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Poor Communication Causes Advisors to Repeatedly Lose Clients

The phenomenon of endless blogs and studies addressing this topic serves only to complicate what is in fact a simple issue. It’s not just the financial services industry that loses clients through poor communication – it can happen across all service providers.

So, are clients petulant and easily seduced away to another provider? Well maybe, but the financial services industry is different in that it deals with money, which is an area of life that is somewhat sacrosanct ? almost as sensitive as the relationship with a doctor. There will always be some clients who are chasing a better return. Those clients are hard to retain at any time. However, given money is such an emotive issue a much greater retention effort should be made with the majority of clients who want to build a trusted long-term relationship.

I listen to many people involved in the financial services industry and they seem to have a technical and results based language all of their own. There seems to be little or no emotionally engaging conversation which is customized to each client. One almost feels like calling out ‘talk to me’ as a human being who has goals, desires and family issues.

poor comm

Talking to clients about their finances should be seen as a privilege. Every conversation should require the advisor to stop and consider their role in their client’s world. These conversations cannot be ‘one style fits all.’ Conversations need to be based on getting the mix right between investment, financial and personal topics. Knowing how to speak to your different clients and understanding them on a real and tangible level will deliver long-term sustained relationships.

The blind spot for most financial advisors is that they do not really know the communication needs of their different clients to be able to properly engage with them on their unique terms. Further, they do not sufficiently know the financial personality of their clients and how that will be motivating them and driving their biases. This needs to be addressed in decision-making conversations.

The following independent research statistics speak for themselves. Knowing how to communicate and engage with clients is the road to retention.

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http://www.emmerichfinancial.com/artman2/publish/peak-performance/Misunderstood_Clients_Leave_Their_Financial_Advisors_Behind.shtml

Lack of communication is one of the top reasons investor clients fire their advisors. Clients do not necessarily need to know if they are up 3% on the market, but they do want to know if they are on track to meet their financial goals. George Tamer, director of institutional sales at TD Ameritrade Institutional

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http://www.trilincglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/pwc-global-private-banking-wealth-management-survey-2013.pdf

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http://www.amtd.com/files/doc_downloads/research/Gen-Y-Millionaires-in-the-Making-2015.pdf

Every client and advisor will have a unique communication style based on their natural behavioral DNA. To be able to develop more effective relationships with clients, advisors need to know how to understand their own and their client’s communication style.

Comm Style3

Communication is not just about whether the client wants an email, phone call or meeting, it is also about how each communication interaction is framed. This comes down to setting, tone, use of words (such as goals versus family stability or spending versus savings), empathy, graphics and detail.

To put it simply, every client will approach the first meeting wearing a mask (metaphorically speaking). Advisors who up-front have the behavioral insight to understand how to communicate with the client on their terms will be able to discover what’s behind the mask. Therefore, they will be able to more quickly take the first step to building trust with the client.

Discovering each client’s unique connection to their money at a deeper level will deliver insight that helps you to provide life-time recommendations. Through understanding a client’s communication style you will be better placed to help the client more confidently make key decisions when they are under pressure in market volatility or facing life transition events. Imagine, if you had the framework available at your fingertips to know exactly what to say to each of your clients in review meetings and phone calls if the market went downwards 8% during a quarter?

You will understand hot spots that might surface if your communication style is markedly different to theirs and know how to navigate them safely. You will be better able to separate your own emotions and bias from the client’s actions and decisions.

Finally, understanding communication will enable you as the advisor to have open and meaningful conversations that not only place the client at ease around the sensitive topic of money but will also help you to more confidently and wisely advise your clients to make better decisions at all times.

 

 

 

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How-to-Close-the-40_60-Perc

How to Close the 40/60% Relationship Gap in Engagement and Sales

Social media, in all its forms, is an important tool for businesses. When used appropriately, it enables interaction and engagement between service providers and their customers. An undeniable example for the power of social media in todays world is all the concepts, products, applications, services, etc. that have grown exponentially in reach through Facebook interactions and presence. The important thing to note is that these arent even business services that affect peoples bottom lines or their wallets. The common component in catching on to the social media fire is the connection sharers feel to the message portrayed. Regardless of what has been long in practice, no one wants to be sold to and everyone can now see the signs to look out for, avoid, and ultimately, dismiss. To close the relationship gap in engagement and sales, organizations have to focus on the engagement and the sales will follow. Furthermore, those organizations that have included both a communication and behavioral ingredient to their social media marketing are likely to be ahead of the marketing game.

Research shows that only 15% of online users completely read all their emails (Juniper Communications Research). How can an organization find and engage those 15% and perhaps more importantly, how will the organization be able to engage the other 85%. Although its not surprising that most of todays world is too fast-paced for lengthy communications through social media or any other medium, individuals still have natural preferences and information needs. Once an organization has tapped into what these needs are, the possible engagements are countless. For example, individuals that make decisions based on facts and thorough research will not be swept away to buying in to an abstract idea or proposal. To truly engage those with such a preference, honesty in specific facts, details, and data is the key to crafting a trust-building engagement.

Understanding how to engage customers so that they buy, stay, and refer, is probably one of the most important marketing behaviors to tap into. The importance of true customer engagements also reflects in the role organizations place their customers in when focusing on engagements leading to sales rather than sales leading to engagements. When customers are engaged, they play the role of supporters of your organization rather than just customers and this in turn leads to long-term loyalty, perhaps even regardless of service or price. But, how does an organization maximize their customer engagement through marketing platforms such as websites, taglines, and all marketing messaging? If the business is unaware of what kind of prospects are out there and interested, it is difficult to decide whether to add more graphics, more modern touches, more words, more stories, or more of a social media presence. By doing one of these, the organizations marketing might alienate a large group of others as in todays fast-paced world, all business have to compete to catch consumers limited attention span. The best way to engage various types of communication preferences is to follow a matrix type of message deployment on your websites or other communications. Since more goal-focused people tend to want things short and to the point, the most important information should go in the top left of your website or publication with graphics to the side and more detailed, elaborate information below. The idea is to take advantage of the patience that people preferring certain types of communication have and allowing them to scroll or move down further to get their information.

Initial questions to be addressed are:
1.Are you on the same page as your customers when having conversations? Research shows that sales and service teams will naturally engage only 40% of customers.
2.What are you doing to close the “Relationship Gap” with the other 60%?
3.How are you utilizing communication channels to gather information on the preferences of prospect pool?

A major advantage to interacting in the vast online market would be to have an objective and simple system to quickly understand how individuals like to hear and/or see information. Therefore, a useful starting point to engaging customers is having your employees, prospects, and customers complete the Communication DNA (CDNA) Discovery Process.

The CDNA Discovery Process uncovers natural preferences for how an individual wishes to be communicated with by others. This is powerful information for executives, marketingand sales teams,as well as others, to know in building personal and business relationships based on greater trust and knowing what is important to the customer.. The results of CDNA also offer an accurate report to integrate into the organizations marketing strategy.

The CDNA Discovery Process helps businesses and organizations increase engagement of their diverse customer base at all levels using technology platforms that are seamlessly integrated to all relevant processes across the business.

cdnadiscoveryprocess

It provides a hub of human behavior solutions powered by Communication DNA Discovery which are implemented by businesses using the DNA Relationship System for increasing customer and employee engagement across the business on an enterprise level. CDNA also simplifies the marketing process by categorizing prospects into four main communication style: lifestyle, goal-setter, stability, and information. If you find most of your prospects are information style and your organizations messages have not been providing enough key facts and details, then this could answer the discrepancy in interest attained from your marketing. Conversely, if you are providing a lot of details and maintaining a logical, scientific approach to creating interested customers but your customers are more big picture thinkers, you efforts are ill-placed.

Once you have the customers behavioral, decision-making, and communication style information at your fingertips, you can start to use it in your inbound marketing strategy and send your sales teams strongly engaged, well informed, and highly qualified leads. Research by eConsultancy shows that personalized online experiences produce a 19% increase in sales. At DNA Behavior, weve seen similar increases with an average of 23% uplift in revenue. Continuing into the marketing arena,this communication system will provide significant insight into the message format required to segment communication into the behavioral and communication style of existing and potential customers.

Closing the 60% Relationship Gap in customer engagement and marketing messages becomes a real possibility with the use of CDNA and will add an instinctive differentiator to your current business model.

LET YOUR SALES TEAM GIVE YOU A 23per REVENUE LIFT

Let your Sales Team Give You a 23% Revenue Lift

Successful selling is about making and maintaining connections! Yes, but its also more than that.

Successful sellings greater success lies in building relationships that deliver repeat business, referrals, and bottom line lift.

There are key behaviors that, when identified, are found in the most successful sales environments and some of these behaviors may not be what you imagine. The hard sell does not sustain relationships with customers. Customers are now better informed and have a good idea about what they will and will not buy. Very often the last step in the buying process is when they connect with the salesperson, advisor, or agent.

So what makes some businesses more successful than others in customer engagement?

Its all about understanding and unlocking human capital performance which involves matching unique communication and behavioral styles to drive successful sales.

Organizations looking for a differentiation that will move their business ahead of the competition understand that the soft skills of building relationships and managing client behavior are more important than selling skills.? Identifying ways to know, engage, and grow a customer relationship is becoming an important conversation among business leaders.

In particular, the Insurance industry, as an example, is facing challenges which require looking at ways to overhaul the ways of operating in order to stay viable as a business. Those in the insurance industry are confronting industry regulatory issues, a customer base that rates insurance as a low priority, and they are also trying to understand how to leverage social media to create a personalized, relevant, and enjoyable experience for their audience.

Perhaps the answer lies in relationships and engagement, as some competitors are discovering as they step out into the world of customer centricity in terms of the way they conduct business.

CASE STUDY

Ernst & Young in their paper titled, The Journey Toward Greater Customer Centricity, make the following observations:

 

Many insurers are not keeping pace with changing market and consumer dynamics and are far behind other industries in meeting customer expectations. To succeed in this fast-changing environment and achieve sustainable top-line growth, insurers need to focus on redefining customer relationships, transforming business models to embrace data and digital and introducing an innovative culture in support of strategic decision-making.

Achieving customer centricity is less about implementing a grand vision than about building cadence today, next week, next month and next year. But the time has come when the journey is a strategic necessity, and all insurers need to be clear about where they stand and what steps lay ahead for them.

Customers are willing to build long-term relationships with their providers and purchase multiple products. However, insurers must improve the effectiveness of their communications, as well as recognize and reward the value of the relationships.

THE ISSUE

David, a highly skilled and qualified insurance provider, had a number of customers whose policies required review. He arranged meetings with them and on each occasion, failed to persuade the customer of the need to increase their insurance coverage. ?David had always seen himself as a relationship builder and had, in fact, sold the customers their initial policy some years before. However, they now seemed to be less approachable, no longer demonstrated trust in the relationship, and even seemed offended by Davids approach. Such reactions confused and concerned David as the offense taken was completely unintended, which was especially worrisome as the success of his business depended on customers such as these.

David and his business colleagues decided to review customer exit interviews of those customers who had cancelled their policies over the years. One clear, yet significant, thread began to emerge. While customers indicated satisfaction with the policy and coverage, they showed dissatisfaction towards the interactions they had had with sales staff and/or advisors.

Essentially, the communication and behavioral style of the advisors and frontline staff had changed since policies were first drafted/ put together.

David could see that changes in the overall economy had required a shift in approach with advisors becoming more pressured into delivering a bottom line result at all costs. The business had focused more on training advisers to Sell! Sell! Sell! and dropped any real commitment to a client-centered approach or virtually any reference to relationship building. This resulted in a team that lacked skills in behavioral insight, relationship building, and customer engagement on any level other than completing a successful deal.

THE SOLUTION

In a sales/advisor/customer relationship scenario, its unlikely that behavioral and communications styles will be similar. But its accurate to say that customers tend to feel comfortable with and buy from sales people that display behavioral styles similar to their own.

Simply training advisors on how to understand, adjust, or moderate their own behavior is not enough and might be seen as patronizing and condescending as customers are much savvier about the kinds of relationship they intend to have when purchasing any kind of service.

David decided to introduce communication and behavioral training and awareness to all the staff. In addition, he requested customers to complete their own communication and behavioral style profile. Initially advisors were hesitant to ask their customers to complete the discovery process but very quickly and confidently, they were able to demonstrate to customers the value in participating

Using the information for client experience management, David was able to match advisors to customers and ensure every customer touch point was appropriately covered by staff who understood their own and their customers communication styles.

The Power of Communication DNA

David contacted eight of his customers who had been reluctant to undertake a review of their insurance coverage and requested they complete a Communication DNA profile explaining that he would send them a URL link to enable them to complete the process on line in advance of their next meeting. He explained that it would only take a few minutes to complete but that the outcome would enable David to serve them in a much more engaging and professional manner.

Immediately, when David saw the results of the Communication DNA, he realized why he had been unable to engage with each of the eight customers. He had been numbers and details-focused, clearly putting numbers before people only to recognize that:

  • Four of the customers required a sociable and conversational approach;
  • Two needed help to make a decision and would have found Davids communication style to be confronting;
  • One was still mulling over the information and paperwork, and
  • The last one was overwhelmed with the details and wasnt comfortable on any level with the need to change or review their insurance coverage.

The contrast of this insight against Davids need for results, his logical and unemotional approach, and determination to get a sale across the line, illuminated why he had failed to engage with his customers.

THE OUTCOME

David openly shared his insight into his own and the customers communication preferences. The engagement between each began immediately as trust was built through this initial sharing of communication styles.

With the knowledge David now had about his customers, he could have chosen the option to match them with a more suitable advisor in order to build a relationship which was a path he was implementing within the business. But in this case, David understood the importance of fully integrating the whole principal of customer centricity and to openly work with his customers to build quality relationships. Such quality relationships would only happen by becoming familiarized with how to adapt ones own communication style to build engagement with customers whose communication styles were different.

This people before numbers approach significantly moved the business forward in terms of repeat business. Over time, David saw evidence of how understanding communication was successfully impacting the bottom line of business.

THE TAKE AWAY

Understanding communication and behavior to build engagement cant be seen as tokenism or the latest trend. It is a serious solution to growing businesses where selling, promoting, or advising in any form is at the core and center of the business. The solutions implementation needs to be rooted at the C suite and used to frame the business focus. Then, it must be implemented across the organization to all those who have any point of contact with customers.

Top 3 Reasons for Understanding Customer Communication Styles

The landscape for businesses is becoming more fast-paced, high-tech and competitive with each year. Customers are expecting personalized offerings based on their interests, customized experiences based on their preferences and efficient service delivery on their terms. They want to resolve problems with a simple phone call… or by sending an email, or online chatting. Solutions should be available quickly and without the expense of much effort.

customer service experience, client engagementWhether it means expanding the social networking team to ensure every post on their Facebook page is responded to or taking a closer look at the User Experience to optimize navigation of their website, more and more businesses are putting processes in place to meet the increasingly high demands of customers. And theyre not only doing this to ensure business growth ? businesses are taking these steps to safeguard their survival. These businesses understand the importance of keeping customers happy. They know that serving the customer as the customer wants to be served produces a boost in brand appeal as well as the bottom line.

Reaching customers through the right channels and having a user friendly website may make it easier for the customer to connect with your business ? but how is your business doing once the customer actually connects; when interacting with the customer?

When the customer received a response to their support ticket did it make them feel relieved or stressed, and did the email campaign you just sent out provide just the right amount of information or discourage recipients with too much?

Unless you know the communication style of each customer you wont be able to answer these questions. Think about how technology can help you solve this problem by identifying the communication style of each customer and employee across the business to deliver an automated process for customizing the customer experience and increasing customer engagement.

The benefits of having this behavioral data about your customers are many, but here are some of my favorite reasons for understanding customer communication styles:

  1. Knowing the communication style of customers allows for automatic segmentation of your lead and contact base.
  2. One size fits all may work sometimes but custom-fit is preferred always.
  3. You can say goodbye to guesswork because workflow guidelines for each of the 4 communication styles have already been uncovered.

What are your top reasons for understanding customer communication styles?

To learn more about customer engagement with Communication DNA,?click here. Contact us to get started at?inquiries@dnabehavior.com

If you are a current Salesforce CRM customer,?Communication DNA is also available in the?Salesforce Appexchange.

Leon Morales ? Vice President, Relationship Management Solutions
Specializing in financial services and human capital solutions, Leon uses behavioral intelligence to help businesses navigate human differences to unlock performance potential. DNA Behavior helps grow behaviorally smart businesses worldwide to increase competitive advantage using the most reliable behavioral discovery and performance development systems on cutting-edge technology platforms.

Are Advisors Asking the Right Questions?

“How do financial advisors know what questions to ask if they don’t know how to communicate with me?”

I wonder how many every-day working people believe that only the rich make long term plans for their financial future. Could it be that the financial industry tends to position itself as available only to advise on family wealth, estate planning, finding ways to make the rich richer or manage their large inheritances and forgets the millions of others who need plans, want to be financially secure yet feel uncomfortable about discussing their hopes, dreams and limited finances with an advisor?

Byron R. Moore writes the following in his article, Financial Fundamentals: Is financial planning about ‘predicting’ or ‘positioning’?:

Question: How am I supposed to do any financial planning these days? I dont know who is going to be president, how the financial crisis in Europe is going to turn out or how we are going to deal with our national debt. It is difficult to know what to do next.
Answer: Really? Is it really that difficult? Or are you just stuck because your concept of financial planning is proving to be fatally flawed?

When reading this article it occurred to me that maybe a more valid question from potential clients might be will my money be safe if I take your advice. This doesnt necessarily refer to their ability to understand and manage risk; maybe its more about allowing the client to share their genuine concerns, their lack of knowledge about the financial industry, and their unpretentious, down to earth approach to their finances.Financial planning questions

The world of financial advice is highly competitive; learning how to build your business and increase your bottom line could be as simple as knowing how to communicate with your prospects. Understanding their communication style from the very first point of connection (phone call or meeting) through every interaction over the lifetime of the client relationship could be critical to the sustainability of your business.

Advisors need to understand their own communication and behavioral style up front before the first meeting.? This insight will enable advisors to uncover client communication styles and enable the advisor to adjust their approach in order to effectively engage their client into the conversation.

If as an advisor you are genuinely able to communicate your interest in talking to the client, once they have revealed that their financial status is middle-class or below, you will build confidence in the client and begin the process of developing the relationship. As an advisor its critical to the process not only to be client focused but to be able to uncover information that will result in sound and appropriate advice being given.

Seeking financial advice is a big step for many people. The industry needs to better understand their behavior and communication from the perspective of potential clients. Only then will it truly be able to know the right questions to ask potential clients.

You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. – Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Visit the Financial DNA website to learn more. |??? Try Financial DNA Free for 30 days!

Is it Time to Change the Sales Approach?

5 thoughts on how this can be achieved.

What does it mean to sell? The dictionary defines it thus:

To persuade someone to accept, convince someone of the merits of, talk someone into, bring someone round to, win someone over to, get acceptance for, win approval for, get support for, get across.

This definition begs the question ? how do you know the best way to convince, persuade, talk someone into etc. if you dont know in advance of the first meeting their preferred communication style?

In his article for Top Sales World, B2B Sales:Empowered Customers Require, Bob Apollo of Inflexion-Point writes:

Challenge or opportunity?

DNA Behavior, Behavioral Marketing, Sales BehaviorIf youre responsible for a B2B sales and marketing organization, you can look at this situation as either a challenge or an opportunity. But one thing is certain: todays empowered customers need and expect to deal with empowered sales people.

 

Simply telling the prospect what they could have – and probably already have – learned over the web adds nothing to the discussion. So its little wonder that Forrester found that B2B customers regarded 7 out of 8 discussions with sales people as having no useful value.

 

Many of the old-school sales people who regarded empowered customers as a threat have probably been flushed out of the system, and those that remain are unlikely to have rosy career prospects.

What does an understanding of communication and behavioral style offer in terms of increasing the power to sell?

  1. It enables you to uncover the customers requirement far more quickly and successfully if you are able to mirror their communication style and engage with them
  2. You will use the time you have with the customer more efficiently if you understand how they wish to be communicated with
  3. You will be on the same page as your customers when having conversations? Research shows that sales and service teams will only naturally engage 40% of customers. Understanding communication and behavioral styles will close the “Relationship Gap” with the other 60%?
  4. It will allow you to effectively communicate the impact of your solution or offering to the customer in a way that engages them into the process.
  5. It empowers you to deliver a behaviorally smart approach to engaging with your customers and will differentiate you from the majority of your competition.

Takeaways

You will eliminate time wasting road blocks in the selling process and likely have not only a higher success rate but also customers who continue to do business with you in the long term AND refer you on.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Visit the Financial DNA website to learn more.