“How do financial advisors know what questions to ask if they don’t know how to communicate with me?”
I wonder how many every-day working people believe that only the rich make long term plans for their financial future. Could it be that the financial industry tends to position itself as available only to advise on family wealth, estate planning, finding ways to make the rich richer or manage their large inheritances and forgets the millions of others who need plans, want to be financially secure yet feel uncomfortable about discussing their hopes, dreams and limited finances with an advisor?
Byron R. Moore writes the following in his article, Financial Fundamentals: Is financial planning about ‘predicting’ or ‘positioning’?:
Question: How am I supposed to do any financial planning these days? I dont know who is going to be president, how the financial crisis in Europe is going to turn out or how we are going to deal with our national debt. It is difficult to know what to do next.
Answer: Really? Is it really that difficult? Or are you just stuck because your concept of financial planning is proving to be fatally flawed?
When reading this article it occurred to me that maybe a more valid question from potential clients might be will my money be safe if I take your advice. This doesnt necessarily refer to their ability to understand and manage risk; maybe its more about allowing the client to share their genuine concerns, their lack of knowledge about the financial industry, and their unpretentious, down to earth approach to their finances.
The world of financial advice is highly competitive; learning how to build your business and increase your bottom line could be as simple as knowing how to communicate with your prospects. Understanding their communication style from the very first point of connection (phone call or meeting) through every interaction over the lifetime of the client relationship could be critical to the sustainability of your business.
Advisors need to understand their own communication and behavioral style up front before the first meeting.? This insight will enable advisors to uncover client communication styles and enable the advisor to adjust their approach in order to effectively engage their client into the conversation.
If as an advisor you are genuinely able to communicate your interest in talking to the client, once they have revealed that their financial status is middle-class or below, you will build confidence in the client and begin the process of developing the relationship. As an advisor its critical to the process not only to be client focused but to be able to uncover information that will result in sound and appropriate advice being given.
Seeking financial advice is a big step for many people. The industry needs to better understand their behavior and communication from the perspective of potential clients. Only then will it truly be able to know the right questions to ask potential clients.
You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. – Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960
Carol Pocklington is a Human Behavior Solutions Analyst at DNA Behavior, assisting with the research and development of behavioral products. DNA Behavior helps grow behaviorally smart businesses and financial advisors worldwide to increase competitive advantage using the most reliable behavioral discovery and performance development systems on cutting-edge technology platforms. Solutions are delivered in the areas of client experience management, financial personality management and human capital management.