There is a cumulative effect that comes from adopting a panoramic goals-based planning approach and developing a Value-Added Support Team (or VAST) referral network. In addition to amplifying your fee-worthiness, you also become indispensable to a client because your trusted advisor status gets even stronger. The world has become noisier, surreal, and in some cases downright bizarre. While I’m very optimistic about the light at the end of the tunnel, in the meantime I’d like you to consider re-imagining your relevance to a client’s life.
Money is a means to an end. The question is, do you want to stay in your lane entirely around bringing value to a client’s money, or perhaps converging that with having an interest in and delivering value to those ends? There are essentially three tiers to this type of value-add: Developing the skills and credentials yourself, collaborating with other thought leaders and experts, or simply endorsing others with areas of expertise and overarching skill.
We could all stand to develop and refine the lost art of listening. There are several great YouTube videos and no shortage of resources on the Socratic Method of listening - the ability of mastering active listening and resisting the temptation to provide immediate answers to a question, but to understand that many real issues are two or three questions deep. That allows you to draw out more context and emotion behind an issue. That can create a very engaging exchange, especially if they can come to their own conclusions about a course of action to address an issue by sharing it with you and thinking out loud.
Going deeper, there are many credentials you can add to your repertoire, including assisting families with special needs and philanthropy, just to name a couple. Talk to your team, have a conversation about this potential bolt-on opportunity. They could be very surprised from a collaborative perspective. Another idea is that you could identify a business broker to do a webinar or a podcast with and outlining and providing a checklist on continuity, succession and other dynastic issues. High net-worth families need to consider looking down the road. Collaborative content marketing is the next frontier to professional contrast, and there’s all types of expertise out there that you can join forces with.
Lastly, you can develop a reputation as being a well-connected professional, who knows a vast array of specialists from many areas that you can introduce when there’s a need. You can stir up a lot of very positive and productive energy from that, but you can’t dabble at this. You’ve got to establish crystal clear rules of engagement, and have the credibility that comes from having used the solutions yourself, where possible. I’ll give you an example of that, the power of eating your own cooking, so to speak. I was having a conversation with a good friend, a long-term client of mine who had disclosed that he had just overcome an illness by, among other things, taking what is called a ‘regimen of plant stem cells.’
It’s essentially a company he found that prunes and harvest a small batch of buds from various plants and creates extracts that provide rejuvenation to the body. I’d never heard of this concept, but because of the conviction of my friend and the degree of respect I have for him, I was beyond intrigued and sought to combine the best of modern medicine with the best of naturopathic treatment. It was fascinating, but it wasn’t just the results he got that made him an advocate. He said to me, “You don’t have to wait to become sick to adopt this. There are many detoxifying qualities that can help to fortify your natural ability to fight illness.” Again, I was intrigued, so I took action and I ordered a specific proactive health regimen for myself, and am now a flag-waving advocate for a company called Nature Provides. But the genealogy of that sequence of advocacy happened in real time.
In closing, developing life-coaching value-added skills will sound “out there” for some people, but we’re in an era where people want to belong to a community of trusted and honorable service providers who look out for each other. In the process, you get to work on yourself on your business and on your relationships in a way that makes you very attractive; random acts of kindness, addressing unmet needs and solving problems. Being a proactive advocate for well-deserving professionals, that’s appreciated now more than ever, not to mention being fulfilling and rewarding.
Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson