One of the reasons that many financially successful people have more than one advisor is that none of their advisors really take care of everything, so they feel a need to have multiple advisors to cover all the bases. Why do they feel that having multiple advisors is diversification? Their lives would be simpler with one advisor, and simplification might be the improvement that moves them across the bridge.

Too many FAs view people through “asset glasses.” They think of gathering the assets and then taking care of the money. You will be more effective at moving your clients across the two relationship bridges when you think about acquiring a new client and taking care of the people. Relationships are about people, not money.

Another way to cross the bridges is to make deeper personal connections with your clients. Most advisors know a lot about their clients horizontally but have not gone very deep. “Horizontally” means that you know many different things about your clients, but not much detail. For example, you may know that they play golf, tennis and snow ski; however, you may not be aware that they are most passionate about skiing because their now-disabled sister, Susan, taught them how to ski and that some of their best memories from childhood were skiing with Susan.

Six foundational areas for going deep are family, friends, fun, finances (career) and philanthropy. Ask who, what, where, why, when and how questions about each subject. Here’s an example of a conversation that goes deep instead of wide.

FA: What do you do for fun?
Client: As a family, we love to snow ski.

FA: Where is your favorite place to ski?
Client: Lake Tahoe.

FA: What is it about Tahoe that makes it your favorite?
Client: I suppose it goes back to my childhood and my sister teaching me to ski there. I want to help my kids create great memories.

FA: Tell me about your sister.
Client: Her name is Susan, and she was the only one of my older siblings who was patient enough to teach me how to ski.

FA: She sounds like a great person. What else is unique about Susan?
Client: She is a very special person. Unfortunately, she was in an accident and can’t ski anymore.