25 things every Financial Adviser needs to know when dealing with clients

These are the points I made during a recent keynote presentation to financial advisers.

  1. The definition of presenting is any form of communication (one to one, one to few, one to many) where your objective is to change your client’s thinking or behaviour.
  2. We present and influence every day of our life – with our family, friends, clients, colleagues and suppliers. Our days and filled with negotiating, finding compromise, updating, advising and selling.
  3. Most people forget that we are actually presenting every day. So they treat their communication scenarios like informal conversations and don’t analyse their audience, prepare their message, and they definitely don’t take the time to rehearse. Instead they are more likely to ‘wing it’ – especially in sales!
  4. When asked about workplace presenters they had seen in the last 12 months in meetings, updates, one on ones and conferences; Only 38% of respondents thought the presenter understood their needs. More than half the respondents said that the presenter read from their PowerPoint slides or a third point like a Statement of Advice with no or little eye contact. Only 40% of respondents found the presenter to be engaging and persuasive. Only 28% of respondents said that they were moved to action after the most recent meeting they had been to.
  5. Expert presenters analyse their client, prepare their messages and even rehearse the delivery so they increase their chances of success. Expert presenters get into their client’s shoes and build both conscious and deep unconscious rapport so they can present meaningful, needs based solutions. Expert presenters know how to design, persuasive, powerful, memorable messages and as a result expert presenters close more deals.
  6. You can communicate with clients from three potential ‘positions’. 1st position is where you are in your own shoes – completely self indulgent and all you care about is yourself. 2nd position is where you are completely and utterly in your client’s shoes. 3rd Position is the helicopter view. From up in 3rd Position you can see your needs (1st Position) and you can see their needs (2nd Position) so from 3rd Position you can make some very good decisions about what is best for you and what is best for your client. Spend more time in 2nd and 3rd position than you currently do!
  7. Rapport is all about a relationship or connection with your client. It’s easier to build rapport with people who are like ourselves.
  8. You can’t ask for anything unless you are in rapport – well you can ask but they’ll probably say “no”!
  9. Pacing is being as ‘like’ your client as possible without mimicking them. You build rapport though pacing their body language, eye contact, voice, language, interests, dress and attitudes (to name just a few areas).
  10. Universals and truisms are statements that reflect back to the audience what they already know to be true. We call them ‘pacing statements’ because universals and truisms ‘pace’ your client’s attitudes.
  11. Your leading statement is your key message, it’s often contentious and your client needs to be open to believing it before you proceed.
  12. You don’t have permission to lead an audience without first pacing them.
  13. The number of pacing statements that you need to use to be a master of influence is directly related to the existing level of rapport. Note that you can be in (or out) rapport using two separate criteria: 1. Personally; 2. Contextually. If rapport is non-existent using either criteria you need at least 3 pacing statements before you lead.
  14. The filter that determines our propensity to accept information on face value or not is called the Matcher/Mismatcher filter. People with a matching preference are those who look for what is true and correct, for what matches what they know to be true. People with a simple unsecured loans look for what is different to what they know to be true – where their reality is different to the presenter’s reality.
  15. To meet the needs of both preferences in your client group avoid absolutes in your pacing statements such as “never”, “all”, “everyone”, “must”, “should” and use CABS instead: “or not”, “many”, “most”, “some”, “few”.
  16. “No” is just feedback that you didn’t pace enough or properly.
  17. It’s not about me, it’s all about the client. It’s not about what you want to say or the way you want to say it, it’s not about how you want to stand, sit or move your body, and it’s definitely not about the PowerPoint slides you want to show. It’s all about your client and what they need to hear from you in order to understand your message and change their behaviour accordingly. Understand this and you’ll never be ‘nervous’ or lacking confidence as a communicator again.
  18. You can’t really connect with your client unless you’ve taken the time to be in control of yourself, your message and your environment. “I am in control”
  19. Expert presenters ‘connect’ with the whites of their client’s eyes. Be sure to see their shoes, their clothes, their features and their mannerisms and also SEE the person – the real live human being with whom you have the honour and opportunity to connect with and advise.
  20. Remember, it’s the exact same physiological experience for you whether you are nervous or excited.
  21. The only thing that determines whether the interaction will be a negative or positive experience is the ‘word’ you choose to use to describe it. Not NERVOUS – Excited, Stimulated, Energised, Ready, Pumped, Funny Tummy. I’ve got a funny tummy, but not to worry!
  22. It’s best to manage objections BEFORE they are raised. We manage objections with the POO technique – Pacing Out Objections and we don’t say ‘but’.
  23. ‘But’, ‘However’, ‘Alternatively’, ‘Although’ all negate what you have just said and activate the fight/flight response in the other party and incite them to fight you! Choose to say “and”, “so”, or just pause and say nothing at the link.
  24. As you can’t always foresee every single objection that could be raised, you can also use the POO technique for managing objections when they are raised.
  25. Before the presentation or meeting, use the power of positive self talk and positive thinking. Remind yourself you’ve done the hard work. Tell yourself you are the expert and you know what you are talking about. Once the meeting with the client is over, expert presenters take 5 minutes to think through what went well, what they need to do more of, and what they should improve. So take the time to congratulate yourself on the things that went well in the presentation and determine where you need to improve for next time.

I know you know this, it’s not rocket science, so take the time to plan your meetings in advance, analyse your performance at the conclusion of every meeting and continuously strive to be an expert adviser who masters the craft of expert presenting.
Good luck!