This article first appeared on Nasdaq.
Are you asking clients the hard questions about who they are and what their goals are? Or are you just selling them products based on potentially false assumptions?
Advisors must be willing to have bold-but-caring client conversations that focus on the client as a person without pushing for preconceived outcomes. Getting to know them and reaching below the surface to have real conversations not only accelerates trust, it also provides insight, so you can deliver more targeted and accurate advice.
- Sounding boards;
- The go-to person when big financial decisions that impact the family need to be made; and
- The protector of the clients wealth creation.
Likewise, it is critical for advisors “to know” their clients likely response to market shifts and be able to help them navigate challenging investment environments. Mis-managed emotions destroy wealth.
But, and its a big but, advisors themselves must be behaviorally smart and learn how best to communicate with clients. Everyone is unique; how they hear and interpret information, how they communicate and wish to be communicated with, how they make decisions, react to markets, behave under pressure – all this should be known to advisors.
The first step is to clarify in your mind that this approach is not only important in order to gather and retain clients, but that it satisfies the regulatory requirements of the knowing-the-client rules.
Understanding a clients financial personality from the very first point of connection, through every interaction over the lifetime of the client relationship, could be critical to the sustainability of your business.
A person’s financial personality is driven by their natural (hard-wired) behavior, which was programmed into them from birth to around the age of three. This is the predictable behavior that sits below the surface and will reveal itself when they are under pressure, which is often triggered by money and relationships.
By understanding the behavior first, the life perspectives and motivations of the client can be truly understood. It follows that you will then understand how the client makes financial decisions, which are inherently integrated with their life choices.
Having this insight in advance of working with a client raises an advisors consciousness to be able to pinpoint key issues. Further, it enables advisors to craft and ask powerful questions and, from there, guide the client through a deep discussion. Ultimately, the goal is to liberate the client, so they can find their life purpose and really articulate the goals they can be committed to.
Additionally, when advisors understand their own decision-making style; their own financial personality; their own bias (yes, we all have them) this insight, that can be shared with clients, creates a safer and more mutual environment that increases trust and open communication. Why not begin right now – try our complimentary DNA Behavior Natural Discovery here.
Still, most people are inclined to show their learned behavioral style at the first meeting (as opposed to showing their natural, inherent behavioral style). Its human nature; they are sizing you up before they share their true self. This learned behavior is consistently shaped by their environment, life experiences, values and education.
The use of the typical risk profile only provides a singular measurement of one aspect of the clients financial personality. They are usually highly situational in nature and not reliable in changing circumstances. The use of a robust financial personality discovery process reveals and measures all dimensions of who the client is, including their ability to manage risk at a deeper level, together with biases and communication styles.
Ask deep, probing questions – use behavioral insight to understand how to target these questions to each client. Clients and their families have deep-seated feelings about money. Its an emotional subject. Your job as an advisor is to cut through anything hidden – the issues, the hopes and expectations, the life plans – and direct a rational pathway for the client to achieve their financial goals.
What questions will you ask?