Client-advisor relationships, like all relationships, are predicated on a few basic principles. In this piece, I will discuss this and explore how you, as advisor, can help foster enduring relationships. The first step is to understand people.
A Twist on Trust
Every prospective client has a certain capacity to trust. Some are very trusting while others are not. Whether this is a learned behavior or something genetic is difficult to say. We do know that a great number of clients seeking financial advice have already spoken with multiple advisors and have formed certain opinions as a result. If the advisor is subject to production requirements or simply has not amassed a large enough asset base to sustain their lifestyle, they can easily appear a little too eager. If the client perceives this, they may become defensive. Why? Because the client is seeking sound financial advice and does not want to be sold.
In short, when the advisors focus is on themselves and what they need, the client may pick up on it. This can be especially true if the client has a lower capacity to trust or is a female, as women are generally more intuitive and perceptive than men. Sorry guys.
Everyone has the capacity to feel. At one end of the continuum are those who are very outgoing and wear their emotions on their sleeve. These people are much easier to read. All you need to do is let them talk while you listen and learn. Other clients hold things close to the vest and are much harder to read. Even though the latter show less emotion, they usually “feel” the same emotions as those who are outgoing. They have either learned to control their emotions or it is embedded in their God-given personality or both. Both types require a different approach, but we’ll save that discussion for another time.