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So You Think You Are A Good Communicator

So You Think You Are A Good Communicator?

How many people who call themselves “good communicators” use the below logic to justify their claims:

  • “I know how to read people”
  • “I know people like them, they all work the same”
  • “I’m good at reading body language”
  • “I know this stuff so well I can teach it to anyone”

Would you describe yourself as a good communicator? Research shows that you will naturally connect with only 30% of the clients you meet. That leaves the overwhelming majority of people in the category of needing to adjust your behavior to meet their needs. But, how do you do that?

  • Does your client need concrete examples (Information) or just the big picture (Goal-Setting)
  • Will they want to know what other people are doing (Lifestyle) or do they want research to support a decision (Information)
  • Do they need help and support to get comfortable so that it feels like the right decision (Stability Style) or do they just need the rational bullet points (Goal-Setting)

While it is entirely possible for some people to really connect and engage with anyone they meet, they are the definition of “few and far between.” This brings up the question of “Why?” Through the use of behavioral science, you can better understand the natural tendencies of your clients, which will allow you to be a proactive manager of your clients’ needs. The use of a behavioral tool has also been proven to show a return of 150 bps to your AUM (Source:The Advisors Alpha: Putting a Value on Your Value, Vanguard 2015). So, adding a tool to your resources gives you a new differentiator between you and your competitors.

If there is a proven method available to ensure you can connect with absolutely every type of person, why wouldn’t you use it? Behavioral Science can help you accomplish your goals by giving you easy tips on how to engage different styles by making small adjustments to tailor your communication with your clients and prospects. Having this tool can turn you into someone with the ability to communicate with anyone, regardless of whether it comes to you naturally, or not.

What’s your communication style?

Why try Financial DNA

WTF DNA (Why Try Financial DNA)

So, you’ve decided that using a behavioral finance tool can help your practice. You have taken the trial, learned from the training how DNA Behavior’s tools work, and how to understand your different types of clients. Now comes the most important part: how do you implement these new tools into your office’s routine? Good financial advisor offices are like singers: they can all sing “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” but not all audiences will like the way certain singers add their twist on the song. Most good singers are able to read their audience and know when to change their tune. As a financial advisor, do you know how to read your audience and change your approach? That’s what we’re here to help you with.

Many of the questions we get revolve around wherein the client acquisition cycle the discovery process should be implemented. Several current clients of ours will not schedule a meeting with a new client until they have completed a Communication DNA Discovery. This happens for several reasons:

 

  • So they know best how to open the conversation with the new client
  • How you present to a Goal-Setter (get to the bottom line) is very different from how you would speak with a Stability person (Soften your tone)
  • Having this one key piece of information can be the difference in winning, or losing this client and offers an immediate differentiation from competitors

Let’s say, Charles, an advisor, just met with the new client and understands their preferred method of communication. What comes next? Before any talk of investments or portfolios comes into play, Charles must understand their natural tendencies. This is where his new client should complete the Financial DNA Natural Discovery process which really gets under the surface so he can truly understand what their goals are. But, Charles needs to understand a couple of key points before putting this in place. The first key is that he needs to commit to it. He must have a complete buy-in that is obvious to his clients. When they see how important it is, their buy-in will be that much easier and will simplify the rest of the process. The second key is that it needs to be early in the process. Charles needs to figure out if he can work with this prospective client so he’s not wasting his time with someone he won’t be able to please. Otherwise, if Charles doesn’t let them know how important this can be they will have a hard time completing it if he does not convince them that these tools are essential to the success of their relationship.

It is important to remember that the power of DNA Behavior’s tools is in the questions we give you to get the conversation going in the right direction. You will be able to naturally connect with 40% of the prospective clients that walk through your door. Will you be able to change your song to connect with the other 60%? The answer is now a simple YES.

Try Financial DNA for yourself today.

 

behavioral fnance

So You Think You Know Me? Here’s What You Missed

Do you think your sales team is connecting (i.e., maximizing revenue) with all the advisors in their territory? They might tell you they are but read on.

I’m very intuitive, said the wholesaler of a major asset management firm. Excellent, we should get along very well, I replied.

I was talking with a wholesaler who wanted to learn more about one of our behavioral solutions, Communication DNA.

The wholesaler’s goal was straightforward: Show me a solution that decreases the amount of time it takes me to get to know an advisor so trust can be built immediately.

The wholesaler was skeptical about what I was saying so we decided to do a test. We had been talking for 30-minutes (about the same amount of time you talk with an advisor) when the wholesaler suggested to me that he could already tell exactly what “type” of personality I was.

Game on, I said.

OK, here’s what I’ve gathered so far about you in the first 30-minutes:

  • Fun
  • Fast-paced
  • Very sociable and enjoys people
  • Likes to take the lead

So what did I miss? asked the wholesaler.

Just a few pieces of critical information that most sales people miss about me (and why they lose the sale):

  • I can be very fun but turn into a “driven, goal-oriented” individual, especially under stress. Do you think an advisor’s job contains any elements of stress? As a wholesaler, you could keep going down the fun path when I have taken a sharp right turn. If you are not with me, I may smile and act like I am listening, but I have totally disengaged.
  • Getting me to make a decision: Tell me stories about how you have helped others like me. Don’t try any other “closing technique.”
  • Trusting you? I am loyal beyond belief. But you need to prove yourself from both a competency level and people skills in equal amounts.
  • The amount of detail: Don’t confuse me with the facts. High- level first or I will not even listen or worse yet, cut you off. I will let you know how much and when I need details so follow my lead.

Now the wholesaler was ready to listen: How could I possibly get all this behavioral intelligence before an advisor even decides to do business with me?

You don’t have much time to create a good impression and to get an advisor to trust you. Find out how to become a behaviorally smart wholesaler. Your business success depends on it.

Robo Platforms Are Missing Personality

Robo-Advisor Platforms Are Missing Personality

In the last couple of years, Robo-advisor investment platforms have taken an important position in serving the middle and lower markets for financial planning. They are here to stay and should be encouraged. The question is does the Robo model for investments in its current format completely work? Like many new innovations, the problems are somewhat hidden when the markets are hidden. Where the Robo platform is completely stand-alone and totally independent of direct advisor input then the risks increase.

Then, also let’s consider what do investors want? Gallup research shows only 9% of investors want a completely automated service, and this is mainly the younger investor. Therefore, 91% of investors want some human input in their financial planning. Refer to the following research:
http://financialadvisoriq.com/c/1148733/123753/investors_want_both_humans_robo_advisors?referrer_module=emailMorningNews

The issue I see emerging for Robo platforms is that when there is a sharp and/or sustained correction downwards then there could be a mass exodus with a bloodbath of losses. After all, behavioral finance research shows us, people will, in varying degrees, make emotional decisions at the wrong time and follow the herd out of the market. Yes, the Robo platform may have many clients, but they will not be able to communicate with them when negative events happen. Similarly, there is no incentive for the Robo platform to communicate with investors as the market keeps going up and many get out of their comfort zone. In fact, the Robo is incentivized to keep having these people sign-up.

Overall, the structural problem for Robo platforms, as they currently stand, is that they do not know enough of the in-depth financial personality of the investor. The investor is served in a “one-size fits all” way based on a set of algorithms which have no relationship to who they are. The downsides are the Robo Platform does not know:

  1. How to communicate with each investor on their unique terms. Put another way, they do not know how to re-frame information so that it is understandable to the investor.
  2. The behavioral biases of each investor which will drive their decision-making (for instance to name a few, loss aversion, following the herd, taking a consolidated view, over trading).
  3. The correct risk profile which will influence portfolio allocation. Some of the Robo’s have a few questions that relate to risk and others make potentially false assumptions based on demographic data. Not all Millennial’s and Gen Y’s with a high income are risk-takers.

The Robo platform would be greatly strengthened if it had a validated financial personality discovery process incorporated into it. The ROI would be significant in the following areas:

  1. The ability to customize communications from the first point of engagement in the sign-up process. This would not help the initial sign-up process but also ongoing marketing.
  2. Enhance the capability to manage investor emotions in volatile markets.
  3. Provide a more robust framework for making suitable recommendations to meet compliance requirements and also monitor them.

Ultimately, a Robo investment platform will not be sustainable on a long-term basis if there are no mechanisms to “Know, Engage, and Grow” the investor clients. This means that there must be robust online solutions to discover the client’s financial personality and a place for human interaction. These elements can be incorporated on a cost-effective basis and to achieve scalability which is needed to bring financial planning to the masses in a safer way.

personality communicate different personas

Using Personality to Communicate with Different Persona’s

Is your business gathering data to build a persona model of its ideal clients based on demographic data? There is an increasing trend towards businesses creating persona model client categories based on insights into the known income and spending patterns of people along with their job positions, ages, education, home suburb and other public information. These firms often say that they are adopting a behavioral approach to their sales and marketing activities. Although, in reality, they are only capturing surface behavioral information.

Building a persona model of the client is still a very rational “left-brain” approach to sales and marketing. What is missing is knowing what the client really needs and how they wish to be related to at an emotional level. We advocate that businesses should incorporate a “right brain” approach to know how to communicate with clients?based on their personality style. Let us address this key point to show you the future of marketing and sales in the New Behavioral Economy.

Knowing the persona of the client may at best tell you “what” they want. The persona models assume that everyone in each category is the same based on their demographics. For instance, retail companies gather this data to know what type of clothes or vacations certain people (ie persona’s) want. Certainly, this approach has merits for a basic and perhaps even necessary level of client segmentation. There is no point selling a product or service to a person who is not even capable of paying for it. For instance, retail companies gather this data to know what type of clothes or vacations certain people (ie persona’s) want. An insurance or bank may gather this information to offer certain types of insurance or investment products to their prospects and clients. However, is this persona model approach achieving the optimal result of providing each client with customized life-long experiences?

Gallup Organization research in 2009 shows that those firms who are able to emotionally engage their clients will increase revenues by 23% a year over those who do not. A personal model approach will help client segmentation but will not boost emotional engagement. Emotional engagement can only be boosted by the business adopting strategies which help the employees demonstrate that they understand the core of who their clients are. This is why we recommend a personality based approach which involves the client completing a short online questionnaire that has been independently validated. Such an approach will help the firm and its employees serve each client on their unique terms. Further, if the right technology platforms are used the data will be scalable across the whole business on a continuous basis.

Therefore, we recommend:

The New Behavioral Economy Formula of: Persona Model (What to sell) + Personality (How to relate and sell).

Introducing personality discovery to the sales process in a scalable way will have a significant impact on sales. Even if your firm only increased its sales by 1% in year 1, the bottom line return will be huge. But, there is no reason why you cannot increase sales by 10% or more a year.

A personality based approach to marketing and sales assumes that each client is wired differently. Meaning that regardless of their assets, income, living conditions, education or age they will have a pre-disposition to make certain types of choices, have certain purchasing biases, and communication needs. Put another way, 2 people within the same persona model will have different emotional triggers and communication styles based on how they are wired. They will want to be related to differently. Typically, there are 4 broad quadrants where 92% of people have a dominant personality style. Although, given each person is unique they will have secondary factors, and more specific sub-factors.

Lets take a simple example of an insurance life protection policy offered to 2 people in the same persona model. Some people will need to know how the policy being offered achieves their goals, others their lifestyle, others security for their family and others the details of how it impacts their retirement plan. At a broad level, the policy has the same objective however how each person needs to hear the offering to buy it is different.

The same example can be used in gaining insight into how an insurance firm will distribute a new insurance protection policy to its field force. The advisors and agents in the field who meet a minimum sales quota are not the same personality. So, to be successful in sales they need a customized approach for being related to by the home office (or their general agent) and being educated about the product. Then, a customized approach needs to be developed for how each advisor or agent builds relationships and sells the product to their different clients.

In summary, building a persona model of your firm’s prospects and clients is a positive first step in segmentation. However, given it is rational in nature, such an approach will not build sustainable client engagement. That can only come from understanding the personality of all your employees and clients.

missing piece client engagement

The Missing Piece of Client Engagement

No one said it would be easy.? Our inboxes and phones are overloaded with emails, texts and voicemails. Our to do lists have grown exponentially.

So how do you create a compelling message to capture advisors attention in less than 30 seconds?

Todays advisor wants you to:

  • Know their business: what their challenges are and how to solve them
  • Communicate on their terms: understand them at a deeper level to engage them

But heres your challenge.? You can know their business but if you dont communicate your message in the advisors style, your message is lost. Translation: NO SALE.

Lets look at an example.

Paul Roth is a top advisor and you have the perfect annuity for him to add to his clients portfolio.? His communication style is Lifestyle which means he likes the big picture, enjoys being around people, talkative and always upbeat.

Your marketing department just emailed him The Top 10 Best Annuities (of course, your annuity is #1). Paul opens the email and all he sees are your logo and lots of words.? He immediately deletes it. Why? He prefers bullet points and pictures.? All of your cleverly crafted words and details of your #1 ranked annuity did not even register with him!

Your internal sales desk is part of this campaign so shortly after the email is delivered, they begin making the calls to get advisors educated and excited about this product.? Paul is in Rons territory, so he jumps on the phone to Paul.? He takes the call because he knows Ron and your firm.? Rons communication style is Information so she starts the conversation by giving Paul all the pertinent facts and is proud of it because he knows the advisors business!

What he doesnt know is that Paul stopped listening within a minute.? Why?? Because Paul wants someone to set the big picture context first and then talk about how other advisors are using it. ?Details of the product offering are secondary to Paul so hewilleither ask the questions later or look it up online.? But Paul is polite, thanks Ron for calling and ends the call. Ron feels positive about the call and he continues on with the rest of his calls with the same script.

Now lets move to the other integral part of this campaign: the external wholesaler.? Luckily, Jennifers communication style is Lifestyle so she presents the annuity to Paul in exactly the way that appeals to Paul. He now understands the annuity, how it differs from the competitors and how to position it in the clients portfolio. SALE IS MADE!

But what if Jennifer wasnt the same communication style?? The three-pronged marketing campaign to promote your #1 ranked annuity would fail on more than half of the advisors. Not because you dont have a good product but simply because you havent customized your message.

Still thinking the soft side of big data doesnt produce revenue?

Maybe now is the time to take a look at a behavioral marketing system that can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.