1. Start active listening
Sure, you hear what your client is saying — but are you really listening? Active listening techniques can help you really comprehend what your clients are saying (and portraying). By asking specific open-ended questions, using their language back to them, and saying affirming phrases such as, “I see,” you can build trust and establish rapport with your client. Here are six ways to start active listening right away:
- Hold eye contact while in conversation
- Maintain good posture and be aware of slouching
- Refrain from crossing your arms or body language that can be portrayed negatively
- Mirror the other person’s body language to show interest
- Nod along to show understanding and interest in the topic
- Allow the speaker to complete their entire thought
2. Unlearn to learn more
This might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes to change your mindset, you need to dismiss your preconceived frame of reference. Instead of approaching an initial meeting with a new client with an attitude of “this is how we do it,” try slowing down and being present. Don’t run through your rehearsed spiel; hear what they have to say and identify the value to them.
For example, let’s say you have two back to back meetings with new clients. Both clients are approximately the same age with similar financial goals. Instead of approaching the second meeting with the bias of the first meeting, clear your head and enter the conversation with a blank mind. Try not to ambush the client with a list of general questions; ask specific questions that piggyback off the answers you’ve received.
This also means looking for information outside of the usual questions you may ask. Looking for details in your client’s answers can provide new knowledge that may actually add or modify what you thought you knew about their financial life.
3. Ask more questions
Which leads us to, ask more questions. Experiment and play with how you can find out more about what matters to your clients. This is your chance to have real, authentic conversations with your clients. So ask questions that allow you to emotionally connect with your client, understand their dreams, and get to know their true personalities.
For example, if they had all the money in the world in their bank account, what would they do? Who would they want to support? With money out of the equation, what would they pour their time, talent, and energy into?
As you challenge your approach to financial planning with these emotional intelligence tools, remember it is equally important to shift your mindset. Instead of being the hero for your client, how can you support your client to make them the hero?
Grow by Altruist is a show dedicated to bringing business growth advice to advisors, by advisors. I'm your host Dasarte Yarnway and each week I sit down with industry professionals as they share their best ideas around attracting new prospects, building a successful firm, and keeping clients happy. Watch more episodes here.