As the economy continues to improve, advisors have one of the greatest opportunities to capture their piece of the pie. Yet it is important to remember that emotions play a significant role in the financial decision-making process.

According to Joe Jordan, Senior Vice President, National Sales Organization at MetLife, clients don’t just want to know how the products work, they want to be heard. It is the role of the advisor to manage emotions, not simply behavior – the crux of what is behavioral finance. A recent MetLife poll found that 59% of Americans want to work with an advisor who will keep them apprised of their financial situation. Only 18% said it was very important for an advisor to recommend products than can generate greater returns, despite greater risks.

Jordan recommends the following steps for advisors to begin incorporating Behavioral Finance into their daily practice:

  1. Listen to what your clients need, not what you think they should have. Ask probing questions that can help you determine their needs:
    a. Tell me about your family and your family lifestyle today.
    b. What are the biggest fears you face today?
    c. Describe what you envision in the future for yourself and your family.
    d. How do today’s fears impact your family’s future?
    e. What steps have you taken so far to ensure the well-being of your family’s future?
  2. Remind clients of the value you are providing them and their family. You can help them make decisions that:
    a. Provide PROTECTION when a family loses its primary wage earner.
    b. Deliver INDEPENDENCE when clients are disabled.
    c. Offer DIGNITY when clients can no longer take care of themselves.
    d. Provide LEGACY.

The result: The value advisors provide will satisfy the emotional and financial needs of their clients. It’s at this point that advisors can make the appropriate product recommendations.