I love the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Most of the financial advisors and planners that I know really care about their clients.
So I was a bit surprised to see the some of the results from the Financial Planning Association’s whitepaper on Developing and Maintaining Client Trust and Commitment in a Rapidly Changing Environment.
The study found that only 41% of clients “somewhat agreed” or “strongly agreed” that their planner made an effort to learn about their cultural values.
Similarly, only 28% “somewhat agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the planner is comfortable with clients expressing strong emotion.
Motivation explains why someone acts (or speaks) in a certain way.
Clients want a financial advisor who is genuinely committed to putting the client’s interest above their own – not because they have a legal requirement to do so but because it’s the right thing to do.
So how do you demonstrate a focus on a client without simply saying, “Trust me!”
Here are three suggestions:
- Ask thoughtful, open-ended questions that begin with “how” or “what” or “tell me…” This shows the client that you are truly curious and interested in them.
- Listen intently to their responses. Look for opportunities to provide non-verbal feedback, ask follow-up questions, and restate their answers to confirm your understanding.
- Resist the urge to be right or appear right. It’s ok to not know answers to every question. In fact, not every question has an “right” answer.
Ultimately, your goal is not to be the most interesting person in the conversation but the most interested.
Or as C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”