July 11, 2011

3 Steps to Selecting the Right Financial Advisor, Part II: Client Personalities

Last week, in the first in my series of 3 Steps to Selecting the Right Financial Advisor: An Advisor’s Perspective, we discussed the process of selecting an advisor. Why would this be important to advisors? Maybe they'll see you as someone who is truly interested in helping them make the right decision. And that is preferable to being viewed as someone who is just trying to sell them.

What do most advisors have in common when they meet with a prospective client? Most are trying to convince the person to hire them. It's like an old saying I heard years ago: "The farmer doesn't want all the land, he just wants the land that borders his." We may not want to convert every prospect to a client, we just want to convert the next one. I'll let you think about that. 

The truth is, not every client is a good fit for every advisor. The right match depends on a number of factors, including personality types, qualifications, areas of specialty, and more. This week, I'd like to extend the conversation and discuss personalities. 

Two Client Personalities: The Driver and the Analytic

It's been said that oil and water don't mix. The same goes with a Driver and an Analytical personality. Using these two as an example, a Driver-type personality likes to make quick decisions. An Analytical likes to take their time. They like to move slowly, methodically, cautiously, to avoid errors. And yes, they do tend to avoid many of the pitfalls into which other personalities fall.

A good advisor is one who can adapt to the client’s personality and provide what's necessary to make the client feel comfortable. After all, until a prospective client is comfortable, they will typically not make a decision to hire you. What makes a client feel comfortable? It depends on the client. Of course, there are a few commonalities that every client seeks. They desire someone who can be trusted. They want someone who is qualified to help them with their specific issues. They also need an advisor who is generally interested in helping them and willing to spend the time necessary to see them through to the attainment of their goals.

I've been exposed to some of the best teaching on the subject of personalities and how to ask questions, and yet I still feel like an amateur in many respects. Whenever you are dealing with the mind, will and emotions, there is no exact science whereby you can discover a holy grail. Therefore, the key for advisors is to understand the personality differences and tailor your presentation to the type of client you are working with. 

To this end, I'd recommend one of the best books I've found on the subject. It's titled, "The Best Seller," by D. Forbes Ley and is published by Sales Success Press. It's a few years old, but the material will never be out of date.

Have a great week!

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