As a business advisor, if you can't speak the language of your clients and truly understand their needs and goals, it will be difficult to establish a collaborative relationship with them. This is especially true when it comes to working with business owners. The ability to communicate effectively and relate to them on a human level is the key to success. As professionals in our respective fields, we often pride ourselves on our technical knowledge and expertise. We attend symposiums and conferences, impressing others with our vast knowledge and understanding. But this technical prowess can sometimes hinder our ability to connect with clients.
Tax attorneys and CPAs, for example, often struggle with a common issue – their clients don't always follow their advice. As Michael Valdez, Co-founder of the Business Transition Council, and a Certified Succession Planner™ shares, “When I talk to tax attorneys, or I talk to CPAs, and they confess their deep, dark secret to me, they always say something like in a very whisper tone, ‘I can't get the clients to listen to me, to do what I want.’ Right? They can't even say it out loud for fear that it reflects on them.”
As Valdez continues to share in the video titled, “Diverse Knowledge, and Perspectives: Earning the Trusted Advisor Role,” the root cause of this problem lies in the approach these professionals take. They often focus on the technical aspects of their work, using jargon and complex concepts that can be difficult for clients to grasp. However, the mantra "keep it simple, stupid" holds a valuable lesson – the importance of simplicity in communication. One of the things that happens as you integrate this [Certified Succession Planner™] knowledge, is that you become a more well-rounded advisor.
The ability to explain complex concepts in a simple and understandable manner and tie the complex to your client’s purpose and vision is crucial. When you can break down technical information into digestible pieces and speak in terms that resonate with business owners, you can bridge the gap between their needs and your expertise. By speaking the language of a business owner, you demonstrate that you understand their concerns, aspirations, and challenges. You show empathy and build trust, which are essential for collaboration.
So, how can you achieve this? It starts with a shift in mindset. As Valdez shares in the video “Talk the Talk…”, “If you notice, it [study of succession planning] starts with business owner motivation, right? That's the first thing you have to understand is what's happening emotionally with that business owner. And it's not just them, it's them compared to their C-suite, their relationship to their customers, their relationship to their suppliers, their bankers, their spouse, and their children. You must get inside who they are. And it's through that conversation of their motivation that you then get the questions to learn how to collaborate.“
Instead of focusing solely on your technical knowledge, put yourself in the shoes of a business owner. Understand their language, their priorities, and their goals. Develop the ability to explain complex concepts in a way that is relatable and easy to understand.
When you can speak to business owners in their language, you become a valuable partner. You can provide guidance and advice that aligns with their goals, rather than overwhelming them with technical jargon.
Remember, everything we do in our professional lives is ultimately about human nature. It's about understanding and connecting with people. By mastering the language of a business owner, you can unlock a world of collaboration and success. So, let's strive to simplify, relate, and speak the language that truly resonates with our clients.
To further enhance your expertise and credibility in the field of succession planning, pursue the Certified Succession Planner (CSP) designation offered by the International Succession Planning Association (ISPA). The CSP designation equips you with the comprehensive knowledge and practical tools necessary to guide you to connect with owner motivations and facilitate strategies to meet your clients’ long-term goals.