Selflessness or Focusing on Your Client

Selflessness is an asset in being known as an extraordinary advisor rather than an expert for hire, according to Clients for Life by client relationship experts Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel.

As we head into the New Year, we can all benefit from their advice about enhancing our client relationships as it’s more productive and profitable to build business with a satisfied client.

Selflessness isn’t complete subjugation to the client or martyrdom to client service. It is a mindset in which the advisor, while preserving integrity, concentrates on servicing the client and meeting his/her needs. This mindset must be active and pervasive throughout all aspects of the relationship from empathetic listening to offering a proposal that truly reflects the client’s agenda rather than the advisor’s sales quota for that quarter.

Selflessness has many dimensions according to Clients for Life:

A focus on your client’s agenda rather than your own. When you walk into a meeting, you should be thinking about the client’s needs at that moment, not your own. It’s about how your service can help achieve his/her objectives rather than how much you can sell him/her.

An understanding that you are there to serve and to support your client’s needs. If you don’t have this fundamental outlook, you’re probably in the wrong field. You will gain from a genuine concern for your client and the issues he/she faces.

A willingness to share or even relinquish control in the relationship. Remember that experts wish to control and advisors are comfortable sharing controls as equals. Each client will have a preferred pace, style or approach and you will benefit from accommodating them.

A conviction that your responsibility as an advisor is to supply the right questions; your client has most of the right answers. Too many professionals have convinced themselves that their reason for being is to constantly provide answers. Often, you have to help the client find the right answer themselves.

Respect for clients. Enough said.

Self effacement. The message here is simple. Although it’s essential to periodically let your clients know what you’ve done for them, never try to steal their glory. The less public credit you take, the more private credit your client will give you.

The ability to see your clients’ needs undistorted, just as they are. The serious professional advisor puts aside personal objectives and needs in order to concentrate on the client’s concerns. It’s all about the client, not the adviser.

Happy holidays and here’s to prosperity, peace, fulfillment and growing selflessness and client relationships in 2010!