insights

Voices: Helping clients resolve their differences

Financial advisers can use so-called interest-based negotiating to help couples address disagreements and shape a shared plan.

We negotiate all day long, with our team members and with clients, and we also listen to and help clients negotiate with each other. When helping clients negotiate, one of the best ways of facilitating a discussion is through so-called interest-based negotiating.

In this approach to negotiation, we help clients uncover what their interests—rather than their positions—are, to help discussions and planning move forward.

To be an interest-based negotiator, you have to be an active listener, being open and present during discussions. When you sense a client is expressing concern, offer a response. In your response, don’t use the phrase, “I think.” Rather, say, “It sounds like” or “It seems like.” That phrasing opens a door to further discussion.

Even getting what you heard the client say wrong is powerful information. If the client says, “No, that’s not what I meant,” you can say, “Tell me a little more about that,” and that clarifies the issue. Ask open-ended questions, affirm what clients say, and when emotions are clarified, you can start solving problems.

Here’s an example: Say a husband and wife have a family business. The wife doesn’t like taking risks and feels uncomfortable borrowing money for the business. The husband is comfortable with risk and borrowing money. They own things together and need to make decisions as a family. With opposite positions, it might seem that the husband and wife are at an impasse. However, with interest-based negotiating, you may find they actually have common goals.

First, try to get the wife to talk about what makes her uncomfortable about borrowing. Maybe it’s her family history or maybe it’s an adage like “never borrow for what you can save up for.” Her basic interest is knowing that there will always be money to support her and her husband, and debt could put that in jeopardy.

Next, talk to the husband. He may say that to keep the family business alive, they need to take risks so that they can support themselves 25 years from now. As an adviser, you find that they both have the same basic interests, so now you can work on a plan that works for both of them and gets them to this common goal.

Our job is all about helping clients be successful and identifying how they define being successful. If you can bring active listening and interest-based negotiation skills to client meetings, then the clients can achieve a much higher level of success.

This article originally appeared on The Wall Street Journal wsj.com

Tags: Published Articles

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Voices: Helping clients resolve their differences

Financial advisers can use so-called interest-based negotiating to help couples address disagreements and shape a shared plan.

We negotiate all day long, with our team members and with clients, and we also listen to and help clients negotiate with each other. When helping clients negotiate, one of the best ways of facilitating a discussion is through so-called interest-based negotiating.

In this approach to negotiation, we help clients uncover what their interests—rather than their positions—are, to help discussions and planning move forward.

To be an interest-based negotiator, you have to be an active listener, being open and present during discussions. When you sense a client is expressing concern, offer a response. In your response, don’t use the phrase, “I think.” Rather, say, “It sounds like” or “It seems like.” That phrasing opens a door to further discussion.

Even getting what you heard the client say wrong is powerful information. If the client says, “No, that’s not what I meant,” you can say, “Tell me a little more about that,” and that clarifies the issue. Ask open-ended questions, affirm what clients say, and when emotions are clarified, you can start solving problems.

Here’s an example: Say a husband and wife have a family business. The wife doesn’t like taking risks and feels uncomfortable borrowing money for the business. The husband is comfortable with risk and borrowing money. They own things together and need to make decisions as a family. With opposite positions, it might seem that the husband and wife are at an impasse. However, with interest-based negotiating, you may find they actually have common goals.

First, try to get the wife to talk about what makes her uncomfortable about borrowing. Maybe it’s her family history or maybe it’s an adage like “never borrow for what you can save up for.” Her basic interest is knowing that there will always be money to support her and her husband, and debt could put that in jeopardy.

Next, talk to the husband. He may say that to keep the family business alive, they need to take risks so that they can support themselves 25 years from now. As an adviser, you find that they both have the same basic interests, so now you can work on a plan that works for both of them and gets them to this common goal.

Our job is all about helping clients be successful and identifying how they define being successful. If you can bring active listening and interest-based negotiation skills to client meetings, then the clients can achieve a much higher level of success.

This article originally appeared on The Wall Street Journal wsj.com

Tags: Published Articles

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Voices: Helping clients resolve their differences

Financial advisers can use so-called interest-based negotiating to help couples address disagreements and shape a shared plan.

We negotiate all day long, with our team members and with clients, and we also listen to and help clients negotiate with each other. When helping clients negotiate, one of the best ways of facilitating a discussion is through so-called interest-based negotiating.

In this approach to negotiation, we help clients uncover what their interests—rather than their positions—are, to help discussions and planning move forward.

To be an interest-based negotiator, you have to be an active listener, being open and present during discussions. When you sense a client is expressing concern, offer a response. In your response, don’t use the phrase, “I think.” Rather, say, “It sounds like” or “It seems like.” That phrasing opens a door to further discussion.

Even getting what you heard the client say wrong is powerful information. If the client says, “No, that’s not what I meant,” you can say, “Tell me a little more about that,” and that clarifies the issue. Ask open-ended questions, affirm what clients say, and when emotions are clarified, you can start solving problems.

Here’s an example: Say a husband and wife have a family business. The wife doesn’t like taking risks and feels uncomfortable borrowing money for the business. The husband is comfortable with risk and borrowing money. They own things together and need to make decisions as a family. With opposite positions, it might seem that the husband and wife are at an impasse. However, with interest-based negotiating, you may find they actually have common goals.

First, try to get the wife to talk about what makes her uncomfortable about borrowing. Maybe it’s her family history or maybe it’s an adage like “never borrow for what you can save up for.” Her basic interest is knowing that there will always be money to support her and her husband, and debt could put that in jeopardy.

Next, talk to the husband. He may say that to keep the family business alive, they need to take risks so that they can support themselves 25 years from now. As an adviser, you find that they both have the same basic interests, so now you can work on a plan that works for both of them and gets them to this common goal.

Our job is all about helping clients be successful and identifying how they define being successful. If you can bring active listening and interest-based negotiation skills to client meetings, then the clients can achieve a much higher level of success.

This article originally appeared on The Wall Street Journal wsj.com

Tags: Published Articles

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