What’s Important to you and your clients? You may be surprised!

Ever since I was a kid I had a fascination for the new. Not so much new things, although I do love to get a new gadget in my hand like my new Mevo which is being put to good use to film videos on each chapter of The Guru’s Guide to SMSFs. It’s a great set up and is like having a film studio and editing bay in a can of coke. For a creative person like me who loves being in front of the camera with a whiteboard I could not wish for a better piece of technology.

Getting back to the story on the love of the new. Some of you may have guessed by now that one of the things that is most important to me is innovation. Innovation by way of strategies, business ideas, playbooks and well the list goes on. I have done it forever it seems. For SMSFs I was the first person to ever do a video on SMSFs in 1995 and the first person ever to stream a live video feed in the financial services industry in Australia in 1999. All new and all innovative. But that is part of my psyche. To put it simply it is something that is important to me and without it, I would live a far less happier life. With it and I am on fire.

But I never knew why I was motivated and what really motivated me until I completed my Masters of Neuro Linguistic Programming in 1995. For those that don’t know NLP it is the process of mapping the mind and its impact on a person’s emotions and wellbeing. I have been an avid student for more than two decades now and are continually testing new ideas and strategies out on myself and others close to me. It can be very powerful if used in the right way and also very destructive if not used ethically. I love it almost as much as I love SMSFs and have a developed a couple of unique, innovative techniques of my own. But I am saving that up for a two day Entrepreneur session that I will be rolling out later this year. I promise you will see a different part of me then.

Maslow needs

One of the first and most powerful schools of psychology that I studied in my Masters program was Abraham Maslow and in particular his Hierarchy of Needs. In short as humans we all move through various stages of psychological evolution, ever reaching for a higher needs level. It is absolutely fascinating and the key to motivation.
At the time of learning of Maslow I was in the process of breaking out in my own business, having worked with KPMG as a tax consultant and then with Rothschild Funds Management as their superannuation guru. Part of that business was helping financial planners and accountants provide tax restructuring advice to clients which included family trust work and the beginnings of SMSFs. In the period 1994 – 1998 SMSFs were wide open in terms of strategies so there was a lot of fun to be had. Although we were blocked in part by the Reasonable Benefit Limits in terms of paying out concessionally taxed lump sums and pensions. But having a SMSF as part of your tax planning group was innovative and highly tax efficient (although it ten times better these days).
I found in my first year of consulting meetings that I would sit with the client and the planner or accountant and we would draw the current structure up on the board, look at some of the key strategies that could be employed to save thousands and in some cases tens and hundreds of thousands in tax. The client seemed happy, the accountant or the planner were ecstatic but post the meeting, crickets – nothing. No motivation.

And that is where Abraham Maslow came in. We needed to get the client motivated. By the way this technique that I am sharing with you provides a motivating force for any person and not just clients. Here I am talking about spouses, colleagues, friends and children. Anyway I am off point here.

So in the late 1990’s I developed a process called “Life Values Consulting”. It was a simple, values elicitation interview that got to the heart of what’s important to a client. Once this is determined then the next step is to build SMSF and other strategies based on those things that are important to the client right now. Which is why my earlier consultations did not work at motivating clients. After all would you be motivated by going through a complex restructuring process of your financial affairs, even if it did save you tax?
In essence, Life Values Consulting is simple. It is finding our what is important to the client in their life right now. However, like all NLP, there is a huge bridge between theory and practise. So I want you to see how it works for you. And it has to be done quickly. Remember we are learning a strategy to be used for clients so they need to not think but come up with the first things that come into their mind. Rushing is good!

So get a piece of paper and write down –

What’s important to you in your life right now?

  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________

Once you have at least five then stop and rank them from most important to least important. These are your Life Values running from number one down to number five.
Just to complete the picture put next to each of them how much of your waking life you spend (that means activity and thinking) on that particular Life Value. Notice how the further down the list the less time it occupies your mind. Also we can do a reverse check. If our mind is constantly thinking of something that is not on the list, then it should be.
For example a couple of years ago I had put on a lot of weight and my mind was always thinking about my belly – my business belly. Of course, I did diets, retreats, took supplements and a lot more all in the attempt to be confident in my body- one of Maslow’s need hierarchies. My health and drilling down into it, my desire to be confident in my body drove my and highly motivated me. And let’s face it I am not alone.

That is why Life Values is such an important tool and hits the nail on the head each and every time. Try the following on yourself when you have a moment, and it only takes a few minutes:

    1. What’s important to me about my relationship with my spouse?
    2. What’s important to me about my business or career?
    3. What’s important to me about money?
    4. What’s important to me about my health?
    5. What’s important to me about friendships?
    6. What’s important to me about SMSFs?

Sorry just had to throw that last one in, couldn’t resist. Now if you complete the above you are going to go a long way to finding out, deep down what does and does not motivate you. For example if your car is important to you then washing the car is highly motivational but if you don’t really car about what vehicle you drive then washing the car is a chore that may get done once in a blue moon.

In my next blog, while I am highly motivated to teach you more about Life Values Consulting, I will go into how to use it with clients and more importantly how to get them knocking on your door to consult rather than trying to push them. It is fast, simple and easy. But does take practice – this is not mind stuff.

In the Guru’s Guide to SMSFs I use Life Values Consulting so if it feels as though it may be important to you, once you find out more, then get your clients started on the process by sending them a book. Try it with your high income and high net worth clients. If you want to get some bulk orders contact Ashleigh – support@ilovesmsf.com to make things happen, now. If that is important to you.