I apologize.  A day late and a dollar short?  Well, maybe just a day late.  But I have a good excuse.  Sitting at the hospital for 2 straight days waiting for our second child to be born prevented me from preparing my weekly missive.  Did you miss me?  Well, as an update… no baby yet, but hopefully tomorrow.  I guess she is just too darn warm in that womb!
But sitting in a hospital, waiting, waiting, waiting and wondering, wondering, wondering sure does put one in an nervous condition.  What is that beeping?  Why is that machine doing that?  Why does it hurt when I touch there?  When will this end?  Why is the baby not here yet??  I mean, you hear that he is a good doctor, but why is he not here answering my questions?
Think doctors are unique in that respect?  No!  We talk about doctors having good bedside manners, but what about lawyers and real estate agents and financial advisers and insurance brokers?  We all need to have a good bedside manner.
In today’s age of easy access to information and millions of “do-it-yourself’ers”, the bedside manner could be the difference between simply landing a client and keeping that client. 
I am a firm believer that there are two components to being a successful professional:  1) be a good practitioner; and 2) have a good bedside manner.  No, it doesn’t apply in all circumstances, but it is sure a good place to start.
Component #1 — Be a good practitioner.  Goes without saying, doesn’t it?  Be good at what you do, whether it be managing money, advising as to the right insurance to buy, or setting up the absolute best business entity for the new endeavor.  Be good at what you do; no one wants a bumbler to safeguard their $100,000 or draft the document that will ensure that the children will be provided for argue to keep them out of jail.
But Component #2 is just as important — Have a good bedside manner.  People hire you not only because they know you are a good practitioner, but also because they are comfortable with you, they trust you.  The way to build trust is to be forthcoming and up front with them.  Guide them through the process, describe what is happening, even prepare them for the worst if it so applies.  But keep them informed.  Answer their questions, make them feel comfortable with the process.  There is nothing worse than being in the dark.  Even though you might sell 100 life insurance policies a year, your client only buys 1.  You may go to court every day to argue motions, but your client has never seen the inside of a courtroom prior to today.  And you may manage $50 million dollars in assets, but your clients only care about their $750,000.
When your clients come to you, they have made the concerted decision not to do it themselves, not to go on the internet and try to incorporate their own business or buy their own insurance.  They have determined that it is a good investment to have a professional do it; to have YOU do it.  They know you have the acumen, but do you have the patience to answer all of their questions?  The determination to make them your number 1 priority?  The understanding that this may be just another account for you, but it is the most important thing in your clients’ lives? 
Sitting alone, in a room, wondering what that beeping is, why that alarm is going off, or why the baby still hasn’t shown her beautiful face… at times like these, you want a good practitioner, but you also want someone with a good bedside manner.
Do you have it in you to be both?