If you’re going to sell advice for a living, it needs to be aligned with the interests of your clients—even if it goes against your own immediate interests.
I call this the fiduciary standard.
And it’s not always easy to do. It involves leaving real money on the table.
But in doing so, it also opens the door to earning a lot MORE money (for you and your clients) through long-term and repeat engagements.
Here are some ways I’ve left money on the table to stay aligned with my clients’ interests:
- I’ve helped my clients hire an in-house manager to replace me
- Advised clients to move to lower tiers of service or cancelling altogether
- Offered to let clients pause or cancel early if they weren’t getting value
- Stopped marking up other’s time while clients were on retainer with me
- Said hard things the client needed to hear at the risk of being fired for it
- Proactively reduced my prices when clients when it made sense to do so
- Turned away prospects when I wasn’t sure I could help them
- Referred clients to trusted partners without taking referral fees
- Turned down affiliate commissions on software I recommend
- Went above and beyond the scope in order to get an outcome we expected
…and a range of other things that seem to cost me money in the short run, but also ensure I’m conflict-free and acting in their interests above my own at all times.
To sell advice with full integrity, you need to remove as much back-end incentive as possible and focus entirely on serving the needs of your clients above all else.
Otherwise, what you’re doing is consultative sales. And clients put their guards up around that.
Clients may not know enough to value your stance as a fiduciary advisor going into the relationship, but they start to appreciate it as they see it in action.
If you want to sell advice and keep your clients engaged for a long period, be their advocate—even if it comes at a short-term personal cost.
It always pays off in the long run to do things this way.