August 19, 2008

Mastering The Five Relationship Styles

I know you know what you know
but you should know by now
that you're not me.
--- The Rutles,
Piggy In The Middle

There are many ways to categorize your clients. Net worth, business ownership, age, lifestage. How about by the type of relationship your clients want to have with you? The Ameriprise New Retirement Mindscape Study conducted by Age Wave found five main categories.
  1. Guide
  2. Motivator
  3. Teacher
  4. Partner
  5. Friend
Naturally, you'll be more effective if you can identify the style of relationship your clients want and adjust accordingly.


Looking for A Guide
These clients want you to help them explore choices and assist them along the path. They value recommendations.

This is the most popular style, which makes sense given the complexity of life.

Looking for A Motivator
These clients need help sticking to a plan. They want you develop a suitable plan and assure them that they can follow it.

Looking for A Teacher
These clients want to be educated. Unlike clients looking for a Motivator, these ones don't want to be told what to do. They want to make their own decisions.

Looking for A Partner
These clients want you to introduce new ideas or review their ideas. They expect you to have the same goals they do.

Looking for A Friend
These clients want more than a business relationship.

Style Mismatch
See, man, that's the difference between us. You think we're fighting, I think we're finally talking! --- football player Rod Tidwell to his agent Jerry Maguire
Naturally, there is overlap among categories and clients change. We are more comfortable adopting certain styles. You may even have a particular style you use all the time without even knowing. As a writer, I have a bias towards providing education and suitable guidance.

If you describe the styles to new clients, they can choose the one they prefer. You both benefit.


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