When my grandmother was going in for surgery to remove the tumor on her Pancreas, I told my grandmother how much I loved her and I remember her telling me that she knew what I said was real. She told me that while other people profess love, she knew my feelings where genuine. When she died from complications from the surgery a couple of days later, there were a couple of relatives who felt a little uneasy about what my grandmother. Maybe they felt a little insecure in their feelings, maybe they felt guilty.
When it comes to feelings, people will know when you’re genuine and when you’re not. As a plan provider, you need to care for your clients and your clients know whether those feelings are genuine or not. When things go wrong or there are issues to discuss, they know whether you care for them or not.
Many years ago, I was going to a meeting with a client with that semi-prestigious law firm’s managing attorney where the chief operating officer was a former work associate. The chief operating officer was telling the managing attorney all about his kids and how his son was so involved with high school hockey It was interesting to listen and I certainly had no issues Afterwards, the managing attorney pulled me aside in her car and told me that she could care less for what the chief operating officer had to say about his kids. In the 20 years, I’ve been in this business, I have never heard anyone talk about their client that way. Clearly later, the client probably knew about those feelings and a change of law firms was made. You have to care for your clients and you have to be genuine in that care.
Dealing with clients is like any other relationship, they have to be properly managed and every client is different and should be managed accordingly. Clients have different needs and different temperaments. They often joke that 20% of your clients will take up 80% of your time and I’ve found that’s true. There is no one size fits all in dealing with your client, so every relationship has to be treated differently.
You can always try to fake interest or concern for your client, but over time, that lack of genuine feelings will be detected. So be realistic in your feelings and relationships with your client.