Financial advisors are experts when dealing with numbers and performance; they understand the science of investing. But irreplaceable advisors are those who have mastered the ability to connect with people and make them more effective than they would have been without the advisor's help. That's art.Art is about process, the integrity of your organization and how you communicate. And where several advisors share similar track records of performance, it's their mastery of art that wins and keeps new business.In our current financial climate, everyone is talking about risk avoidance strategies or limiting losses during market downturns, what to do after a 10-year bull run. Depending on your philosophy, the science is largely the same. Manage risk, limit losses and preserve capital.Great advice is an unusual blend of art and science.Your ticket off the bandwagon is your process — how you invest, manage or advise — built from your philosophy and your values. What your values are and how they shape your philosophy are unique to you and your firm. While everyone in your firm should share consistent talking points, this is where you have the opportunity to talk about who you are — not just what you do.
The advisor who goes in leading with performance statistics will lose to the one who listens to what the client wants and then conversationally explains the approach the firm might take and the values that guides its work every day. That approach shows that the advisor cares and is invested in the success of that individual client. It speaks to performance without ever pulling out a spreadsheet.There are numerous touch points that build to form the client's estimation of your individual integrity and that of your organization. Your process is one. Your organizational expertise is another. How you carry yourself and how you talk about the stability of your organization are very important. From the moment you walk into the room, do you appear confidently at ease? Do you listen carefully first before deciding how to respond? Do you speak assertively, choosing language that is straightforward and human? Communicating your professionalism and expertise while being personable and relatable is an art. It builds trust — the client feels secure and can rely on you to do the right thing for him or her. You become more than a financial advisor — you become indispensible.
More than ever before, people are desperate for information and education. Your clients look to you to provide those things in a clear, nonbiased way. Within a world of industry jargon and technical language, when financial services clients hear or read something that speaks to them instead of at them, they are shocked into attention.Avoid big words and simply say what you mean — this, in and of itself, is an art form. Most financial services firms don't even recognize that they are speaking another language to their clients.Be a resource for your clients and your industry. Too often, firms worry about giving away their secret sauce. A true craftsman believes no one can do what he can do. Leadership and education show that you're confident in your ability. Find a delivery method that allows you to talk to your clients using short, cogent updates.Do a webcast and invite all your clients, then get feedback from them about what they prefer and how often they'd like to receive it. The experimentation here is science, but how you use these tools to strengthen your relationships with your clients is art.A guiding rule for all communications: Speak human — allow your firm's communications to have some personality — a tone and voice that reflects the experience of working with you. Combine that with design that visually supports and reinforces that personality. Don't hesitate to get creative or color outside the lines. It is one of your most significant investments. If you go the extra mile in crafting the representation of your firm, it demonstrates the level of care and attention clients can expect to receive from you.The financial world is changing every three months. It can be an exciting time if you let it.