Earlier this year, FranklinCovey released the 30th Anniversary Edition of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In the press release, his son Sean Covey stated, “The deeper the problems and challenges become in society the more relevant the 7 Habits become because they’re based on timeless principles of effectiveness that apply to everyone. My father didn’t claim to invent these concepts; but saw them as being universally applicable.”
I recently thumbed through my original copy of the book, and he’s right – concepts like “First Things First” (Habit 3) and “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” (Habit 5) have lasting wisdom that all can learn from.
But I’ve often wondered if the initial success of the book was mostly due to the title. If it had been called Good Habits of Highly Effective People, would it have sold so well?
In my work with financial advisors and financial planners, I’ve found that numbering your points can be a fantastic way to improve your communication.
Whether you are speaking with an individual client or to a large group of potential clients, there are three benefits to numbering your points:
- It creates a framework or structure for your message and enables your clients to follow along easily as you explain each point.
- It helps your clients recall what you’ve told them. If you describe the five essentials of selecting a retirement plan for your business or the three questions to answer before starting Social Security benefits, the numbers will help them remember each one more easily.
- It demonstrates your knowledge of the subject, that you have put some thought into it, and have determined specifically how many items there are.
When I speak with advisors about choosing a niche, I talk about the three key steps to own your niche market. Because I speak authoritatively about the three key steps, can list exactly what they are, and because they sound logical, people assume that I know what I’m talking about.
You can do the same with your clients. Talk to them about the five steps in putting together an investment portfolio, or the six options for paying for long-term care, or the ten questions clients should ask when selecting a new financial advisor.
Number your points. People will notice.