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People love online tools and widgets, don’t they? Something they believe can help them in their work.

But do we run the risk of tooling up too much? Or over widgeting? Could the tools and widgets be making us less effective?

I am all for new technology but only to the extent it augments our purpose or makes low value tasks easier. Too many tools can be a distraction and we run the risk of limiting our effectiveness.

We have colourful graphs to show clients when they might run out of money, and how much money they can expect to have available year to year. Knowing that is valuable for them, it goes a long way to helping them feel financially free and secure.

The software we use can do a whole load more – we do not use 75% of the functionality available – but over engineering something simple detracts from it. That would not serve our clients well.

Our portal simply makes communication secure and our audit trail clearer. We use Calendly so clients can book appointments when it suits them, without us having to engage in email tennis. Simple efficiency tools.

Now let’s talk about our biggest and best tool: Our ears.

Financial planning is a people business, good financial planning means good listening, good listening means being present, with nothing on our minds. Now and forever.

Listening is simple, most are born to do it – look at your children when they are young, they hang on your every word. Look at us as adults, waiting impatiently to jump in and get our point across. An old sales mantra is “You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion”.

If we listen with nothing on our minds, we hear what is really going on. That makes us better able to help our clients. To augment our listening, we record our meetings. This gives us the time and space to listen and removes the distraction of taking lengthy notes.

Sometimes I use Otter to record meetings which provides stats showing who is talking. In my most recent meetings the clients are talking 50% of the time, me 30% of the time and silence takes up the other 20%.

Isn’t that great? They talk, I listen, I speak, we ponder.

In this modern age, there is a tool for everything. The good ones are those that make you better for your clients. Picking the right ones can be tricky and we often overlook the most obvious.

My top pick is the oldest tool we have – our ears. Listening, is and always will be our greatest tool. It is probably yours too.


Boring But Effective | Truthful, Helpful, Kind 

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