Managing Advisor Turnover using Matching Relationships

Does your firm face the standard insurance industry problem that only 10 to 15% of the advisors and agents who start in the business are still with them after 5 years? Then, of those who stay after 5 years, how many are strongly committed to your firm? Or, are they producing at the desired rate?

Meeting this challenge starts with improving how the home office uniquely manages each advisor in the field. Then, it is about helping the field force be more successful in engaging their clients (policy holders).

In recent times, we have been helping some of the worlds leading insurance firms significantly boost the levels of field force engagement, thereby leading to more profitable business relationships. Our approach has been to help these insurance firms embrace behavioral marketing and talent segmentation strategies based on validated behavioral science insights. These strategies start by discovering the unique communication and learning style of each person in their field force enabling the firm can more deeply connect with them and provide greater sales assistance.

Being specific, by segmenting each person into one of 4 primary communication styles we have helped these leading insurance firms to:

1. ?Create customized marketing plans which re-frame the key messages for each advisor in the field force

2. ?Provide tailored sales programs and presentations for each advisor based on their style so that they can then adapt to the style of each prospect and customer

3. ?Match the talents and communication style of each advisor to their ideal clients to improve the chances of deeper levels of connection with less energy

4. ?Align advisors to the types of insurance product solutions that they would optimally sell based on their specific behavioral talents

5. ?Help advisors to form teams with other advisors who have different talents so that they can capitalize on more opportunities as a collective unit

6. ?Build online communities for advisors and clients to meet, and be continuously educated

7. ?Develop hiring and retention metrics to ensure that the best talent is retained and resourced for success

If you would like to schedule a conversation with one of our Relationship Management Integrators to explore how our suite of DNA Behavior Solutions generates significant ROI benefits, then please email us at .


How to Engage Different Personalities for Business Success

The winds of change are moving fast through the modern economy. Business performance improvement is no longer just about left brain rational processes, new products, technology and information. Rather, it is about integrating a more right brained engaging approach by navigating the human differences of diverse employees and clients (or customers). Further, in order to improve revenues and productivity, businesses need to customize employee and client experiences.

In the new behavioral economy, deeper relationships with employees and clients are being built based on higher levels of emotional engagement. By engaging employees, the organization can build confidence for open communication with others on the individuals terms. The key to maintaining engagement, however, is fostering a culture of two-way communication.

Independent research indicates an increase of up to 240% in bottom line performance achieved by emotionally engaging BOTH your employees and clients. Many businesses focus on the customer or client experience and engagement which ultimately affects the bottom line.? Whats more interesting to note is that engaging employees also affects the bottom line and cuts down on counterproductive behaviors like passive aggressiveness, lethargic pace, or gossip. An engaged person is more involved, produces ideas, and is willing to own their role as part of the bigger company vision and structure.

Here are some pressing reasons to start engaging your employees and encouraging them to engage each other:

  • Keeping on budget
  • Meeting project scope and quality
  • Efficiency of work completed
  • More and better ideas for a better end result
  • Avoiding burnout or dropout
  • Happy employees
  • Unified goal
  • And ultimately, bottom line growth

Here are powerful ways to achieve engagement for any reason:

  • Tailor workflows based on natural talents ? do you have a project team that envies each others role but not their own?
  • Keep an open pathway of multi-directional communication ? encourage relationships within team and across teams so that everyone feels part of the same unified company and will therefore champion the business goals and vision forward.
  • Encourage awareness ? it is fundamentally easier to practice the give and take of a great and engaging relationship when both the weaknesses and strengths of team members are known
  • Find business/team harmony ? regardless of number results, a long-term successful team and company will have a variety of personality types that will hold each other accountable while also respecting differences.

Are Clients Innately Loyal?

You work so hard to get new clients but how do you ensure that you keep them?

Recent research by PriceMetrix Inc. found that clients rarely leave their financial advisor in the first year.? However, between one and four years, the client retention rate falls to 74%.

It is especially important to boost your service efforts during this critical time-frame as well as to demonstrate to the client that you are a trustworthy and caring professional whose knowledge and expertise will guide them to successfully reach their goals.

But what causes a client to leave an advisor? Research conducted by Financial Advisor magazine found the #1 reason that clients leave advisors is failure to communicate on a timely basis.? The #2 reason was listed as failure to understand a clients goals and objectives. Those clients who are not emotionally engaged with you turn to someone else when life transitions take place.

client behavior, behavioral finance93.6% of the financial planning process is the behavioral management of the client.? So much of what you need to know about the clients behavior and values is hidden well beneath the surface and takes more than a year to uncover. Yet starting in year 2 is when your relationship is the most vulnerable.

Knowing these facts, the number one action you can take is to incorporate a behavioral discovery system in your new client on-boarding process. Then build the key behavioral insights into your technology systems (such as CRM) so that they are at your fingertips for every client interaction.

For example, lets take one simple aspect of your personality and see how that might be perceived by different client communication styles.

You are an outgoing advisor, high in energy and enthusiasm.? You like to share stories of other people experiences because you feel potential clients can relate to the other people you have helped.

Your energy and fast paced talking could exhaust a client who is more informational in nature.? It could sound edgy to someone who is more stability oriented.? And to a goal oriented individual you may seem to go on talking forever without ever reaching a point.

And that is just one aspect of your personality.? Are you still wondering why clients rate failure to communicate as the? #1 reason they leave an advisor?

Now imagine incorporating a behavioral approach in your practice.? Prior to your first meeting, a new client takes 15 minutes to complete a discovery process.? Your CRM now contains the specific behavioral data points so you know how to adapt your style to conduct the perfect meeting, how to continually service them, and how to create a unique experience for every person in your office who interacts with that client.

You can create the level of service and communication that actively engages your clients at the very start of your relationship. Dont risk losing your clients after the honeymoon stage.

Take action today and explore some ideas at

Peggy Mengel ? Vice President, Human Behavior Solutions Advisor at DNA Behavior

Specializing in financial services, Peggy uses behavioral intelligence to help businesses navigate human differences to unlock performance potential. 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.

Visit the Financial DNA website to learn more about becoming a behaviorally smart advisor.

The First Step to Become Behaviorally Smart

What is the first step in becoming behaviorally smart?

Self- Awareness.

Why is this so important?? Because it shapes three very critical components of the financial planning process.

1. Listening to clients

You need to be fully present with your clients at all times. This requires you to listen at many levels at once: the words, the tone of voice and body language, their emotions, and even their self-talk and beliefs about their situation.? And it involves using both your head and your gut. Further, you have to empathetically demonstrate to the client you have listened.

What most advisors dont factor into the listening equation is their own biases.? You have to discern whether what you are sensing is a bias you have or whether its something you can share with the client.

Becoming aware of your biases means you need to understand how you listen, what you listen for, what we include and what we exclude.

In reviewing the Financial DNA Natural Talent Report with one of my advisors, his score showed that he was low on listening.? At first he was very defensive as he prided himself on being an intent and purposeful listener.? As we continued to delve deeper, he admitted that he tended to tune out when he felt the conversation was not directly relevant to the goals of the discussion. The other point is that we tend to listen better on certain topics that are relevant to us ? for some it is risk taking and ventures, others it is lifestyle and family. A big bias to keep in mind when listening to clients!

2. Guiding clients

When you are highly attuned to your client, it is more likely that you will ask a powerful question or make a direct observation that prompts the client to think more deeply.? You will know youve asked a powerful question when the client responds, Thats a great question or maybe the client becomes quiet and reflective while they are having an aha moment.? There is real joy when you guide the client to the goals and solutions that are perfectly tailored to their own unique personalities.

What does your client really want to do in retirement? Are they just giving the same answers as everyone else or does this have passion for them?? If you are a very goal driven advisor, it may be difficult for you to set aside your bias as you talk with a client who doesnt live their life by goals and who seems to be all over the place. Some more feelings based clients do not even respond to the word goal because it is too rational. guiding clients behavioral finance

As an advisor, if you can ask one great question a year then you will build engagement that is sustained for a long time, if not, a life time.

3. Building client portfolios

As an advisor, you are likely to have different risk taking and risk tolerance levels than your client.? This lens can sometimes shade your view and how much you empathize with clients that are completely opposite from your approach.? Having an objective system that measures the financial, investment and financial personality risks can help keep you on track in conversations with clients and keep your bias in check.

Think about a couple who have divergent risk profiles and then overlay your own risk profile. Navigating the differences can make for a very difficult conversation if you dont take the time upfront to ascertain this information using a holistic process.

The behavioral side of the business is not soft anymore. It has some real hard-edged monetary consequences.? Especially when you consider that 93.6% of the financial planning process is the behavioral management of the clients.? Just be sure your behavioral bias is not standing in the way of building lasting, trusting relationships with your clients.

Peggy Mengel ? Vice President, Human Behavior Solutions Advisor at DNA Behavior

Specializing in financial services, Peggy uses behavioral intelligence to help businesses navigate human differences to unlock performance potential. 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.

Visit the Financial DNA website to learn more about becoming a behaviorally smart advisor.

Why Helping Your Clients Know Their Number is an Old School Approach

Have you ever had a client tell you their number? You know, the net worth number that will make them happy. Or that number they ask you to calculate so theyll know theyll be okay?

Focusing on this number is outdated, a mistake and I contend will actually hurt someones chances of reaching their long term goals. Heres why:

You are encouraging your client to focus on the wrong thing. When someone focuses on a future number they arent focusing on what they need to do to get there. Unless they are planning for a short term liquidity event, such as selling a business or winning the lottery, having a big number in their head doesnt do anything to move them toward the goal.

Helping Clients Know Their Number is an Old School ApproachClients may very well use this number to gauge their progress. One of the positive impacts of goals is that they give us a target to move towards. One of the negatives is that when we dont hit them we feel as if weve failed. When we put our attention on missing a goal, our energy is on the failing as opposed to the achieving of the goal.? For example, if your goal is to drive to Denver and you hit a detour and find yourself in Birmingham it doesnt get you to Denver any more quickly by feeling badly youre in Alabama. Instead, if you get a map or use your GPS to guide you to your preferred destination youll have a much easier time actually getting there.

In his Psychology Today blog Ray Williams surveys various research articles looking at how goal setting doesnt work. He quotes L.A. King and C.M. Burton in an article entitled, The Hazards of Goal Pursuit, for the American Psychological Association. They argue that goals should be used only in the narrowest of circumstances: “The optimally striving individual ought to endeavor to achieve and approach goals that only slightly implicate the self; that are only moderately important, fairly easy, and moderately abstract; that do not conflict with each other, and that concern the accomplishment of something other than financial gain.”

Williams continues:? There is an addiction in our culture to getting more, the going for the goals hype is disconnected from peoples’ authentic selves, and their values.there are psychological manifestations of not achieving goals that may be more damaging that not having any goals at all. The process sets up desires that are removed from everyday reality. Whenever we desire things that we don’t have, we set our brain’s nervous system to produce negative emotions. Second, highly aspirational goals require us to develop new competencies, some of which may be beyond current capabilities. As we develop these competencies, we are likely to experience failures, which then become de-motivational. Thirdly, goal setting sets up an either-or polarity of success. The only true measure can either be 100% attainment or perfection, or 99% and less, which is failure. We can then excessively focus on the missing or incomplete part of our efforts, ignoring the successful parts. Fourthly, goal setting doesn’t take into account random forces of chance. You can’t control all the environmental variables to guarantee 100% success.

If youre not buying the danger of goal setting argument, then consider that making the number the goal is the wrong goal. People think that having a money goal will motivate them to achieve it. Actually, they are focusing on the wrong incentive. People may think they are motivated by money or advisors may think clients are, but really people are motivated by what they money will do for them. The money might help them leave a job they hate, pursue a hobby they enjoy, give to causes they believe in, etc.

Build better relationships with clients and do a better job supporting them in getting to where they want to go.The number is a meaningless moving target. I had a client who told me at our first meeting that his number was $5,000,000. When he got to $5 million he said, Oh, I guess that number doesnt really make me feel like Im there. I think its really $10 million that would have me feeling okay. Guess what, $100 million might not make him feel okay. The feeling of security or knowing that well be okay isnt typically related to the number, but rather our beliefs about what okay is.

As advisors, many of us create financial plans for our clients, run projections, make assumptions etc. We help our clients create a road map for their financial futures. Anyone who has been in business over the past ten years knows that our projections are just that, projections. The world often changes in ways we cant anticipate. What we are really doing for our clients by creating a financial plan is to provide them with a plan that satisfies their logical minds and really serves to ease their concerns about the future. When we can calm our clients worries we help them to make much better decisions with their money.

There are real benefits from the financial planning process. As advisors we need to expand our views about all the benefits a plan provides. When we move past the left brain logical benefits and expand our focus to the more right brain behavioral benefits well build better relationships with our clients and do a better job supporting them in getting to where they want to go.

As a 21st century advisor make sure you understand your clients well enough to know:

  • What they want their retirement to look and feel like.
  • The most important people in your clients lives and how they want to be involved with them in the future.
  • The causes important to your clients and what impact, if any, they would like to have on these causes.
  • How strong their internal barometer is for making adjustments in their financial lives based upon whats happening in the world.
  • What they really need from you to make solid financial decisions.

Helping clients to tap into their motivation behind their number will allow us to be much more effective in helping them get to where they want to go. People are motivated by avoiding pain and moving toward their passions. To succeed as an advisor in the coming years it will be crucial to expand the conversation from just the numbers to instead, focusing on intentions and passions. This is what it will take to truly move people closer to their desired outcomes.

Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP
is the co-author of Great with Money: 6 Steps to Lifetime Success and Prosperity. She speaks and consults to the financial services industry on business building strategies and working successfully in the women’s market. To learn more and to sign up for Prosperity Tips visit

Are You Skating on Thin Ice?

I skate to where the hockey puck is going to be, not to where it has been. – Wayne Gretzky

You dont have to be a hockey fan to realize the brilliance of this quote and how this strategy enabled Wayne Gretzky to be recognized as the undisputed all-time greatest hockey player.

Where is the puck going in the financial services world?

Here are three trends worth considering:

1. Behavioral Finance: Translating Theory Into Practice

Independent research shows that 93.6% of the financial planning process is the behavioral management of clients. Yet our research shows 53% of advisors invest 1 to 2 hours of time in the discovery process, and 50% of advisors spend under 6 hours in the complete financial planning process.In addition, behavioral finance has been given a significantly increased level of importance with the UK regulator publicly expressing its views. As other regulatory authorities strengthen their suitability compliance requirements, will they go down a similar path? And what does this mean for advisory firms?

Perhaps it is time for firms to start preparing now for a regulatory environment that is requiring greater recognition of a clients behavioral biases in making suitable recommendations.

Do you have a system in place to holistically determine the complete financial personality style of the client? Or, are you still relying primarily on your intuition?

2. Target Marketing: Moving Beyond Demographics to Behavior

For decades, financial service marketers have used demographic segmentation for product development, product positioning, marketing communication and results measurement. Traditionally, this segmentation has been done based on characteristics such as age, income, gender, family life stage, occupation, education, race, etc.Terms such as Baby Boomers, Gen-X, and Millennials were created with generalizations on how to market to these groups. In addition, when we overlay men versus women, the marketing mayhem begins!

Despite continuing popularity, the research (Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Suboptimal Segmentation: Assessing The Use of Demographics In Financial Services Advertising) found that while demographics can explain broad behaviors, they play a weak role in explaining brand preference, product purchasing, innovation adoption, channel use and technology uptake.

Behavioral marketing is gaining followers within the marketing community while the dimensions of how to segment based on behavior differs by firm. While some organizations will segment based on internal purchase (I have business checking so maybe I need a business credit card), payments, and/or use dynamics (how many times I use an ATM), others are expanding the realm of behavior captured to include personality and social behavior.

Forward thinking firms now want behavioral data that empowers sales and service people at the point of sale.? For example, how do you present new ideas, how will a prospect absorb technical concepts, and what is the prospects preferred style of interaction are all data points that would assist to uniquely engage a prospect.

With increased competition and ever-tightening margins, firms that are not able to successfully pinpoint potential customers, cross-sell indicators and income opportunities will be at a significant disadvantage to those more progressive organizations.

Are you still stuck in the demographic marketing world or do you have the tools that can capture the communication preferences and personalities of your prospects and clients?

Creating Unique Client Experiences: Going Beyond the Talk

How do you really define creating a unique customer experience?To answer that question, you need to go back to marketing basics and take the customers perspective. From the customers point of view an excellent customer experience is one that is simply effortless and easy. No customer wants to be required to go to any extra trouble, or to fix problems, or to repeat things already communicated. The best kind of experience a customer can have is one in which he can meet his need or solve his problem completely, without having to jump through hoops or overcome obstacles. Obstacles are friction. No one has time for obstacles.

But if you dont objectively uncover the financial personality of your clients, how will you know what is an obstacle for them?? Are some financially disorganized making your attempts for them to submit budgets a frustrating experience?? Or, maybe they want options and as soon as you recommend certain investments, the lines of communication begin to shut down.

Do you have a tool that can tell you how to present products and solutions according to the communication preferences of your clients?

As you think about these trends and the actions you are taking now, are you skating to where the puck is going or are you skating on thin ice?

Now its your turn.? What are your thoughts on these trends in the financial services industry?

To learn more about gathering objective behavioral data on your prospects and clients, visit or

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