Does your client have Post Traumatic Adviser Syndrome

Lego man sitting at his lego desk looking worried

Many clients will come to you having already had financial experiences that have informed where they are now in their lives. These may be good, or they may have been bad, even distressing for your client. Before you get too far down the planning road, you may want to investigate whether your potential client has Post Traumatic Adviser Syndrome.


Why do you need to know?

Ever started talking to a client about specific financial planning options or products and you can physically see them becoming increasingly uncomfortable? Or, perhaps, they are dead against going down a particular path, even though it may be the best decision for their circumstances?

For you to provide a beneficial service to your client in the way that best suits their needs, you first need to understand what financial experiences they have had in the past and how those experiences impacted their current thinking or where they are in their life.


Needing to be heard

When we have had a not so pleasant experience or even a traumatic one, it leaves us needing to be heard. To tell our story, seek validation about the way it made us feel. Your clients are no different.

They may have dealt with advisers in the past that have made decisions for them that they feel aggrieved about or maybe they didn’t like the way they were treated. After all, something brought them to your door.

Have the confidence to give your potential clients the opportunity to confide in you about their financial history with other professionals. Listen to how previous actions, and conversely your future actions have and will affect them both in monetary terms but also emotionally.


The question to ask

After you have discovered your client’s personal, career and family history and understood where they have been and how they got to this point in their lives, then you can ask the question:

‘Have you ever had any experience with any other financial adviser or professional that is worth you telling me about?’

For those who may be feeling a little traumatised by previous interactions with finance professionals, this could be the opportunity they are looking for. The relief that this question gives them might be what allows them to move forward with a more positive attitude towards their finances.


Other questions to ask

You may also want to consider asking:

‘Do you have a financial adviser currently?’

You may be surprised to find that many people will present in your office because their current adviser is not providing them with the type of service they need or is getting it wrong somehow.

If the answer to this question is yes, then follow up with:

‘Do you trust them?’

This may be a simple question, and you might be thinking to yourself that of course, they trust them, why would they have worked together otherwise? However, by asking this question, you will find that the answer is often not so clear cut – ‘well, sort of’, ‘yes, but…’, ‘mmm, I think so…’.

Trust is crucial to any relationship you have, including the ones with your clients. Establishing this early on and finding out what potential actions could affect their trust in you is essential to moving forward together in planning their life.

Another critical question you may want to consider asking is:

‘How did they become your adviser?’

Did they seek them out, did they meet them down the pub or were they referred by a family friend? Understanding the full story and how they make decisions is critical to the service you will provide.


Good or bad

Whether your client has had a positive or negative past experience has the same value to your knowledge base about them and their lives. Every choice a person makes contributes to the picture of their life today.

Their life, hopes, dreams, losses and successes should all be at the centre of your planning. Their story is the basis for being able to plan their future life together with them. To know how to support your client to see the opportunities available and also counsel them in times of crisis, should they occur.

It shows that you care about how they are treated, that you want to provide the best service you can for them and that you have an interest in working together to create a brighter future.


Becoming life centred

You may not currently operate a life centred approach in your practice. However, it is the key to longevity for your business and also continuing to provide real value to your clients. If you would like more information on how to put your clients and their lives at the centre of your business, then contact us today. We are passionate about supporting other advisers to move towards Life Centred Planning and believe that you will find more success in this approach than any other.


MRA help individuals, businesses and families achieve the best quality of life they can with the resources they have. MRA specialise in corporate solutions, cash-flow analysis, life centred planning and much more.

Business Consultants based in East Sussex we service clients across the South East, Sussex and Kent, including smaller towns such as Ashford, Battle, Bexhill, Bodiam, Brighton & Hove, Cranbrook, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Heathfield, Herstmonceux, Lewes, Mayfield, Newhaven, Rye, Seaford, Sevenoaks, Tenterden, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.