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Stop Trying to Delight Your Investors

In the world of financial advice, many clients think they know themselves and their money better than they do and certainly better than the advisor does. How does this thought impact the role of a financial advisor? If you know nothing about behaviors then clients with this ‘know it all’ attitude will be difficult to advise and manage.

Most successful financial advisors invest in understanding client behaviors. They ensure they have the insight and tools to be able to understand how people think, make decisions, and want to be communicated with. As a first step getting to understand how to speak with clients is important. DNA Behavior Discovery provides in-depth insight into the way people communicate and how they wish to be spoken to.

It takes just a few minutes to complete a discovery. The outcomes prepare the way to start the advisor/client conversation.

Why Getting to The Root of Behaviors Is Key to Addressing Them Head-On?

So, what to do? One important key is to know yourself. There is little point trying to manage a tricky client if you allow them to push your behavioral buttons.

So, first step, get to know your own financial personality and communication style. Remember, as an advisor, there will be many conversations with clients where you need to understand the importance of managing the behavioral differences between you and your client and how to navigate any bias either you or your client might have. Comprehensive self-knowledge will inform ways to flex in order to keep the conversation going.

The wide-ranging DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process takes just 10 minutes to complete, can be delivered in real-time to any of your devices, and delivers 200 insights, 64 behavioral factors leading to 1 unique style (your client).

Successful financial advisory practices don’t get involved with a ‘one size fits all approach’. They know the importance of delivering accurate advice that reflects the needs of the individual. To satisfy the ‘know your clients rule’ advisors must be able to manage the behaviors of their clients on an individual basis.

The Behaviorally Smart Organization

As businesses emerge from the global pandemic self-isolation/remote working season, many will be looking at ways to increase their business flow and maintain their existing clients. Advisors will have relied solely on online platforms to stay connected. Clients who might not have previously considered working with their advisor using online tools could well be open to this new approach. Organizations wishing to demonstrate their understanding of the behaviors of their clients will be looking to data collection, online platforms, social media, and other tools to collaborate with their clients, build their business and improve their service offerings. One such way is to use DNA Behavior to work with your entire organization to match advisors to clients. What better service offering can there be than one that has such a deep understanding of their advisors and clients’ financial and communication personalities and is able to deliver a customized behaviorally smart matching approach to their advisory business?

Moving the Needle to Build Advisor/Client Relationships

DNA Behavior will work with your entire organization NOW to prepare you to build an enhanced service offering post coronavirus. It’s time to take a fresh look at how this virtual working has offered solutions to improve service offerings. Going back to the same old same old just won’t cut it. Clients want something different as do advisors. Now’s the time to take a deep dive into understanding the personalities of the people that make up your business. Whether an advisor or client. Whether receptionist, the board, or the C suite, we will set you up to face the ‘new world’ by using our extensive tools to improve your bottom line.

BeFi API is A Must for Broker-Dealers

A robust Behavioral Finance platform will enable Broker-Dealers to meet the fast-growing need for mega-customization. Such a platform will not only provide insights into how clients invest but also reveal habits to how Broker-Dealer employees and investors spend, set goals, communicate, work, live, and make decisions. These insights become transformative when powering core Broker-Dealer workflows such as:

• Advisor-client matching programs (which advisor is suited for which client)

• Optimizing marketing spend (who wants steak dinners vs. Super Bowl tickets)

• Sending customized behavioral driven marketing content to clients

• Developing customized onboarding playbooks

• Arming advisors with the perfect behaviorally generated scripts to deliver at the right time

• Predicting fearful and opportunistic clients on a real-time basis with Market Mood™

To learn more, download our E-Book.

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.

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.

Making Behavioral Science Effortless in Workflow

Making Behavioral Science Effortless in Workflow

This article first appeared on Nasdaq.

When advisors and clients relate well and understand how to manage each other’s behavioral and communication differences, those solid foundations lead to repeat business and overall success.

Imagine heading to a meeting with a client and being able to use your smartwatch or other device to take a quick glance to remind yourself of their innate behaviors. Those revealed by the 10-minute assessment they took early in the advisory relationship.

You’d quickly refresh your knowledge of validated ways to best communicate with them. A smoother, more focused meeting. Perhaps quicker. And with improved outcomes.

Visualize knowing in advance, for instance, that this client values work-life balance and won’t budge from goals they have to support their lifestyle. Think about how important it would be to have access to client insights as you step out of the elevator and greet your client.

An insightful road map

Many of us can’t recall our own natural behavior when we are under stress, never mind trying to recall that of our client. But a quick glance at discovery report highlights provides these prompts:

You are motivated by out-of-the-box thinking and brainstorming. On the flip, your client who needs the big picture, action plans and logical key points.

You’re reminded to go into the meeting knowing how to manage the differences between you, including: Dial back your creative thinking and focus on the analytics and rationale, while remaining levelheaded
The world of advice is changing rapidly. Think back over the past few months and consider how often you’ve found yourself acting more as a coach-mentor than a financial advisor.

Robust info revealed in practical ways

Increasingly, and though they may use varying language to express it, advisors are inquiring how to foster this transition to coaching or mentoring.

All acknowledge their clients are smart and have a pretty good handle on their wealth creation in stable times. But they recognize we’re all a bit more emotional and not as consistent in decision making during tumultuous times.

My guidance: Get to know your clients’ natural behavior. It won’t change over time, but under pressure some aspects of their financial personality might cause a “behavioral flip” – so named by behavioral insights guru Hugh Massie – and will need to be managed. (Behavioral flip: Demonstrating behavior that seems to run counter to everyday, no-stress or low-stress behaviors.)

This is not some futuristic thought bubble; this behavioral insight is available now and can be used on any device via a simple integration. And that last point is one I get asked about a lot. Understandably, advisors are busy doing their core work and don’t need an add-on, for lack of a better term, if it’s not a quick and seamless process, including the time involved to get up to speed.

Leverage existing behavior data

Being able to reference and be guided by robust financial behavior data creates curiosity as clients see how empowered they are as they fully understand their inherent decision-making and communication style. This revolutionizes the advisor-client relationship and puts you and your client on the cutting edge.

Get an even better grasp on how to run a client meeting built on actual data and behavioral insight.

Understanding behavior satisfies know-your-client standards – without having to laboriously read piles of client bios – and ups the ante in terms of outcomes on all sides of the relationship.

Your Intuitive Supplement for Online Business

Your Intuitive Supplement for Online Business

It is important for advisors to stay in regular communication with their clients in normal times but even more so in challenging times when we are forced to work remotely.

A new normal: Advisors and/or clients will not want to meet in person as often when the social distancing restrictions loosen up. Everyone has gotten used to working at home and being more physically distant.

Consider…

If you’ve only met your clients a few times, how effective will you be transitioning from “face” to online meetings?

Will you be as confident in your intuitive radar, picking up a client’s emotions when interacting online?

Do you actually know enough about the client’s financial behavior and have predictive insights into their likely reactions to market movements to be able to speak to them via video links as effectively as you might have previously done in face meetings?

What do you really know about your client’s financial behavior and communication style, particularly in high pressure circumstances? What about your own style?

Not in person, not the same

From working with clients remotely since 2001, the problem I see is that, while online meeting systems like Zoom and Skype may give you a visual on the client, they will not fully tell you the truth about their feelings and reactions – wittingly or unwittingly.

Advisors often tell us their intuition in client meetings is stronger than a robust behavioral assessment tool. Nevertheless, we have always maintained that at any time, combining intuition and measurable financial behavior data is the winning formula. That approach helps ensure the “brain speak” is never wobbly and the financial behavior reporting provides consistent, reliable natural guard rails.

So, when the direct physical line to the client is cut off – it makes the use of an independently validated behavioral tool all the more important to make up for the lost opportunities to leverage intuition.

Your cheat sheet: Validated insights Here is an example of a DNA Behavior report that gives you a deep dive into both financial behavior, communication style and market reaction. Bonus: It’s delivered, in real-time, to any device you use.

Your Financial Behavior Report

Even if an advisor is confident and focused in in-person meetings, don’t assume that confidence is there on conferencing platforms and other forms of remote communication. We all react and behave differently to various forms of communication, both consciously and unconsciously. You just have to see some of the Zoom gaffes and parodies being passed around online to see this.

Just as important: Your client won’t necessarily be able to read you well or they might not present themselves to you in quite the same way when not face to face. This leads to difficulty in interpretation.

Are what clients saying corresponding to what they actually want or need? And are you relaying what you intend? Do you have the validated insights to know the difference both for you and for your client(s)?

Remote + your secret insights weapon

Conferencing platforms, social media and other means of communication are great levelers. So how do you bridge the gap and translate accurate, quality “face” conversations into this era of distancing and remote communication, using various forms of technology?

Well, you’ve got to Get Below the Surface (link to Part Two of the article), and that’s what we’ll talk about Next. Keep reading (link to Part Two of the article).

Get Below the Surface When Going Remote

Get Below the Surface When Going Remote

(If you missed Your Intuitive Supplement for Online Business, it would be helpful for you to read that first.)

With increasing use of remote communications, during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, it is important for advisors to ensure regular client communications are reliable and effective, no matter the communication platform.

This is an added reason to get below the surface, using a validated behavioral insights tool to “check” your own communication and that of your client(s). It’s also an opportunity to introduce a proven point of difference into your advisory business.

Your unique selling proposition – one of your points of differentiation and added value: A behavioral finance technology that will allow you to know your client quickly at a deep level and give you an immediate supplement to your intuition.

Have every client complete the Financial DNA Natural Behavior Discovery process online. In just 10 minutes, you will have their financial personality at your fingertips.

This will reveal a range of important factors that will help you deliver quality – in person or remotely, at times of crisis, like the current isolation, or not.

The depth of insight you/your client will get

  1. How the client wishes to be communicated with. Know in advance how best to manage your communication style to theirs. In these troubled times and beyond, this customized communication approach is vital. Example: If you are a confident speaker, you may find your client’s communication style requires you to dial down your confidence, which might seem aggressive to them.
  2. How likely the client is to panic and want to shift financial life goals and sell at the wrong moment. From their financial personality, you will see whether this approach of panic and flight is momentary or inherent. In either case, you can mediate and keep the client on track and focused on life planning goals.
  3. You will see in-depth how best to behaviorally manage your client’s emotions. Money is a huge source of emotional energy. Add market volatility and a major global pandemic scare. This is a recipe for panic and poor decision making. With behavioral insights in hand, you have a depth of insight to manage and advise in this climate. (Not to mention knowing and understanding your own reaction to the current climate.)
  4. Moving from financial advisor to financial counsellor or coach. These uncertain times require advisors to lay down their “sales pitch” and become counsellors, confidents and wealth mentors. Financial DNA reveals such a depth of behavior you can quickly assess how to advise and manage clients based on their very individual characteristics. (Based both on your own and their insights.)
  5. Getting to the core of the client’s decision-making biases. We all have behavioral biases; both you and the client. But we also now understand what those biases are and how best to keep them under control. Do you assume you can move from confident “face” meetings to remote advising – on Zoom, Skype, or otherwise? Do you think that because you’re skillful and successful in a meeting room that those intuitive skills translate via video conferencing? That kind of unchecked personal bias could seriously impact your business – and client portfolios.

 

Individuality versus success

We all respond differently to the same circumstances. So, if you want to keep your business open and successful and your clients happy and confident to know their money is in good hands, lay aside your individualism and pay attention to your clients’ personalities.

Know unequivocally how to adjust your behavior and personality to best communicate with clients – even when away from the familiarity of your office and beyond “face” meetings. Again, get to know yourself now before you assume you’ll be great online.

Here’s how to begin…

Select a client and get them on board so you can match both of your behaviors to understand the differences and how best to manage them. And use our Financial DNA Market Mood app to measure in real-time clients’ market fear or exuberance as the markets gyrate. This instant behavioral insight arms advisors with data to behaviorally manage clients during times of market turbulence.

So not only will you have a deep understanding of the clients (and your own) behavior, you will also have minute-by-minute access to a client’s reactions to current markets. Even with the most basic use of FDNA and Market Mood, you can use the information to pick up the phone and allay the fears of those clients who might panic.

How we can help

In the spirit of giving each other a hand up during these difficult times, try Financial DNA to reveal your financial personality on us, free. See below to get your free trial and/or book a 15-minute chat with one of my advisors right now to discuss how we can help you.

Stay safe. Stay home. And stay maximally engaged with your clients, even when your work with them can only take place remotely.