Being a financial advisor comes with its fair share of challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome. While financial analysts can use the “left brain” logical side of the brain, financial advisors are client-facing. They need “right brain” intuitive skills to read client emotions, manage relationships, and communicate market view effectively as well.
One of the biggest challenges for experts in any field is articulating a market view in a way that someone outside that field can connect with. As we go through an era where experts are frequently mistrusted, here are some tips for best articulating your market view to your clients.
Know Your Audience
The first critical step to any successful engagement with a client is going to be understanding their background and how they relate to money. It is important to remember that just because someone has money, that doesn’t mean they know how to use it. A high-net-worth client who has always had access to money might know less about the markets than a young, scrappy kid just starting their wealth journey who has put in some research.
But beyond their relationship with money, knowing who someone is and what they value is important. You won’t be able to win someone over to your vision of where opportunities are in the markets if you don’t understand them as human beings. Finding a connection to your clients beyond the business relationship can help make the business relationship smoother. Sports, film, and TV can be easy connection points where you can find common ground and opportunities to connect beyond the business at hand. It is easy to dismiss “small talk” as, well, small, but it’s also an easy way to make your clients predisposed to like you and, most importantly, trust you.
Keep it Simple, But Be Willing to Go Into the Weeds
Most of the time, people are distracted by the various complexities of their own life. One of your most important jobs is to take something they would find complicated and make it simple. You don’t need to be talking about inverted yield curves or going into the weeds about how managed futures work to articulate your investment ideas.
Remember, if people want to know more, they can always ask, which gives you another opportunity to be warm and responsive. Finance can have a lot of jargon, so make sure you don’t use “jargon-y ” terms when you are explaining things. Keep it focused on one idea at a time and let your clients drive the conversation. They’ll feel like you are being open and transparent. If you start complicated and go into the weeds from the jump, that could make them feel talked down to, so starting simple is the best approach.
Directly Connect Your Market View to Your Client’s Needs
Aside from not getting lost in the technical weeds, it’s also important to keep your client conversations focused directly on the factors that affect your client.
Your market view is likely built on a host of information and research that lead to you forming your strategy. But, when speaking to your clients, sometimes it’s best to leave most of that research tucked away and edit down your thought process to touch only on the things that directly affect their portfolio.
Make Your Client Feel Seen
Ultimately, people want to be seen. Clients want you to listen to their needs and anxieties, understand their goals, and explain your decisions to help them achieve them.
When you articulate your market vision, if you make it simple, connect it to how it can solve real problems for them, and reinforce to them that you are on their side and that you’ve got them where it matters most, that’ll go a long way toward making clients happy.
But truly seeing someone is the skeleton key to most social interactions. Did you clock the logo on their hat? Do you remember details about their life they have shared? Have you noticed them truly understanding what you are saying? Do you recognize when they seem lost or when you are failing to connect? Even in the latter, there is an opportunity to see someone and meet them where they are, which in turn builds trust.
Once trust is truly established, communication becomes significantly easier.
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