How to set goals to ensure your clients' success

Advisory
How to set goals to ensure your clients' success

Successful people all have one thing in common: they’re always looking to the future. Whether that plan changes the very next day is irrelevant. If they know where they’re headed, they’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

A directionless business isn’t going anywhere. It’s time to set some goals.

Why goal setting is important

Sitting down with your client to set realistic, achievable goals can have an immeasurable positive effect on their business in a number of ways. Not only does it give your clients direction, but it’s also a great way to get them motivated.

Benefits of goal setting include:

  • Setting priorities increases your client’s efficiency and takes the stress out of deciding what to tackle first
  • Goals will motivate your client and their team, and can positively affect the pace, quality and intensity at which they work
  • Goals help improve problem-solving skills. If there is a clear goal to be achieved we will find ways to achieve it even if it isn’t immediately clear how that will be done
  • Ensures your client is always conscious of the direction in which their business is moving

Four steps to goal-worthy goals

So how do you make goal setting a success? Here are four ways that work for us.

1. Make it a challenging

Studies have shown that goals that are specific, but difficult to achieve, tend to increase performance more than goals that are easier and more general in their focus. Choosing goals that get your client and their team out of their comfort zone can lead to remarkable results.

2. Focus on the future, by changing the now

Ask your clients to picture their definition of success in their business. Record what they come up with and see what they’ll need to change to get there. Whether it’s improving their staff’s technical abilities or getting better at networking, goal setting is a great way to spread skills across your business.

3. Use the SMART framework

SMART is the ever-popular goal-setting acronym. It ensures that the goals you’re setting are as beneficial as they can be.

Specific - make sure you and your client are clear on what the goal really means, and the reason why it’s important.

Measurable - have measures in place to monitor your clients’ goals. This will keep their motivation going and highlight any problems when they arise.

Attainable - Formulate a plan and ensure every step is doable. If your clients set the bar too high, their struggle will deter them from challenging themselves again. Likewise, if a target is too easy, they’re likely to get bored and drop the ball.

Realistic - Does your client have the means of achieving this goal? Have them consider money, time and capacity before setting the goal in stone. 

Timely - Setting due dates for smaller tasks along the way is a great way to keep your client on track. And it’ll keep them from stressing over their goals, as everything has a set time to be done by.

3. Measure it

Have your client record their goals, action plan and display it prominently to keep them and their team motivated and accountable. Set up specific KPIs to measure their progress and keep them up to date with how they’re getting on. Checking in with your clients ensures they don’t drop the ball.

4. Look back (just not for too long)

We talk a lot about looking to the future but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any reason looking back. Your client will be able to learn a lot from the mistakes and successes they’ve had in the past. Ask them to reflect on each of the last few months and pick out what went well, and what could have gone better. Use these as the base of their targets.

Weave value into your pitch

We know the worth of advisory services and the wonders they can do to boost a business’ shot at success. But, for any firm moving into the advisory space, their biggest challenge will be proving the worth of their services to clients, and in time, having them pay for them.

Our simplest solution: ask your clients what their end goal is. This allows you to kickstart valuable conversations that your client will be more than happy to have. Ask any entrepreneur about their business’ future and you’ll struggle to get a word in - it’s the reason they go to work every day.

Now, explain your role as a catalyst. You’ll be their secret weapon, steering them in the right direction, giving them the tools they need to make their decisions and ultimately, succeed. If you can successfully explain how you’d fit into their game plan, you’re likely to capture their attention.

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