Are You Successful And Productive? 3 Keys to Becoming a Productive Adviser

The role of a financial adviser is to provide clients with advice on financial matters, making recommendations on ways to best utilize their money, ensuring they are aware of and understand the direction to be taken that best meets their clients needs. The next part of this statement might be to sell product and close the deal.

Being productive also means being creative, helpful, valuable, and practical and so much more. If the measure of being a successful adviser is to be productive how important is it to really understand all aspects of your prospective client’s life?

Stacey Haefele makes an interesting observation in her article in the Financial Planning Newsletter about getting to know your clients,? titled Targeting Wealthy Clients and Understanding the Source of their Wealth.

Are the people before you hardworking, average-earning lifelong savers? High-flying corporate
executives saddled with a vested interest (and stock position) in a single company that may
never love them back? Or are they small business owners or entrepreneurs whose personal finances
and business finances can be hard to distinguish? Did they inherit all their wealth -- or,
perhaps, just enough that they can't quite quit altogether?

A client's source of wealth is an incredibly informative data point. It is key to understanding
a client's values, work ethic, attitudes toward risk and investment personality. It may even give
you a clue as to how clients might work with you as an advisor: Will they need an asset manager
or a shrink?

Clearly the starting point in order to become a successful and productive adviser is to know and engage with your client right from the start. Charm, inspirational presence and great communication skills together with a high level of competencies do not make a productive adviser. Understanding and learning to navigate the different behavioural styles and emotions of your clients is the key starting point? Independent research shows that 93.6% of your role in becoming a productive adviser is through managing client behaviors.

Through understanding client behaviors:

  1. Successful and productive advisors will be able to choose what’s right for their clients rather than what’s most profitable.
  2. Successful and productive advisers will consider the big picture of their clients life, dreams, plans, family and financial situation before advising on products or recommending specific actions
  3. Successful and productive advisers follow a process for discerning their clients needs and offering recommendations.

Successful and productive advisors make a difference in clients lives.

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 about building the relationship with your clients in the financial planning process.

A Behaviorally Smart Firm Creates Profitable Relationships

Is it important to grow behaviorally smart advisors?
DNA Behavior, DNA Quality Life, Quality Life, Business Culture
The overwhelming response from both advisors and their clients is YES.

Recent research shows:
1. Clients rate Emotional Intelligence as the #1 skill they are looking for in an advisor.
2. Advisors rate Client Engagement as the #1 program they want to add in their practice.

Both clients and advisors agree that understanding financial personalities is the key to long-term successful relationships.

The need to objectively uncover natural instinctive behavior is crucial in the financial planning process because this is how clients:

  • More comfortably make decisions
  • Operate under stress
  • Create a framework for life and financial perspectives

And we know that 93.6% of financial planning is the behavioral management of the client.

It makes dollars and sense to grow behaviorally smart advisors.

Try Financial DNA: Free Trial

Visit the Financial DNA website to learn more about our solutions for navigating the different behavioral styles and emotions of family members.

The Importance of People Centered Leadership in the Financial Industry

Our leaders are too involved in understanding/unraveling complex regulatory issues to spend time leading…

In many parts of the world financial regulators are placing more and more constraints on the industry. From improving record keeping in terms of recording advisor/client conversations to alerting the industry about the need to understand client behavior over and above tolerance to risk; and many other change requirements in between. Add to this a far savvier client base and leadership may well find itself with no time to support advisors or even navigate the business through these complicated seasons.

But – the financial landscape is shifting – it’s all about communication and understanding advisor and client behavior. Today’s leaders are crafting a new and innovative direction for the financial industry.

Jackson was looking for something different in the financial industry; something edgier, something to raise his passion for the business

At this current interview he was asked to complete a behavioral discovery process (profile) customized for financial services. When completed the interview panel openly shared the outcomes in their behavioral reports with Jackson and the interview process began.Leadership in the Financial Industry

No reference was made to his credentials, his previous experiences, his challenges. All of that information could be found in his resume. The questions the panelists asked were customized to his behavioral style and pointed to his hopes of his future, how he would expect the leadership to serve him in terms of fulfilling his expectations for his career path.

They clearly knew from his behavioral report that he was strategic, driven and would undoubtedly have plans for his career path.

Jackson found himself fully engaged in what was now a conversation focused on what they as a business could do for him rather than what he could do for them.

As the interview process drew to a close the panel asked Jackson to comment on the way they had conducted the discussion. He responded that it was very different and he found himself responding to their questions by opening up areas of his life, his future plans, his preferred style of communication and so much more than he had ever intended.

The panel concluded by telling Jackson that this approach mirrored the way the company provided financial advice to their clients.? This approach was all about understanding the clients hopes, dreams, plans for their future in terms of their finances and then lining up advice and support that worked in partnership with them to achieve these goals.?? This approach set a platform to ask revealing questions to uncover and deliver real insight into the advisor/client relationship.

The leadership of the company did not believe in containing creativity and initiative with their advisors; they believed in harnessing behaviors and talents and matching them with clients so that relationships could be formed that not only lasted but also provided well targeted advice that delivered outcomes, built trust and formed strong client/advisor partnerships.? They also saw this approach as one that would deliver the advisors vision for future and thus ensure they retain high quality staff.

Not surprisingly Jackson chose to work for this company.? The leadership had crafted a meaningful vision; one he knew lined up with his own personal passions.? Six months later and Jackson has fully embraced this style of working with clients. His clients see completing a profile as a useful “icebreaker” and feedback has demonstrated their support for the process and their belief that the advice they are being given genuinely focuses on their personal strategies for their future and how best to create wealth to deliver these plans.

Learn more about adopting a people centered leadership approach – click here.

What is the Key to Effectively Managing Personal Finances?

The key to effectively managing your personal finances is to have a positive attitude. The foundation of having a positive attitude is having clarity of your financial goals and who you are, in particular the level of risk that you can take, and having the right advice from a professional advisor.

It is all about having the right balance of these elements. How one perceives money will be a big driver of their attitude. Therefore, having clarity about your perceptions of money is critical to living a happy life.

On May 27, 2013 a great article was written by Ranjeet Mudholkar, CFPVice Chairman & CEO at (Financial Planning Standards Board India) FPSB India Mumbai on this topic.

You can read it in full at:

In particular, the article highlights some interesting research conducted in post 2007-09 Financial Crisis by MFS Investment Management, a US-based global asset manager, which throws light on the effect the market movement has on peoples attitude. The survey found that 43 percent of respondents said their risk tolerance had decreased while 14 percent said it had increased. Before the economic downturn, 14 percent of the investors said their primary goal was protecting principal and not losing money. Now, the figure is 36 percent.

Investors are exhibiting this behavior at a time when investing in equities could be to their potential long-term advantage, the report states. Before the downturn, 50 percent of investors were generally willing to take substantial risk for substantial returns; today, its 23 percent.

Whats surprising, the survey notes, is that while investors have become more protective of their assets, only 37 percent have rebalanced their portfolio; 44 percent of investors using an advisor have rebalanced, the survey found. Further confounding results, MFS says, show that 68 percent of investors claim to be making decisions on their own with minimal input from an advisor. However, more than 60 percent of respondents are less than very confident that their assets are appropriately allocated. The economic crisis has only lead 30 percent of respondents to seek professional financial advice.

Clearly, the loss aversion behavioral bias is being exhibited where people are far more concerned about what they may lose than what they can gain. Therefore, they are not making healthy financial choices which is detrimental to the overall quality of their life.

To learn more about effectively managing personal finances, please visit the Financial DNA website.

Try Financial DNA free for 30 days!

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

Try Financial DNA free for 30 days!

White Paper: Blind Spots in the Financial Advice Process

Every financial advisory firm has a client planning process which it considers to be sound. However, it is likely that the process will have one or more key areas that are missing or are not being adequately executed with the appropriate systems.

In raising these blind spots we fully recognize that there is an inherent tension between enhancing client engagement, which boosts revenues, and compliance, which protects the business. Our recently released Blind Spots in the Financial Advice Process white paper serves to highlight these blind spots that your firm should be aware of, and then recommended actions to consider.behavioral finance, financial planning, blind spots, home office goals, client behavior, financial personality

Where are the blind-spots in your firms current advisory process causing this gap?

Read the Executive Summary to the White Paper

Download the Blind Spots in the Financial Advice Process White Paper