely on the financial situation of their client or prospect, forgetting their human nature.

It’s human nature – a client’s or prospect’s complex behavior patterns – that challenge the relationship.

When a prospect meets with you for the first time, you are both there to determine if it is a good match. No doubt you are sizing the prospect up to determine if he or she is a qualified candidate that meets your ideal client requirements.

The prospect is deciding if you are knowledgeable, trustworthy and likeable enough to hire as an advisor.

What gets overlooked is the discussion about expectations: what the client can reasonably expect from you, and what you should reasonably expect from them as a client.

Discussing expectations early on will make the relationship run much more smoothly down the road.

If your prospect does not take the lead and bring up expectations, it is your job to do so prior to his or her signing on as a client. You don’t want the prospect to become a client first, and then learn what to do or how to behave.