At the recent Jolt Conference, Director of Marketing Elizabeth Reider met one of our influencers, Dr. Preston Cherry, who shared the art of storytelling for financial advisors. Dr. Cherry discussed some great practices we think advisors can implement today when sitting down to meet with a current or prospective client.
When you’re meeting with a client or prospect, it’s their turn to share; you want to connect with who they are and where they are. To that end, become a better listener; make eye contact, paraphrase what you’re hearing them communicate, and have a posture of engagement (don’t cross your arms, lean away, or avoid eye contact).
Remember that you don’t always have to fill the void with more stories and chatter; instead, give your client or prospect a moment to respond. Dr. Cherry said, if it makes you uncomfortable to sit silently, think about what’s going on around you. Is the air conditioning going? Is someone blowing leaves outside?
Above all, be intentional with how you respond. Actually listen to what your prospect or client is saying to be able to engage in the conversation. Make sure you have a couple of key stories in your back pocket so you can connect organically, such as a personal story about growing up or about a recent trip. Those can really help you be in the moment and connect based on what they’re sharing, so you can give something in return on the same level. The goal is to create a type of conversation flow that feels natural and not forced.
What NOT to Do
It’s important not to bring your own biases to meetings. Be open to seeing things from different perspectives and remaining neutral to get your client or prospect where they want to go.
During those introductory meetings, don’t drill them with questions; no one wants to be questioned to death. They want a conversation with you, not a clipboard; they want somebody who’s going to listen. Otherwise, they would just go to a robo-advisor online.
The Vulnerability of Self-Disclosure
I’ve heard many financial advisors share that they often feel as though they are playing the role of a therapist in their clients’ lives, as they’re walking them through some deeply emotional and sometimes traumatic experiences (selling a business, divorce, death of a spouse, etc.). In order to deepen interpersonal connection and facilitate trust, it helps to be transparent with clients, so they know you are and where you stand. When you open up about your personal experiences in an effort to normalize their experience, it can reinforce the principles you’re sharing with them.
However, it’s important to keep your disclosures brief, always maintaining a clear therapeutic purpose. You never want them to feel the need to care for you in the process (in the therapeutic world, this is known as counter-transference, where the therapist overidentifies or projects their own unresolved issues onto the clients). This can confuse the process and contaminate the work you’re doing with the client.
When you help your client identify their personal values, attitudes, and goals, you can help them determine their “why.” And when they discover their why, you can help design and build their plan to align.
We’re Here to Listen to Your Story
If you’re interested in hearing more tips, Dr. Cherry Preston has a podcast that I know you would find valuable. And if you have any questions about how you can connect more with your ideal audience, please schedule a free strategy session with one of our marketing specialists. We would love to share how we can help.
Let’s get started leveling up your marketing today!