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The Show-Off

4 July 2024

FINANCIAL PLANNERS – There’s a certain type of prospective client that’s impossible to spot until it’s too late.

I call them the ‘Show-Off’s’.

The reason they are so hard to spot is because, on paper, they appear to be right on the money.


The enquiry comes in and it looks great. Plenty of savings and pensions, probably a property or two and a desire to do some Financial Planning to assure themselves that they’ve got enough to retire in a few years.

If Carlsberg did Financial Planning clients, this would probably be them.

So, you offer them a free consultation and it all starts well.

  • You smile sweetly when they attend on time and appear coherent.
  • Your heart beats a little faster when you see they’ve got a lever arch file with all their documents in date order.
  • Your eyelashes flutter involuntarily when you see their spreadsheet with all their costs listed.

But then, a little doubt creeps in when they open their laptop and start what feels like a presentation.

They appear extremely knowledgeable, giving the impression they could easily do your job—and in fact, they are doing your job!

You thought they were coming in to listen to you explain how your Financial Planning process could help them review their assets against their life and lifestyle needs and determine if they have enough.

But it’s now slowly dawning on you that they’ve come in to give you a masterclass in Financial Planning – and more importantly, show you how absolutely fantabulous they are.

  • They already know they have enough – they just haven’t told enough people about it yet.
  • They’ve told everyone in the pub, bored everyone at work and their long-suffering spouse has lost the will to live.
  • They then went looking for fresh meat and you just didn’t get out of the way quickly enough.

And now there you are, sitting and listening to the Show-Off Man (sorry, but it’s always a bloke), gleefully walking you through all his calculations, fund choices, tax dodges and soaking up your non-existent applause whilst you wonder what on earth has happened.

The truth is, you just got done.

If it wasn’t you, it would have been someone else.

In fact, there is probably someone else who’s going to get it tomorrow.

So, what to do?

Grit your teeth, tell them how fantastic they are and move them to the door.

That’s all you can do.

Don’t think you’re the one that can change them or that if you dazzle them with your knowledge they’ll suddenly convert to your way of thinking.

They won’t.

They’ll take everything they can get from you (for free) and roll it up into their own thing.

I got caught with a few Show-Offs early in my career and my pride got in the way of reality. I took them as a personal challenge, keen to impress and show my worth with the aim of enticing them into my Financial Planning service.

But I just became their dancing monkey whom they were happy to tease just enough to keep me dancing.

But after a few years I learned.

They’re ‘Show-Off’s’, so let them ‘Show-off and _ _ _ _   _ _ _’

[Colloquial English saying that invites someone to relieve themselves of the room (4,3)] – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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