Have You Ever Seen Your Client Cry?

When you first started your professional journey as a financial advisor, did you ever think that the success of your work will rely on far more intricate things than your extensive knowledge of the market? If you have been doing this for some time you probably have realized by now that the financial success of your clients relies not only on your performance but most importantly on your relationship with them.

If you have been spending time and efforts developing a trusting relationship in order to create a customized portfolio and financial plan for your clients, then you’ve been doing it right. The trust they place in you will govern your relationship and their financial success. But what if we told you that there is one particular component that you failed to consider. A component that could obliterate all your efforts in the blink of an eye.

How susceptible is your client to outside influence? How does watching financial talk shows, the evening news, or reading the negative financial headlines in newspapers and magazines affect them?

Do they take the information for what it is, not read much into it, then draw their own conclusion? Or would they actually believe in it and see an “obvious” and “direct” correlation with their financial plan and reach out to you for an understanding and compassionate shoulder to cry on? 

Make no mistakes, no matter how irrational this might seem to you and unlikely to affect your work, nothing can be more concerning that a susceptible, impressionable, and fast reactive client who feels at liberty to change your entire scope of work and strategy because the news compelled them to do so. 

Now imagine a couple arriving together for their first annual review with you. One of them is extremely concerned that the markets are fluctuating a lot. And, since it is so close to retirement they worry that if you continue with the portfolio you have designed, it will mean major cutbacks in lifestyle spending. The other feels comfortable with the portfolio but concerned about your fee structure given all the recent press on advisors charging too much and damaging returns on retirement plans.

How would you address this? Would you dive into technical and financial related explanations to try to appeal to their common sense and convince them that the direction you’ve been going is the most suitable to their needs and financial goals? Or would you take a moment to understand them better, understand their communication style, where their fear emanates from, and phrase your answers in a way they will understand?

You see, this is not the time for you to re-sell this couple on your strategy so they don’t lose faith in you or the commitment to the plan. This is the time for you to get to know your clients better. 

Could you imagine how different the situation would be if you could identify during the on-boarding meeting with your clients those that are more emotional or whether they are attracted to the headlines? Your entire approach would change to be more client-centered to engage with them on their terms.

Don’t react. Be proactive and become a behaviorally smart advisor to build trusting relationships that will keep your “susceptible” clients engaged for life.

Don’t Reinvent Tech; Just Add Behavioral Power

– First Published on Nasdaq –

People are complicated. Some tell you their life story in the first few minutes. Others take time – and deep questioning – to reveal even the smallest details.

Financial advisors know that, around the emotional subject of money, gaining insight into clients’ financial personality is hard. But it doesn’t need to be. No matter how complicated – and different – each person is.

Knowing your clients at a deeper level and having real-time access to innate client behaviors and decision-making inclinations puts advisors in a powerful stance. Ready to deliver top-flight service – and results.

How will a client react to market movements? What are their biases? How do they consider and deal with risk? And what are their spending habits? Clients can tell you about themselves, and you can subjectively observe, but what if you had validated, objective client data built into systems on which you rely?

You’ve got tech; add #behaviortech

The solution is part of the move toward greater use of behavioral science. Financial advisors (and their clients) are coming to the realization that bona fide behavioral insights improve the effectiveness of financial advice – communication, service quality and outcomes.

Layering a behavioral data-gathering addition into your existing tech stack is easier than you may think. Hint: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Even if you don’t know what an API is, for instance, your IT people do. Imagine: A plug-in that adds behavioral info to the tech you already have.

This addition makes it possible for financial advisors to identify, engage and deliver client solutions in real time, leveraging data that informs financial planning from end to end. A behavioral tech stack combines customer engagement technology and behavioral insight data to inform client engagement. It enables the knowing-me-knowing-you element that creates trust from openness and transparency.

Plugging in personality

Client data collected through a quick, simple behavioral discovery informs the advisory process in significant ways:

  • Defining financial personality.
  • Advisor/client matching.
  • Individual client financial journey needs.
  • Quality life goal analytics.
  • Real-time access to client behavior data.
  • Client engagement via more effective communication.
  • Insights to inform marketing.
  • Eliminates information silos between client support teams.

Every financial advisor should have access to interactive business intelligence tools. And that includes but goes far beyond client EQ, to include a full range of behavioral insights. (In some cases, as many as 500-plus such insights.) That’s the power of modifying your tech stack to include the behavior module.

Be(havior) on the cutting edge

Imagine: In advance of every client meeting, whether face to face, on social media, conferencing platforms or the phone, an advisor could, at the click of a button, be able to deploy dashboards and personalized information to respond to specific client wants and needs. (Even wants and needs they may not know they have or cannot verbalize; again, you’ll be tapping into innate behavioral info.)

Best: The behavioral tech stack is so integrated into other advisor systems and platforms that client info and prompts appear as needed, with the advisor not even having to push that proverbial button. As an example, a pop-up might remind you the client you’re about to meet with has difficultly following set procedures and offers a checklist of ways you can simplify processes to ensure they stay on track.

This approach creates an experience tailored to individual client needs. Moreover, it’s the way of the future.

How to Spend $20 million in 3 Years

Whether you are leading an innovative tech company or managing the digital division of an organization, there is one dilemma that you surely have come across at least once: when needing a software solution, should you invest in a market-ready product or should you build it yourself using your IT resources? This is also equally true when it comes to behavioral science work. Should companies seek out thoroughly developed software solutions by subject matter experts? Or should they build their own?  

The dilemma you, along-side numerous organizations around the world are faced with is also known as Build vs Buy.

Identifying the Need

As you weigh in on the decision of buying a software solution vs building it, you need to start by assessing your need, identifying the issue you are trying to address, and do an inventory of your resources. Opting for “Build” or “Buy” can only make sense if it is a well thought out decision that takes into consideration all variables involved.

What is the problem you are seeking a software solution for? What purpose does it have? Is it meant to improve your business process, or optimize your operations? Does your in-house IT team have the knowledge and the capabilities of building such a solution? Do you even have IT resources, to begin with? If not, can your company afford to outsource such task?

These are all the questions you need to ask yourself when faced with the Build vs Buy dilemma.

Weighing Your Options

Opting for Build or Buy can only make sense if it is a well thought out decision that takes into consideration all variables involved. What is the problem you are seeking a software solution for? What purpose does it have? Is it meant to improve your business process, or optimize your operations? Does your in-house IT team have the knowledge and the capabilities of building such a solution? Do you even have IT resources, to begin with? If not, can your company afford to outsource such task?

From a behavioral tools perspective, the ramifications of building a solution from scratch are often costly. There are so many companies that have created new FinTech, HRTech, and MarketingTech behavioral solutions, and have failed after the first year. With a behavioral tool, you are only as good as the insights you provide. Generating accurate insights, quickly, and reliably takes a lot of research, finetuning, and time. Companies who do not operate in this field, are typically ill-equipped and unable to access the resources in order to create solutions from scratch.

Maintenance and Support

It is undeniable that having an IT department in your company is a substantial asset when it comes to running your operations smoothly. Having an on-call team that can proactively maintain your software solutions and provides unlimited support is the main appeal in investing in IT resources, to begin with. When opting for building your own software, your in-house IT team has full control over the process and is able to provide unlimited support. Whereas when you buy a market-ready product, your software vendor may not have as much of a proactive maintenance team, and it might take longer to have your support ticket processed. However, the perks of buying a software solution reside in the market reach of the vendor that grows exponentially which entices him to use his client’s feedback to develop his software, anticipate any bugs that may occur, and continuously expand his product features. Your IT team, however, unless an issue has risen they may not be as proactive in developing your software solution.

Return on Investment

No matter what industry you operate in, the concept of ROI is pretty straightforward and applicable to all: as an organization, you strive to generate high returns on your investment. This means that ROI is not only a metric to evaluate the success of your business decisions, it also dictates funding and resource allocation. That is a key element to take into consideration when faced with the Build vs Buy dilemma. Let’s look at it this way: if a firm needed an accounting software, they would rarely build their own. They would simply license software from Oracle, Quickbooks, or any of the other providers who have solutions, off the shelf. The truth of the matter is, companies such as Oracle have put thousands (millions?) of hours and have recruited top-notch experts to build their platform. To put things even more into perspective, our very own DNA Behavior solutions are available for as little as $75 per month but we have invested hundreds of man-years developing the insights with PhDs and experts from high-ranking government, private sector, and military positions. For you to replicate one of our products, it will cost your company $20 Million over 3 years.

Could your company commit to such investment? Does your ROI justify and support such expense? At this point, if you are still hesitant or unsure about which direction to go and whether you should Build or Buy, looking at it from your ROI perspective should tip the balance. 

VERDICT: Build

Did you know that even the most brilliant and resourceful tech companies around the world purchase software solutions from other vendors? That’s right, when needing a software solution for business processing or operation structure, they may have the capabilities and resources to build them, but their resources are much better invested in their field of expertise rather than gaging a foreign technology landscape that they know nothing about. So why would you try to build your own behavioral software where companies such as DNA Behavior exist? We have spent the past 19 years generating 575 behavioral insights that have been tested, improved, and are ready to use. You can now leverage our Financial and Business DNA retail packages as well as our Financial DNA API, with the possibility of co-branding or white labeling our solutions. The fact of the matter is, your resources are better used to help your company grow rather than investing in building a software solution you lack expertise in. 

If you’re still not sure, schedule your 15 min consultation with Leon Morales, our Managing Director to further discuss our products and solutions.

Revisiting Big Life Choices and Making Them Sustainable

– First Published on Nasdaq –

In these tumultuous times, conversations have steered away from discussions about how business is going and more toward inquiries like, “how are you managing the lockdown or what have you been spending your time on during the pandemic?”

That is, both my personal and business conversations have found me focusing more on how this may well be the season of some kind of re-positioning. A time of re-structuring for the better, you might say, although it’s tough to articulate what that actually looks like.

Is now the time to make living a meaningful quality life a reality? Clearly, many think it is. But how do you shift from a lifetime of setting financial goals solely to build wealth, assets and increase income to a more holistic approach to life?

It could be argued that wealth creation should always have been predominately about leading a quality life, but we know that not to be the case.

So, what is a quality life? And how do you plan for it? Undoubtedly, it’s subjective but there are important essential factors that form the basis of a quality life. Good health, financial security, relationships, safety, recreation and community involvement to name but a few. But I suspect it goes much deeper than that.

Being in flux helps refine focus

The world has changed in so many unexpected ways over the past 6-plus months. In light of this, many of us are examining how we are “doing life” right now. We are talking about our values, our quality of the life, and how we are making and spending our money.

It’s as though we need to be setting a totally new vision for our life. It’s at least an opportunity to do so.

Unquestionably, there is far more talk about how to serve the world we live in rather than just take from it. This is where the sustainability conversations are coming in, followed with more focus on diversity and inclusion.

What makes a quality life

On a practical level I believe leading a quality life begins withdefining how you would rate your life quality now in 5 key areas:

  1. Are you able to articulate your life purpose?
  2. Do you feel a sense of balance in the key areas of your life?
  3. Are you living with purpose and intention?
  4. Are you meeting all of your needs and a lot of your more meaningful wants?
  5. Do you have a plan for giving back to the community?

As I took time to ask myself these questions and to consider who I needed to include (outside of my family) in this refocusing, I designed for myself a flow chart to provide a better directional understanding. For me, as a strategic thinker, this deep self-audit needs to be addressed very intentionally.

After much consideration, it’s clear that to achieve a quality life I need to review my current life and financial goals.

Looping in your advisor

It was interesting meeting with my financial advisor, bearing in mind he was not aware of my metamorphosis life stage moment until our meeting. For a short time, he seemed to think my financial EQ (emotional intelligence) was in doubt, but as the conversation progressed, we soon found ourselves on the same page.

Our conversation inspired him to look for more investment opportunities to begin the adjustment I needed in order to commit to leading a sustainable quality life which were focused on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the coming months, I will continue to unpack my journey into the importance of understanding how having a clear quality life purpose and plan can lead to significant “money confidence.” I hope you will join me on this journey that continues to be both introspective and collaborative.

Top 10 DNA Behavior Guides for 2020

Whether to help our financial advisors or our business coaches, consultants, and trainers, we at DNA Behavior have dedicated the year 2020 to provide an unlimited amount of resources and behavioral insights. Our weekly Guides, in particular, have known a tremendous success and today we are sharing with you our Top 10 DNA Behavior Guides for 2020.

#1 Goals-Based Planning Guide

Clients and advisors collaborating to build a goals-based, behaviorally focused plan is the new norm. But how to get there? Download our Goals-Based Planning Guide to understand how to map out deeper client conversations that unearth client financial goals and life plans.

#2 2020 Behavioral Finance Guide (RIA)

In today’s day and age, it is undeniable that Behavioral Finance is key to predicting investors’ patterns and help them invest smarter. While most financial advisors are interested in using Behavioral Finance tools, they have not yet found the right resources to provide them with the capabilities they are seeking. Until today! Download our 2020 Behavioral Finance Guide for RIAs and learn how to leverage our expertise and gain a substantial competitive advantage.

#3 The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Extroverts

Extroverts feel empowered by being around other people. They prefer working in groups where the conversation flows and is stimulating. It’s important for extroverts to understand how and in what circumstances to dial down their behavior. Download The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Extroverts and see how leaders, coaches and mentors can help clients & team members thrive while leveraging their strengths.

#4 Unlocking Sales Team Behavior

When was the last time you reviewed your organization’s sales approach strategy? If you are unable to answer this question, this guide is for you! People’s approach to buying is changing. Today, your clients are much more informed and they expect to have a conversation with a knowledgeable person who can either confirm their need for your product or persuade them of it. Download our guide, and learn how to leverage your salespeople’s communication styles and level up your sales approach.

#5 The Guide for Managing Back-Seat-Driver Clients

Is your client overriding most of your conversation time? Constantly interrupting you as you deliver your advice? Always needing to have the “last word”? Well, you are faced with what we call a back-seat-driver client. Though the challenge of managing such clients is quite common amongst financial advisors, the smart thing to do here is to invest in understanding your clients’ behaviors to better communicate with them. To learn more, download our guide.

#6 Loving Our Differences

In business & your personal life, building relationships with people whose innate behavior is different than yours is crucial to achieving success. Just in time for Valentine’s Day – but valuable any time of year – download the Loving Our Differences Guide to build lasting business and personal relationships.

#7 How to Coach Team Members to Achieve Great Success

Knowing how to use the talents and behaviors of individuals to uniquely grow each person and consequently the team requires an investment, not just in leadership time. An investment also must be made in a scientifically validated talent discovery process. Download How to Coach Team Members to Achieve Great Success and see how leaders, coaches & mentors can ensure individuals, teams and organizations thrive by leveraging their strengths.

#8 Developing Rising Leaders, An E-book Guide

“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” -John Maxwell. Download our guide, and learn how to develop rising leaders in your organization.

#9 The Money Is Moving. Are You Prepared

When it comes to wealth transfer, there is no doubt that financial advisors who have had an in-depth relationship with the entire family will be best placed to retain the family business, when the money moves. The question is, are you prepared? Download our guide to learn more.

#10 How to Balance Quality of Life and Financial Goals

A quality life can be defined as “Successfully integrating finances into a balanced life, and in so doing having the courage to live your unique design, in harmony and without regret.” All financial advisors need to abide by this rule to ensure a healthy life balance for their clients. Download our guide to learn more.

financial personality

What is Your Crisis Personality? Do You Know?

I was asked this question recently. Fortunately, as a behaviorally smart leader, I am in the business of knowing my inherent personality and was able to respond that as an initiator I like to take bold, aggressive actions and create the rules.

I prefer to lead decision-making, setting the agenda to get things done. I don’t want to get caught up in minutia and will make fast well thought through decisions. Give me a challenge and I will deliver an outcome.

Not a lot phases me. I’m level-headed in a crisis but being given the “run around” or having my time wasted on irrelevant issues irritates me as would investments that do not live up to the advisors claims.

As leader, and in the face of these unprecedented times, it’s right that those I lead, and our customers, should know how I stand up in a crisis.

There are tough decisions to be made not just in our business but in our customers businesses. My advice to leaders is this – get to know your crisis personality. Without this insight you will not be able to manage your responses. After that, use the same validated scientifically based behavioral tool to reveal the personality of your team leaders and key decision-makers.

One of the significant areas we are involved in is working with financial advisors as they connect with their clients. Not only has the financial industry faced remote working, no face to face contact, but it’s important to remember that those giving advice are themselves deep into the chaos of what is happening right now. They are facing overwhelming workloads while dealing with the same stress of isolation possible financial ruin as their clients.

Yet those advisors who have a strong platform of behavioral insight are faring well. They know themselves; they can manage their own emotions and behaviors at a time like this and pass this insight onto their clients.
For the most part financial advisors have taken a leaf out of our book and moved swiftly to virtual working with the use of conferencing software to stay connected with clients. For many, the relationship is going well and for many more, it’s unlikely their clients will want or need to go back to face to face meetings.

financial personality

One of the most effective tools we find our customers praising is being able to have the financial personality of their clients in real time on any device. Just before jumping on a zoom or phone call they can refresh their memory on the financial or behavioral personality of the individual they are about to speak to and advise them based on that personality insight.

financial personality

We have found that those most people likely to emerge from this season successfully can cope well with rapid change. They remain calm and thoughtful yet still able to make well thought through decisions quickly.

As an industry leader, you need to know and understand your crisis personality. Once revealed it can be managed. Why not check this out now – free on me, no agenda, you will be glad you did.

If you want to talk to someone about the outcomes use the link below.

Financial DNA Profile
Appointment Link
Hugh Massie’s Book