A Toolkit for Improving Client Behavior

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The perfect plan is useless in the absence of execution.

You can know the intimate details of someone’s values, hopes, dreams and fears and pair that with flawless technical advice in the form of the best financial plan and portfolio ever created.

Yet, if the advice is never implemented, none of it matters.

It’s like building a house and never moving into it.

It may look good. But that’s about it.

According to this study, 70% of financial planning clients implement fewer than 20% of recommendations.

In other words, most clients will implement only one of five recommendations!

That’s why the job of a financial advisor and planner isn’t simply to dispense the advice, pat yourself on the back and walk away as if your job is done.

It’s to help the client follow-through on your advice, implementing and executing the items you’ve laid out that solve their problems and achieve their goals.

Getting clients to follow through and implement the advice you give without constant follow-up is hard (see stat above!).

There are several possible explanations.

One of the most prominent culprits is a psychological phenomenon inherent in the very nature of financial advice.

The battle between the current and future self.

Here’s an example from the world of health and fitness:

When you decide it’s time to shed the love handles and become chiseled, the first thing you do is make a plan to eat healthy and work out.

In that moment, your current self is planning for your future self. How you ideally want yourself to behave at a future moment to accomplish your goals.

But when the alarm goes off in the morning and you’re supposed to knock out a workout, your current self is now the one calling the shots.

And your current self really loves feeling good in the moment. It has no desire to get out of bed.

Or when the pizza you’re not supposed to eat is sitting in your fridge late at night, your current self has no regard for the health plan made for your future self.