Life-Centered Financial Planning Essentials:  The Difference Between Success and Failure

Soft skills are the hard stuff—but they’re the difference between success and failure when it comes to life-centered financial planning.

Learn all you can about the people business—ultimately, this is what will pay the bills. Soft skills is your profit margin. Empathy when listening to your clients is your “secret sauce.”

If your clients were to fill out a listening skills report on you, how well do you think you would score on the following?:

  • The advisor gives me their undivided attention when I am talking.
  • The advisor is tuned into me rather than thinking of their own response.
  • The advisor answers in a way that reflects my major concerns.
  • The advisor keeps conversation polarized on my needs, issues, and concerns.
  • The advisor gives a summary of what I have told them and of their intended response.

Remember, life-centered financial planning isn’t about your client’s money, it’s about your client’s life.

Open ears can help train a restless tongue. A humbleness of heart and a true desire to understand the person we seek to help is the posture required to open our ears to their full capacity. Our relational capacity will never exceed our listening capacity. This is the inviolable law of human connectivity. This is how to fight the gravitational forces that make us want to pull everyone’s attention back to ourselves.

This is how empathy is forged and how empathic personalities develop.

If you’re succeeding in hitting home with clients and prospects, here’s what you’ll hear:

“I hear you.”
“That’s the truth.”
“That’s been my experience.”
“That’s how it is.”

Developing transcendent human-to-human capabilities. Becoming a better listener. Evoking empathy in conversation. Resonating with others’ stories. Counseling and coaching clients. Understanding the role of emotion in financial behavior. Hearing and respecting others’ experiences and stories. What does it all add up to? Something quite simple—that the so-called soft skills are the harder stuff, but they do carry the day.

Learn more in Life Centered Financial Planning: How to Deliver Value that Will Never be Undervalued, available at local or online bookstores as well as at