3 Ways to Prepare for the Behavioral Awareness Movement

More financial services firms are starting to join the behavioral awareness movement.? Why?

Behavioral theories now have proven hard-edged results. By engaging clients on their terms, financial services firms can increase revenues and manage their compliance risks.

behavioral finance, behavioral awarenessWhat can you DO to help your advisors become behaviorally smart?

1. Give your advisors bigger behavioral data

93.6% of financial planning is behavioral management of the client. As described in What Drives Your Financial Decisions, an advisor needs to know deeper traits of the client such as personality style, emotions, listening style, communication preferences, confidence level and desire to control.? And, this behavioral data needs to be at the fingertips (via CRM) of the advisor and their staff.

2. Provide a client engagement solution for your advisors

In a recent survey by Practical Perspectives, one of the top topics of interest to advisors is client development and engagement.? Advisors are not interested only in theory.? What they really want is a program that is actionable and implementation-oriented.

3. Lead by example with your advisors

Does every employee that interacts with your clients know their communication preferences and behavioral style?? Research shows a 40% decrease in repeat calls when a call center rep tailored their response to match the unique personality of the caller (client).

Isnt it time to recognize individual differences and become behaviorally smart?

Discover the action steps to take now at

How it Works, DNA Behavior, behavioral consulting, psychometric testing

Uncovering the Advisory Blind Spot

Dictionary meaning: blind spot a subject that you do not understand well, often because you do not want to know or admit the truth about it.

Most clients have a blind spot when it comes to financial management; but equally most advisors have a blind spot about who their clients are. The advisor often believes he or she can read people but it is natural the advisor will not be able to get a complete and objective understanding of the client regardless of their intuition or level of experience. Uncovering these blind spots has two powerful outcomes in the financial advisory process.

Advisory Blind Spots, Behavioral Finance, Financial PersonalityFirstly, for an advisor it increases their understanding of the importance of asking clients the right questions. Getting to know how clients are financially wired is a key to building relationships. Secondly, it uncovers the need for advisors to acquire skills that assist them to understand different client communication styles and how to use that knowledge to moderate/adjust communication styles to draw out information about clients financial behavior and decision making patterns, and from there adapt advice to better meet their needs.

The challenge for clients is that they dont know what they dont know and this leads to blind spots. They may well not be able to see opportunities in risk nor risk in opportunities, and advisors need to be able to expose these blind spots and the possible history behind them. Being able to discover their future plans, their aspirations, their background and what has driven or influenced where they want to go in terms of wealth management ensures that advisors give targeted advice that will undoubtedly build stronger client/advisor relationships.

Sarah and Michael recently engaged to be married decided to speak to a financial advisor about planning their financial future. The advisor encouraged them to save and invest; to work towards owning their own property and gave them reading material to support the advice.

Sarah and Michael left confused and dissatisfied. They had wanted to talk about handling money responsibly; they wanted to ask questions about separate or joint accounts; they wanted to start a college fund for the future education of their hoped for children; they wanted to avoid debt but use and manage credit sensibly; they wanted to ask about a self-managed pension scheme; they wanted to share their dreams for the future and how they could build wealth to enable them to realize them.

Did the advisor give advice? Yes. Did the advisor uncover anything significant about these two potential clients? No. Had time been invested into asking questions, discovering their financial personality style uncovering their history, revealing any blind spots ? the advisor would have discovered that Sarahs parents divorced after mismanagement of finances that led to bankruptcy and she was determined that this should not happen to her but knew she had many concerns about never taking any risk with finances. Michael came from a long line of financially astute family members. As a family they openly discussed finances and understood the importance of encouraging the younger members to do likewise.? Michaels family through careful management had built up a significant wealth. the advisor been behaviorally smart; had they objectively known the different behavioral styles and emotions of these clients which comes from using a formal behavioural discovery process; had the advisor been equipped to navigate human differences by discovering and aligning how to uncover different communication styles, behaviors, solution preferences and blind spots this story would have had a happier ending. As it was Sarah and Michael took their business elsewhere.

To learn more about uncovering the advisory blind spot, please visit the Financial DNA website.

Try Financial DNA Free for 30 Days.

What Do Clients Want From Their Advisor?

Often we think that clients want higher investment returns from their advisor, and therefore that defines the role of the advisor. However, research shows that clients want a relationship. This has actually been the case for a long time but the research is becoming clearly stronger all over the world in the need for advisors to develop stronger interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

What Clients Want from AdvisorsRecent Trusted Advisor Research by Professional Planner magazine in Australia demonstrates that an advisors interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are most important by 82% of the survey participants who were clients of Advisors of the Year.

Refer to the full article at:

There is no doubt developing your interpersonal skills grows the bottom line. In advisory business relationships are the key to revenue sustainability.

Many advisors are naturally results orientated in behavioral style and therefore naturally lower on relationships. But, the interpersonal skills can be learned with sustained effort, focus and investment. The starting point is behavioral awareness.

So, the question becomes why isnt there more sustained investment in developing the interpersonal skills and EQ of advisors? It seems there is still a strong over weighting towards technical training. When we see this change, trust in the industry will grow.

Our firm has recently been working with Advisors Ahead to deliver this type of training to financial planning students and young advisors. This is an important starting point but needs to go much further.

To learn more about how you can grow to become a behaviorally smart advisor, please visit the Financial DNA website.

The One Thing Women Really Want

Youve read all the reasons why targeting women as clients is lucrative.? They control a lot of money, make the family financial decisions, are more loyal, and refer you more business.? You know what the potential is for your practice.

But what is the one thing that women really want from YOU, the financial advisor?

The same thing as menTRUST.? Easier said than done.

A recent MetLife study at the nonprofit Womens Institute for a Secure Retirement found that 61% of women executives (earnings of at least $75,000 annually) cite trust and respect as the most important factor in choosing and keeping a financial advisor.

As a financial advisor, you envision yourself as a relationship expert, being able to easily identify personality traits with the well-crafted questions asked in your initial consultation.? While you may be highly intuitive, you will only be guessing about your conclusions by using this random hit or miss strategy.? Research shows you only naturally connect with roughly 40% of your clients.

financial planning for women, working with clients, women in financeBuilding trust is most effortless when your communication style is matched with a similar style of a potential client. If you are the opposite style, you can still build trust but it will take a lot of modification and you will find yourself being drained by the relationship.

So how do you build trust with women? 84% of wealthy women interviewed by Schwab said that in-person meetings are key for establishing trust.? The research also adds that, women want to be understood for their unique circumstances. You cant just walk in with the same package for male clients and change the font to pink and think the women are going to be fooled.

Building trust starts with knowing YOU first. Your behavior is the foundation for you to tailor your strategies with women.? How trusting are you?? Do you need to be in control at all times?? Are you a natural listener or can you hardly wait to complete someone elses sentence?

Next, you need to understand the behavior of each individual woman. They (like men) are not all the same.? Some women will want to be in total control, get to the bottom line quickly and will want to engage in minimal personal small talk. Others will want to build a deep relationship, talk a lot, and care very little for the details of your business.

When you are equipped with behavioral information you can then create the marketing approach that best attracts the type of woman you want as a client. So take our industrys advice about marketing to women by educating, moving to a relationship based model and getting personal through stories. But be sure to create unique experiences based on who these women are.? Customization is the new normal.

Dare to go one step further to build the level of trust that will keep women as clients for life.?? Find out more on how to understand and unlock the potential of female clients at:

Whole Brain Business Plan

I recently read an article, The Success Formula, that talked about the future direction of businesses.? Heres an interesting trend: hiring people not because they fit in a box-like job description, but because they have the skills and talents that matches the companys mission and vision. What this says to me is that the how or mechanics (left brain) of business has now become a given?the starting point or the entry ticket. You are expected to have a certain amount of product knowledge and understand the ten steps to create more business. What will separate you from others and drive your performance, results, and sales is your behavior (right brain).
Great relationships, know    your client, business transformation, personal development

Lets take a look at a typical practice management formula for success (Planning the Next Step, Investment News, June 20, 2011) and see how we can turbo-charge it by adding behavior to know, engage, and grow your clients and employees.? The added benefit,

according to Gallup Research, is that over time you will see a 240% increase in profits when both employees and clients are fully engaged!

Step #1:? Update Your Business Plan
Left Brain:? Be sure to focus on the exact client you want to attract.? Include assets, career type, age, etc.

Add Right Brain: Be sure you know the inner world of the client you want to attract.

  • Are they fun, outgoing, and practical like you?? If they are, it will be much easier for you and you will be more energized throughout your day.
  • Just because they have $2 million to invest doesnt make them an A client.? Its more than just numbers.
  • If you have more than one type of client, maybe you want to limit the number of clients in each type.

Step #2:? Ask for More Referrals:? Satisfied customers and professional contacts are your best source of finding new business
Left Brain: Have a plan for encouraging referrals.? Be sure to ask for them on a consistent basis.? Establish strategic relationships.? Communicate (conference call, newsletter, webinar) on a monthly basis using a focused approach.

Add Right Brain: How you ask for a referral depends on both the type of person you are and the type of person you are asking.

  • If your client is naturally more trusting, they may automatically give you a referral with just a gentle reminder that you are adding to your client base.
  • How you ask for a referral will depend on your type of personality as well as your client.? How do you adjust your tone of voice, the words you say, etc. to the type of client?
  • Focused communication requires personalizing the experience for a client.? A newsletter with lots of market details will not be suited for every type of client.? Graphics with short bullet points would be better in many cases.DNA Business Performance, advisor business performance, know your client, predict client behavior, behavioral finance

Step #3:? Hiring the right staff is critical for success.
Left Brain:? Hire when growth is projected rather than when it occurs.? Determine how much time an advisor spends with each client to analyze your staffing needs.? It takes 18 months for an advisor to become productive.

Add Right Brain: How do you define the right staff?

  • Think about adding a type of person that is a complimentary style to your own to attract different types of clients.
  • Or, a style that can tag-team with you in client meetings.? You will each hear different things and be able to give the client a better perspective.
  • Behavior can block performance.? Hire a person with a style that fits the job and your team.

Step #4:? Make sure your technology is up to date.
Left Brain: Review your three-year technology plan for disk space, bandwidth.? Do you need a new laptop, an iPad, an iPhone? How about software needs?

Add Right Brain: Add communication styles into your CRM.

  • Every phone call, every meeting, every communication is tailored to create a unique experience for each client.
  • Engage your clients and staff in exactly the way they need to create lifetime relationships.

How do you get started with a whole brain business approach? Take two minutes and check out your communication style, click here.