There’s a time for texting and a time for conversing. To build rapport with clients, advisors need to know the difference.
That’s the take-away from a new book, Defining Conversations (Insights Press) by Scott West, who heads consulting at Invesco Van Kampen Consulting, and Mitch Anthony, founder of the Financial Life Planning Institute.
The authors hold that e-mailing and texting offer no chance to create the vital connection that real conversation promotes.
AdvisorOne recently had two conversations with Anthony and West. Here are excerpts from our chat with Anthony. (In our next installment, look for West's revelations about the worst conversation saboteurs.)
AdvisorOne: You say that nowadays, though people are in contact, they’re not necessarily in touch. Please explain.
Anthony: Messaging should not be confused with conversing. The new technologies are designed for you to tell me something and me to tell you something back. We’re losing the human nuances of communication. I have to guess what you really think. Conversing is: your idea and my idea meet; we find out what we have in common and what we can count on.
What are the overall goals of conversation?
Mutuality and significance: you are an important person, and your situation matters to me.
Why is face-to-face conversation critical?
Financial services is centered around numbers — progress reports, quarterly statements. But clients want to be understood. The greatest thing that can happen is for the client to walk away and say, “That was a great conversation. I feel that they ‘get’ me.”
You write that we’ve become a society of presenters instead of conversers.
Exactly. We train financial advisors to present, not to listen and converse.
When are FAs destructive to conversation?