The financial adviser is supposed to be an influencer…our purpose is to influence others to make better decisions than they would otherwise have made.
In order to become a more effective adviser the ongoing development of the skills that are required to deliver influential advice should be deliberately developed. But what are the essential skills that lead to influence for an adviser in today’s world of fast-moving, mobile-search-driven, value-conscious consumers?
I believe there are 5 essentials, and they are:
1. THE number 1 skill today is reputation management.
This about building, developing and promoting a great personal brand. Every advisers’ professional reputation is their brand, and it follows that each adviser today must be great at being their own reputation manager. It cannot be contracted out to a PR firm or marketing manager, and it cannot be ignored. Everything you do in the real world or online today adds to or detracts from your brand…your personal reputation. It must be managed well if you want to be able to influence others.
The media carries examples every week of a business person, or celebrity, or sports-person, or politician, who has engaged in an incredibly thoughtless and stupid pronouncement in real time on Twitter or LinkedIn. It is no different for any financial adviser, although our spheres of influence are often much much smaller than the high profile examples. Mis-management of a reputation or personal brand can occur today in just 140 characters….vigilance and continual development of skill in this area is critical.
2. The second of the key skills is managing transparency.
Transparency is not just about the compliance aspects of revealing costs, fees or conflicts of interest. Building trust through transparency is not triggered by customer request or a law…creating trust through transparency it is an attitude. It is about understanding and pre-empting the unasked questions that todays consumers have, and then proactively answering them without the consumer having to ask the awkward questions openly.
Transparency is also about being personable and open as a human being….being able to connect to other humans at an emotional level is essential for building any relationship, including a robust and valued advice relationship. Transparency is open-ness: being open professionally, and being open as a person, so potential clients can genuinely get to know and trust the adviser.
3. An essential skills which scares many advisers is the concept of “Persuasiveness”.
Persuasiveness is not just about “selling ability” – it is the ability to shape thinking and coach change of behaviour in others.
Being persuasive does involve being a salesperson as well as a coach as well as a great facilitator. Being able to influence clients to react positively to new information and strategies, and to change behaviour and attitudes requires all of the skills of all 3 of those roles – selling, coaching, & facilitating. Only then can a professional be completely equipped to create the necessary positive changes that clients need. The ability to persuade others to change course is a critical skill too.
4. It is positively Darwinian: advisers must be adaptable.
Adjust and adapt quickly in order to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world…learn how to do it, or die commercially. That is the reality today.
Embracing new thinking, new technology, new professional standards, new research, new trends in behaviour or society….”new” things are the new normality. Change will not stop. Change will only accelerate.
Adaptability is the key to thriving in the new normal.
5. The final essential skill is being perceptive.
Perceptive means understanding intuitively…without necessarily needing an explanation. Understanding what is not being said is just as important today as understanding what is being said. Determining motives and attitudes and personality traits and drivers of behaviour…without needing a 40 page fact-finding document to remind you of the questions that lead to a limited form of perception is a highly developed skill.
Questionnaires and compliance tools will only ever go so far in helping an adviser to understand a client. They are helpful…..but the adviser is the part that captures that which is not said or stated overtly by consumers, and it is often the unspoken thoughts which are most influential. The advisers ability to perceive those things is one of the keys to being an effective influencer with consumers.
The advisers who will thrive in the rapidly changing professional world will of course have strong technical competencies and knowledge, as will those who merely survive. The difference between the survivors and thrivers is the development of the soft skills which help influence change in others.
That is the advisers role of course, isn’t it?
What to Do When Life Is Disappointing
Bridging The Performance Management Gap With Career Pathing
Motivation and an Open Mind are Essential to Become a Great Entrepreneur
The FinCommunications Story: What’s Yours?
Marketing to Young Professionals and Athletes
Making the Distinction Between Gambling and Investing
Is Deferred Compensation Holding You Captive?
How to Start Your Journey to Be Different
The Question ‘Why’ Expands Your Opportunity
What If Magic Was Part Of Your Strategy?
Explore Investment Insights18 hours ago
The Future of E-Commerce and Retail Will Be Written in China
Leadership18 hours ago
The Most Effective Way to Influence Others
Financial Podcasts18 hours ago
Become the Master of Your Own Time
Investing in Life2 days ago
Storyselling: Six Magic Words Guaranteed to Engage Your Clients
Development2 days ago
How to Offer More to Your Ideal Clients
Solutions2 days ago
Top 4 Themes in Impact Investing Right Now
Investments3 days ago
Global Equity Views 4Q 2018
Development3 days ago
How To Deliver Value During Prospect Engagement