A training manual from a decade ago may have highlighted the importance of mapping your traits to one of three communication styles: aggressive, passive or assertive. Awareness of your own communication style helps you understand how others perceive your interactions, and allows you to adapt your approach with clients who have different styles.
While the advice is still relevant, there is another communication style to consider—mobile.
The mobile communicator believes in access. He or she should be accessible to clients 24/7, and vice versa.
Advisors with a more aggressive communication style should be able to alter their style when working with passive clients, but they must also demonstrate flexibility to move across the mobility spectrum.
Spectrem Group recently reported that 55% of high-net-worth clients use mobile devices to correspond with their advisors. Most mobile devices offer a variety of communication methods including telephone calls, text messages, e-mails, video chats, and social networking. How do you know which is the best to use with which clients?
The answer is quite simple. Don’t make assumptions. Find out if the clients want their appointments confirmed via text, e-mail or a phone call. Do they want newsletters and routine correspondence delivered in their mailbox at home, or their inbox? Would they prefer Skype sessions in lieu of face-to-face meetings? Is the landline number you have on file in service, or are they exclusively mobile users?
Adjusting to your clients’ communication method of choice will win you favor in a highly valued category. According to a recent survey, clients are more forgiving of poor investment advice from their advisor than they are of poor communication skills.
25% of the survey respondents indicated inaccessibility and unresponsiveness as the top reasons for lack of trust in a financial advisor. Coming in a distant second, at 13%, was poor investment advice. The third most prevalent reason for losing trust in a financial advisor was the lack of a personalized approach.
As with behavioral nuance, you must learn to respect other styles and adjust accordingly. By using your clients’ preferred communication methods, you will gain efficiency and build trust.