Specific Communication Keys for Each Style

This post is part 5 of our 8 part series on increasing Client Engagement from our Client Relationship Performance in the New Behavioral Economy White Paper. The insights will demonstrate in practical terms how to apply predictive behavioral insights to tailor client communication and provide unique client experiences.

Behavioral Insight 5: Specific Communication Keys for Each Style

Earlier in this series, we learned about Chris Coddington and his meetings with a client named Frank Butler. Chris was given information about the 4 Communication DNA Styles, processes for discovering which communication style a client has and guidelines for matching clients to the right advisor based on communication style. (Click here to read the previous posts in this series).

We told Chris that a future trend will be advisors building client service teams that are a custom fit for the client. This provides the advisor with the opportunity to include team members with different styles to complement the advisors behavior. Imagine when a telephone call comes in and the team automatically knows who is to pick it up, then how to communicate with the client, and how to manage the work flow and even product or solution offerings. This really is the Ideal Advisory Business. Chris could also see that this strategy would be good for succession planning.

Chris then said, I want some specific communication keys that I can put into my online contact management system so that whenever a client calls up or I am preparing for a meeting, I will know how to adapt my communication. Also, these communication keys need to be memorable so that the client gets engaged with them. Further, and very importantly, I also want this sustainable and scalable across my client service team. The way we have structured our business is that the one family client is served by different people on the team depending on whether the needs are financial planning, investments or administration.

Each person does have a very unique way in which he or she likes to be communicated with. This was clear from what Frank Butler said in his first meeting about wanting options and recommendations so that he could make a decision. What this message really said to Chris is that trust in the relationship will not be developed unless Chris and his Coddington team communicate with Frank in this way. If he is not communicated with in this way, then he is likely to become de-energized and lose interest in what is put before him.

As you can see from the graph at left, each style is quite different in terms of communication. This is where ensuring the different communication styles do not become a relationship blockage. Franks wife has a Stabilizer communication style. This is basically opposite to Frank. She would need a much more relaxed meeting and not so bottom-line. The discussion should start with dreams as this is more emotional, whereas goals is more rational.

The Lifestyle Desire and Information Need communication styles are also opposite. The Lifestyle person wants a fast-paced, open discussion and fun, while the Information Need person wants to get into the details and reflect. He or she does not like it too conceptual. Of course, here is where the spender and saver difference comes up more acutely. The Information Need person likes to focus on the budget. To the Lifestyle Desire person a budget is a turnoff. The advisor should talk instead about spending plans.

From time to time an individuals score may reflect a Lifestyle Desire as the primary communication style; however, the client may have a second style that also scores highly, such as a Stability Need. In any cases like this, the elements of both factors would be important in communication with the client.

When Chris is dealing with spouses in the same meeting, he must address each of them on his or her own terms, unless one of them chooses to accept one way. Based on social research it tends to be the female who will make 70% or more of the financial choices. So, if you do not have guidance on know how to run the meeting with a couple, start by addressing the female spouse on her unique terms. Remember, women want to be understood and men want to be respected. So, do not leave the male totally in the cold.

What are your thoughts? For additional information on increasing engagement of others, visit our Communication DNA Website.

To Learn More, read the full Client Relationship Performance in the New Behavioral Economy White Paper.