Regardless of their level of wealth or their sophistication, there are only two basic questions that keep financial advisors’ clients awake at night:

“Will I make it?” and “Do I have any financial blind spots?”

Those two questions are the base Paul Blease, the director of the CEO Advisor Institute of Oppenheimer Funds, uses to help advisors help their clients. In the process, he shows advisors how they can distinguish their business from the competition and how to articulate their value to their clients.

“Too many advisors focus on themselves and their practice when they should be focusing on the clients and their journey,” Blease says. “The advisor should focus on answering those two questions for clients.”

Blease speaks at gatherings of advisors all over the country on how to enhance their practices (he has material available on the CEO Advisor Institute website as well). One of the things he tries to impart is how advisors should communicate with their clients.

“Advisors need to tell their clients that there are three things that can derail their planning: They can die too soon, leaving their families without resources; they can live too long; or they can break down along the way with a major disability.”

Then, to distinguish their practices from others, advisors should develop a life plan for clients based on their history, their current situation and their future, taking the three possibilities into account.

Advisors and branch managers of firms also need to look inward at their own practices. Blease explains to advisors how they can look at a practice as if it has four prongs: new business development, wealth management, client services and practice management.

Each of these areas has to be examined by the advisors and their teams in order for them to determine if there are flaws that need to be addressed.

In the future, the CEO Advisor Institute will roll out programs on how to be a transformational leader of a practice and how to manage personal energy, among other topics.