Building a relationship is the basic requirement that enables a trusted exchange of information to take place. Such a trusted relationship becomes even more critical when the information to be shared touches sensitive or personal areas of the lives we lead. Personal finance is historically one of the top no go areas for dinner table conversation. Although, there are people who will always tell you snippets of what they want you to know.? And yet how often do clients openly share details of their financial position with financial advisers just because they are financial advisers?
Very often the client will share the financial basics because that is easy but not the deeper life issues. In reality these life issues are driving the real financial concerns and questions they have. It is these deeper issues that need to be discovered ? the information is hard for advisors to discover and hard for clients to tell you about.
Here are a few thoughts of what advisors really need to know and what clients need to feel safe in talking about:
- What do you know about the clients bucket list -? the things they want to do before being too old to do them?
- What do you know about past mistakes the client has made because of poor financial decisions?
- What do you know about the clients family financial history?
- What do you know about the clients decision making style; do you know to what degree its driven by instinctive behavior,? emotions, knowledge, peer pressure or something else?
Risk profiling that is singularly directed towards investments wont answer these important questions. However, a behaviorally smart adviser who seeks to holistically understand the clients complete financial personality would be far ahead of the traditional advisor or investment manager. Advisers should position themselves to be selected by clients who want them to recognize and navigate their different behavioral styles and emotions. If advisers really want to build relationships and therefore their business they need to realize that independent research shows 93.6% of their role is managing client behaviors.
Tony Vidler in his article Why Sales Skills Matter More Than Ever comments on the findings of the July 2013 report titled Econometric Models on the Value of Advice of a Financial Advisor, by Claude Montmarquette and Nathalie Viennot-Briot:
...clearly there is a fundamental requirement for the professional to have strong technical competency in order to be able to use sales skills effectively and ethically ? the adviser has to know why a particular course of action is sensible before attempting to convince clients to take it! But apparently, the real value advisers create comes from getting clients to change directions or habits. That requires the strongest skills imaginable.
The face of financial advice is changing. The financial industry is asking questions about where the next opportunities are; how are advisers going to generate business, etc.. All valid concerns and all easily answered; financial advisers need to become more behaviorally smart, they need to be open to different right brained approaches if they want the best possible outcome for clients.
Now is a watershed moment in the world of financial advice. With the advent of tighter regulatory requirements, competition and the ever changing economic landscape,? the real response to these environments is to focus on knowing who your clients are and building strong, effective and long lasting relationships with them.? They in turn will become ambassadors by placing value on and talking about the client centered approach you have to providing them with advice.
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.