Successful advisors know that their business depends on their ability to build trusted relationships with their clients. For many, it boils down to their intuitive ability to listen to client needs and address them directly.
If you’re the type of financial advisor that goes into a meeting with a client or prospect with all the answers, you’re probably missing out on the chance to build more profitable relationships. Good financial advisors listen more, and talk less. They understand that trust is built by responding to client needs, not trying to sell them on the merits of Strategy A or the importance of Investment B. If their advice doesn’t solve a client problem, it isn’t worth very much.
A Listening Meeting
For face-to-face client meetings, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re spending more time listening and less time talking.
Always follow your agenda. If you’ve sent an agenda earlier to manage expectations, you earn trust by following through and lose trust by deviating.
Start conversations. Successful interactions often begin when you ask an open-ended question. These types of questions cannot be answered “yes” or “no”. The client will need to think about them before answering in a much longer form.
Take notes. When clients are speaking, make sure you are genuinely paying attention to them. Listen carefully and take note of any important details. Be sure to save your notes into your contact management system later.
Follow-up. If you’ve taken appropriate notes, you should have no problem writing a letter, email or proposal that incorporates some of the person details. This demonstrates that you have actually listened to the problem the client put forward and are now recommending a solution for that problem. (continued on Page 2)