Dennis Moseley-Williams: How to Turn Client Meetings into Transformational Experiences


A “sea change” is occurring in how financial advisors attract and keep clients, says DMW Strategic Consulting Founder Dennis Moseley-Williams. “Selling commoditized investments and services is not enough,” he says. He recommends clients treat each meeting—whether an onboarding appointment, portfolio review, or client dinner—as a well-planned and orchestrated event. “You have to stage experiences that lead clients to a guided transformation.” 

Moseley-Williams, who founded his firm in 2002, says the internet has ushered in “an endless sea of choice” of products and services that offer greater value at a lower price. This has helped clients but made it harder for advisors to stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

As such, advisors should emphasize experiences and the human connection over merely dispensing financial planning services, Moseley-Williams argues. “Ask your clients to buy into you, not from you,” he says. “Create deeper relationships with existing clients, do more business, and generate more introductions.”

On this Barron’s The Way Forward podcast Moseley-Williams also discusses:

The difference between service and experiences. “Service is fundamentally intended to save people time and money. Everybody needs a service, but experiences are different. They engage with us in a uniquely personal way. They’re relevant to us, they’re deeply personal, they’re memorable, they’re emotional, and they register forever as a memory.”

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Events vs. meetings. “What is an experience? Instead of thinking of it as a review meeting or onboarding or a check-in call or client event, or client dinner…think of it as an event. Think of experience as time well designed. When you think about the difference between an event and a meeting, an event is something that you look forward to. When it’s happening, you’re nowhere else. You’re completely engaged and when it’s over, you talk about it. Whereas a meeting is something that, increasingly, as we joke, ‘That meeting could have been an email.’”

Authenticity, generosity, and being true to oneself. “If there’s a beating heart of this whole idea I have, it would be authenticity…Authenticity is simply this: I’m true to myself and I’m true with how I represent myself to others. And the second little bit then would be generosity—a desire to share with you what I know, which leads us right to the scariest part of all of it…You have to abandon these comfortable lies that we tell ourselves.” 

The progression of economic value. “We’ve moved from an agrarian economy where commodities were the predominant economic offering to the industrial economy where it was goods to this service economy where it’s actions I take on your behalf into the experience economy where it’s personalized experiences and time well spent.” 

An evolution toward transformations. “Madonna—we don’t want the ‘material girl’ anymore. We embraced minimalism. We let services go. Now status, even more so than experience, is transformation. Who I became. I’ve gone and taken this course. I’ve done this retreat. Even simple things—I did a Tough Mudder event. These events have taken over. CrossFit gyms versus just a gym. It’s transformation. So jump on that, my friends out there in financial advisor land.” 


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