Effective communication skills are essential if you are to achieve successful outcomes for your business. Here are 4 relationship goals you should be striving for, along with the requisite soft skills you must possess if you are to realize them.
#1. Be understood
If you bring out the charts and numbers at the first meeting or use excessive financial jargon, you will confuse prospects and make them feel uncomfortable. And they won’t hire you – because people don’t buy things they don’t understand.
In the first meeting your aim is to communicate your value, not the fact you are great at interpreting spreadsheets. You need to get across that you understand your prospective clients’ needs and that you’re the right advisor to help them achieve their goals.
Famous quotes and sayings are short and pithy, yet they impart a wisdom that’s immediately understood. Make lucidity your Holy Grail. Strive to be clear and concise and remember you’re a techie talking to a non-techie.
It may be the first time a prospect has come across complex financial topics. They aren’t looking for information so much as working out whether they like you and trust you. Make them feel smart by keeping things simple because we all like people who make us feel smart.
Ditch the hyperbole and all talk around numbers and benchmarks. Discuss instead what you can do for these people.
#2. Ensure prospects understand the necessity of investing
Nothing positive will happen to your business unless your prospects can see a need to invest. It’s your job to use your communication skills to help them overcome their objections. Do this by drawing out their goals using open-ended questions. Encourage them to envision their ideal future in close up detail. Perhaps they’re dreaming of a comfortable retirement? If so, get them to create a vision of this future that’s palpable and full of color.
Help prospects ‘live out’ their vision. If they mention a condo, ask what kind of condo and where will it be – somewhere sunny? What will it feel like to wake up every day and look forward to a day of golf? What kind of golf clubs will they be using? The objective is to stir emotions and help them create a picture that’s so powerful that the future becomes something worth saving for. Great vision stories help shrink everyday problems and re-focus clients on the payoff.
You can then tell prospects that their goals are entirely achievable, but only so long as they start investing right away and stick to the plan.
#3.Obtain a full view of your prospects’ goals
You won’t be able to get a 360-degree view of a prospective client’s goals and motivations unless you listen to them. If you don’t know how to listen, you’ll never understand their concerns and without this you won’t be able to address their specific requirements.
Perhaps one of the most under-rated soft skills of all is the ability to listen. This is a communication skill that many advisors lack. You might think listening is easy, but this is often far from true.
The ability to listen, to truly ‘hear’ what prospects are saying, is an essential skill so learn when to stop talking. When you are listening all your attention should be focused on the prospect. Don’t get distracted, don’t drum your fingers on the desk and don’t interrupt. Speak when it’s your turn and not before.
#4. Ensure clients get to know you and trust you
Your business will flounder unless you can get people to like you and trust you. To help prospects get to know you and to create an initial rapport with them, develop a ‘who I am’ story. This should reveal the type of person you are when you’re not ‘on duty’ so make it about your background, family, motivations and hobbies.
If you became a financial advisor because you wanted to help people avoid making bad decisions, incorporate this into your story. Prospects need to see that you are a caring, authentic human being. Once they can see this, they will warm to you and start to believe they could trust you. This is the foundation of all that comes next, so make sure you’re prepared by practicing your story until you can tell it confidently.
In order to grow your business, you need to be able to make yourself understood, motivate people, uncover goals and establish trust. In order to accomplish these objectives, you will need effective communication skills. Take stock and assess the skills you need to work on. It may take time and perseverance to master them, but the payoff will be great.
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