top of page

A crucial key to effortless influence

Jacques Prevert (this could easily be mis-spelt!), a French poet, once walked by a blind beggar who had a sign next to him that read…

“Blind Man without a pension.”

He asked the man how he was doing, and the blind man replied…

“Very badly, no one is making any donations.”

Jacques picked up the man’s sign and changed what it said.

Three days later he walked by again and asked the blind man how he was doing.

He said “Fantastic! My hat is filling up three times a day.”

What exactly did Jacques change that made such a difference?

He changed the context (we’ll get to the specifics shortly).

In the process of doing high impact financial planning and helping your clients achieve their goals, then having them follow your advice is crucial.

In addition, it is inevitable that you will need to coach some of your clients and have them change their thinking and behaviour in some way.

Their ultimate success may depend on you doing this because people often have thinking, behaviours and habits that sabotage their goals.

In fact, this could easily be the biggest act of service you ever do for a client.

Why so?

Because the most significant factor in wealth creation, accomplishing meaningful goals and a life well-lived is a client’s own thinking and behaviour.

Your product recommendations or the overall return your clients experience on their investments are part of the overall picture but, ultimately, your client’s own behaviour will have a much bigger impact on their long-term results.

To become a powerful influencer means that people not only listen to you but willingly alter their thinking or behaviour.

Otherwise, nothing changes.

One thing we do know is that people don’t like to be told what to do. In fact, people resist like crazy if they feel they are being talked down to, controlled or being asked to do something that doesn’t make sense to them.

To create the highest and best possibility of change happening naturally and easily you must create the right environment.

How do you do this?

There are many, many ways but consider that you can change the way someone feels about anything in relation to what you did immediately before.

Imagine you have a bucket of room temperature water and you stick your hand in it. How will it feel?


Now, imagine putting your hand in a bucket of ice cold water for two minutes and then putting it in the bucket of room temperature water. How will it feel then?

A lot warmer or even hot.

If you put your hand in a bucket of hot water (obviously not scalding!) for two minutes and then in the room temperature water. How will it feel then?

Cool or even cold.

This perfectly demonstrates that what happened immediately before can significantly change an experience.

Jacques Prevert changed the blind man’s sign to read…

“Spring is coming, but I won’t see it.”

He changed the story. He knew that the new context would change the way people thought about the situation.

The most powerful way to create context in your client relationships is, first and foremost, to deeply understand them.

But not just in a logical, numbers-based fact find kind of way because there’s no leverage in this kind of information.

If you want to provide more than a transactional service, it is hugely important to go deep with your clients. Do what it takes to find out what matters most to them. Have them get reflective and connect with what is meaningful to them. Help them gain real clarity. Have them see what could stop them getting what they really want.

Ask them intelligent and searching questions and really listen to understand rather than looking for the first opportunity to provide a product or give advice.

It is doing this that begins to create a powerful context because people only ever take action for their own reasons.

If you want to know more about building exceptionally strong, high-trust and mutually profitable client relationships then you can purchase a copy of John Dashfield’s book – The Client-centred Financial adviser at

bottom of page