Let's get ready to rumble: Financial planning strategy battles that help tell client stories

Telling client stories is a simple way to help future clients and your professional network, understand what you do and who you serve. Not just the investment, super and insurance side of things, but the deeper stuff, like being a sounding board, and providing a sense of confidence and control.

But apart from the grab-a-tissue insurance claim stories, or inspirational I-achieved-my-dreams stories, there’s not much variety going around.

That means it's easy to stand out.

Enter the financial planning strategy battle

I grew up in the 80’s. The glory days of Hulk Hogan.

With two older brothers, and a ring-sized rug in the lounge room, I mastered the fine art of launching myself off the lounge and body slamming into a brown vinyl beanbag.

And I also remember this voice.

Now what if you were the ringside announcer.

Minus the bow-tie, rolled rrrrrr's and threat of a full nelson.

A confident voice introducing two financial strategies.

Strategy A in the red corner. Strategy B in the blue corner.

Have a real discussion and debate about the depth of decisions and alternatives that are part of creating an effective financial plan.

  • Should we rent or should we buy?

  • Should we pay off the mortgage faster or should we invest?

  • Should we invest or should we contribute to super?

  • Should we buy an investment property or should we invest in shares?

  • Should we pay for 6 years of private school education or should we pay for 13?

And all the options and intricacies in between.

It's not theory. Explain a real client's situation. The pros and cons. The black, the white and grey areas in between.

Make it detailed and descriptive. Not just the numbers, but the things that are important to the client. The fears, the hopes, the dreams. The missed opportunities and the potential.

Then explain the decision. Why? What are the benefits, the downsides, the sacrifices that need to be made?

The decision may not be the one that puts them in the most optimal financial position. Perhaps you optimised for happiness or simplicity or more choices in the future.

Explain it. Just the way you would to a client.

But why?

All of a sudden, you start to let people into your process.

Financial planning becomes less of a behind-the-curtain Wizard of Oz style production.

It’s collaborative, engaging, and combines the head with the heart; the numbers and the humanness of the situation.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s not quite sure if you’re the right financial planner for them. This will help them decide.

Put yourself in the shoes of your professional network, who don’t really know what you do all day. This will help them understand.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who hasn’t given financial planning much thought before, because they think it’s just for rich folks. This will help them see the options and opportunities.

I bet you can think of a scenario right now you could share.

Let’s get ready to rumble.