Dictionary meaning: “blind spot” a subject that you do not understand well, often because you do not want to know or admit the truth about it.
Most clients have a blind spot when it comes to financial management; but equally most advisors have a blind spot about who their clients are. The advisor often believes he or she can “read” people but it is natural the advisor will not be able to get a complete and objective understanding of the client regardless of their intuition or level of experience. Uncovering these blind spots has two powerful outcomes in the financial advisory process.
Firstly, for an advisor it increases their understanding of the importance of asking clients the right questions. Getting to know how clients are financially wired is a key to building relationships. Secondly, it uncovers the need for advisors to acquire skills that assist them to understand different client communication styles and how to use that knowledge to moderate/adjust communication styles to draw out information about clients’ financial behavior and decision making patterns, and from there adapt advice to better meet their needs.
The challenge for clients is that they don’t know what they don’t know and this leads to ‘blind spots’. They may well not be able to see opportunities in risk nor risk in opportunities, and advisors need to be able to expose these blind spots and the possible ‘history’ behind them. Being able to discover their future plans, their aspirations, their background and what has driven or influenced where they want to go in terms of wealth management ensures that advisors give targeted advice that will undoubtedly build stronger client/advisor relationships.
Sarah and Michael recently engaged to be married decided to speak to a financial advisor about planning their financial future. The advisor encouraged them to save and invest; to work towards owning their own property and gave them reading material to support the advice.
Sarah and Michael left confused and dissatisfied. They had wanted to talk about handling money responsibly; they wanted to ask questions about separate or joint accounts; they wanted to start a college fund for the future education of their hoped for children; they wanted to avoid debt but use and manage credit sensibly; they wanted to ask about a self-managed pension scheme; they wanted to share their dreams for the future and how they could build wealth to enable them to realize them.
Did the advisor give advice? Yes. Did the advisor uncover anything significant about these two ‘potential’ clients? No.
Had time been invested into asking questions, discovering their financial personality style uncovering their history, revealing any blind spots – the advisor would have discovered that Sarah’s parents divorced after mismanagement of finances that led to bankruptcy and she was determined that this should not happen to her but knew she had many concerns about never taking any risk with finances. Michael came from a long line of financially astute family members. As a family they openly discussed finances and understood the importance of encouraging the younger members to do likewise. Michael’s family through careful management had built up a significant wealth.
Had the advisor been behaviorally smart; had they objectively known the different behavioral styles and emotions of these clients which comes from using a formal behavioural discovery process; had the advisor been equipped to navigate human differences by discovering and aligning how to uncover different communication styles, behaviors, solution preferences and blind spots this story would have had a happier ending. As it was Sarah and Michael took their business elsewhere.
To learn more about uncovering the advisory blind spot, please visit the Financial DNA website .