Communication

Do You Know Who Your Clients Are?

No matter the industry, providers of products and services are always saying something to the effect of: “You are blind as to who is going to walk in the front door for their first meeting with you. As you work with the client a bit you have a greater collection of knowledge but still not the whole picture. It can still take 10 years or more to really know who you are dealing with”. Do you truly know the life and financial motivations of your clients? Their deepest desires? Do you know their risk tolerance? Do you know what types of products and services they want?

The reality is that most providers of products and services know very little about their clients. For the first few hours from meeting the client research shows that less than 10% is known about the client and in the medium term less than 20%. How much better off would the client and the provider be if more was known earlier?

The question I have is: why don’t product and service providers seek to find out more about their clients? One reason is that it is hard and we do not have the time. So, the key is finding a way to quickly and non-invasively get the information you want and make the client feel understood. The process must be mutual.

Our “inside out” process for serving clients is below. Most providers start at step 3 – the product providing point. Whereas starting at step 1 is key – understanding the client’s life and financial motivations. Step 2 is to demonstrate empathy by communicating on the clients terms, and then step 3 is to match the DNA of the client to the right product. Finally, step 4 is to guide the client to make the right choices.

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If you want to get started on this process, please go to www.dnabehaviormarketing.com and take our complimentary Communication DNA profile. Then you can see how to bring this process into your business to get to know your clients at a deeper level much more quickly for a more productive outcome.

Business Transformation

In recent weeks we have strongly focused our messaging around “business transformation”. In particular, the need to address the client experience that is being provided in order to transform. So often, leaders regularly talk about getting the right people on board, developing the team and the leadership, having the right product, focusing the business plan, improving execution etc. These are all important dimensions; however, they are not all of it.

The key to business transformation is increasing the level of engagement of both your clients and employees. This is regardless of what business you are in or the nature of the service being provided. In 2009, there was some very compelling Gallup Research supporting this approach. This is illustrated by the graph below and the following key points:

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When we interview businesses, so many readily admit they know less than 20% about their client. What would happen if they knew more than 50% about their clients? So, from an implementation perspective we believe it is key to know more about your clients. Then deliver a client centered experience by aligning your products and services to the client and then having employees who are client focused. This transformation in the alignment of your clients, employees and products can be achieved through predictive DNA behavioral insights. This is the fundamental purpose of our DNA Behavior Marketing system and Business DNA programs.

Advisor Trust

The theme at this week’s FPA Conference in Anaheim centered on trust. Becoming the trusted advisor is not a new idea however, it is increasingly talked about.

The question is how do you become the trusted advisor? How do you accelerate trust in your advisory relationships, and for that matter in any relationship?

Building trust is directly related to how you behave in relation to others. What many do not know is that the starting point for trust starts with your behavior. If you do not trust yourself, then you will not trust others and others will not trust you. What we have learned from research is that some people are not naturally wired not to trust and hence will always have more inherent difficulty in building trusted relationships. So, these skeptical people have to be more conscious in developing trust with clients (and their team).

Interestingly, based on our extensive behavioral profiling of financial advisors, over 70% of them would be low on trust or more skeptical. So, why do you think there is such a lack of trust of our industry, and now being trusted is being valued so much? It is also fair to say that being completely trusting as a person can be naive. Some skepticism is reasonable so long as it is healthy.

Now, you need to address how you are going to improve your level of trust. The first step is gaining clarity of who you are, your talents and your life purpose. When you have the personal confidence to be who you are your fears start going away and generally trust builds. We help people through this step by having them firstly take the Business DNA Natural Talents Profile.
The second step is to uncover your client relationship management performance. We do this by having you take the AdvisorTRUST 360 Profile. In essence, the profile is a behavioral client performance evaluation. The process involves you rating yourself and having at least 3 clients each rating you on 75 performance items across the following 7 key areas:

1. Communication
2. Results
3. Relationships
4. Emotional Intelligence
5. Trust
6. Advisory values
7. Advisory competence

The profile report identifies areas of strength where you are positively building trust with clients and areas where further development is required.

With this information a coaching program can be put in place to help you improve your trust and level of client satisfaction. The reality is that every person will have performance aspects needing development across these 7 areas. Even those who inter personally may naturally build strong trust could be lower in demonstrating advisory trust in terms of the results and processes side of their service delivery.

If you would like to learn more and participate in the AdvisorTrust 360 Profile please contact us at inquiries@businessdnaresources.com

New DNA Behavioral Solutions to Accelerate TRUST and Your Relationships

At the moment, more than ever, the whole notion of trust in every aspect of our lives is important. For many, trust is very low, if not shattered, with our leaders, advisors, partners and family members. Furthermore, trust in ourselves is low, which is the core of the issue. If your business and personal relationships are not working as well as you would like, or your performance could improve, see whether it is because your trust is low. Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others. ? Peter Farquharson

My starting point with trust is always to ask 3 questions: How much do you trust others? Do you feel others trust you? Importantly, do you trust yourself?

When you reflect on these questions, the foundation of trust comes back to whether you trust yourself. The answer to the other 2 questions will be determined by the answer to this question. Firstly, trusting yourself is a foundational life issue. Trust impacts your level of confidence to be who you are, to perform to your maximum potential and then how positively you relate to others. Importantly, when relating to others, your level of personal trust will impact the ability to be open, transparent, mutual and generally act in their best interests. If you act with a low level of trust (even though you may not be aware of it), you will trigger distrust from the other person.

There are many factors that contribute to whether a person trusts themself. Let me be clear, when I am talking about trust, I am not just referring to character or integrity. Our research has shown that your propensity to trust is influenced by both natural hard-wired behaviors and learned behaviors developed from life experiences.

This is why our firm, DNA Behavior International, has launched a new series of behavioral development tools focused on accelerating trust:

  • LeadershipTRUST for business leaders and managers
  • AdvisorTRUST for financial and professional services professionals
  • FamilyTRUST for family members and their advisors

The approach we are adopting through these innovative tools to help you build trust is to firstly uncover your natural propensity to trust, based on your natural hard-wired behavior. This behavior is the core of who you are, and was shaped from birth to when you were approximately 3 years old. For some, high or low levels of trust are relatively ingrained. Therefore, the challenge becomes to work on trusting yourself more. Then our TRUST tools are used to help discover your ability to build trust in specific areas based on:

  • Communication
  • Achieving Results
  • Building Relationships
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Trust Building Skills
  • Values
  • Competence

These TRUST tools have a 360 rating system, enabling you to assess yourself and have others rate you as well. This will help uncover your blind-spots, which we all have. In the end, with greater self knowledge your personal confidence will increase and so will your trust. If you want to learn more, please email us at inquiries@financialdna.com

Partnerships and Money Personalities

In the past few weeks we have had a number of people contact us who are starting some form of business partnership together. Most of the time their request has been to find out more about their differences. Some of the typical issues they are seeking to understand are:

1. What are our different talents?
2. What should our role in the business be?
3. What areas do we have to watch out for?
4. Do we have shared values and purpose?
5. Who else should we hire?
6. How do we communicate with each other?
7. How do we hold each other accountable?

These are all very important questions and it is important they are always addressed in structuring and managing a partnership.

However, there is another dimension that needs to be understood and is seldom directly addressed. That is the influence of different money personalities.

1. What are the different money personalities of each of the partners?
2. What is each partner’s different relationship to money?

In essence, we need to know their DNA Behavior. How will each partner behave with money based on their financial behavioral style? This is absolutely critical to the success of the partnership. So often partnerships do not work or certainly fail to reach their potential because of the different financial attitudes. The different financial attitudes will have a large bearing on their respective goals, what each wants from the business, how they will handle money in the business, how the business is financed and the business development plans. You will even find the financial attitudes of the spouses will be important as this is another partnership to which each of the business partners is accountable and is strongly influenced by.

If one partner is more dominant, then his or her financial attitude will prevail and have a strong influence on the outcome of the business and the decisions. It is my experience from working with many partnerships, and first hand from being in partnerships, that each partner having a healthy relationship to money will be foundational to success. Just have a look at some partnerships that you know of that have worked and failed. Ask why? Money is nearly always there in a big way. Do not be afraid to find out the answers early as this will save a lot of pain later. This is important as having shared values and knowing your respective talents. If not understood, it will become a major road block.

Shirt Sleeves to Shirt Sleeves in 3 Generations

In recent years there has been a lot written about how wealth created by the first generation (the entrepreneur) is lost by the third generation. Often the second generation has also added to the wealth. Then the third generation has lost it through being irresponsible, idle or simply making poor decisions.

Research from a range of sources is consistently showing that this is happening in over 70% of family wealth transfers.

A significant aspect of intergenerational wealth loss is related to the fact that the financial and estate plans do not adequately take into account the human issues involved. Very often poor communication and relationships within the family along with negative emotions lead to bad decisions. The reality is that many wealth transfer plans whilst technically sound become redundant the day after the wealth transferor passes on.

So, how can you improve those statistics so there is greater intergenerational wealth preservation and also family harmony?

The solutions are found in some interesting research undertaken with a high number of wealthy families by groups like Family Office Exchange and also The Williams Group. Their research points to the top priorities for the families are now to address areas such as family legacy and the family relationships. Whilst investment competence is important it is somewhat low on the list. Investment management is generally seen as a given and considered somewhat of a known science. Notwithstanding, getting the family to adopt these priorities and change their behavior is another matter. If you are an advisor, accountant or attorney what areas should you spend the most time on?

The importance of building greater family unity cannot be underestimated. The family needs to have a defined legacy with a shared mission and set of values. This then becomes the framework and platform for family decisions, dealing with businesses, inheritance, financial education, philanthropy and so on. If needed, bring in specialists to deal with the human dynamics and facilitate this. We often do this with advisors. So, I would really encourage for family meetings to be held. Whilst this process can be expensive in some cases, it does not have to be. Just being aware of the importance of these issues and doing a little more to work on them even through more “relational” discussions will help. Of course, for a high net worth family with many financial complexities and plenty of family history then a family meeting is a great idea and will lead to great results.