Clients Feeling Uneasy? Here's How to Make Them Feel More Comfortable with You

During a Q&A at a recent speaking engagement, an audience member asked for suggestions about new, engaging ways to do portfolio reviews with a client.

He’d had a particular client for more than a year and said the client always got very nervous during their review meetings. The advisor explained he’d tried a different approach at each of their meetings, but it only seemed to make his client more uncomfortable and the situation worse. He said he just didn’t know what to provide next.

I answered, “Try providing some certainty. Not about the markets, or interest rates, or global economies—they can all change on a dime the very next day—but in regards to your process.”

Most people don’t like change, and uncertain change in relation to their finances is particularly uncomfortable. On the other hand, when people know what to expect, they feel more comfortable because they have a sense of control and familiarity.

When your meeting process follows a standard routine, your clients know what’s coming, and they know what’s, in effect, normal.

It’s like when a cabin crew rolls through the pre-flight instructions regarding emergency procedures. You might think bringing up information about what to do if things go wrong would make people nervous, but passengers know this is a routine part of the process and even subconsciously welcome the feeling of security that routine gives. If those instructions were skipped, even people who seem completely disinterested when the cabin crew do their job would quickly become concerned because the routine they were expecting had changed.

When you conduct client reviews, you need to take the same approach as those in charge of passenger safety: consistently follow the same routine. When clients are familiar with your process—not faced with surprises or left guessing what’s next—the more comfortable they will be with you, the one responsible for getting them to their destination safely.

Conducting client reviews with the same method and approach every time allows you to:

  • Communicate confidence in what you do and how you do it, taking away your nervousness, which will only feed into any anxiety clients may have.
  • Make it harder for clients to leave you. People don’t rush away from other people or circumstances they’re comfortable with. By following the same routine each time, they feel more comfortable because they know what to expect from you.
  • Ensure you cover important information and issues that need to be discussed. Details don’t accidentally get forgotten or neglected because you didn’t have time to get to them.
  • Focus on listening to your clients’ concerns and questions so you can respond fully, rather than spending your emotional energy on producing a creative meeting.
  • People usually don’t want excitement, adventure, and thrills when it comes to discussing their finances. Instead of trying to think of new ways to impress your clients, simply provide them great, thoughtful, and consistent service time after time.

    It’s not a rut, it’s a reliable routine!