Additional to the behavioural archetypes, a set of scales have been developed to assist advisers in rapidly understanding how best to approach a conversation with a new client. These help advisers map how an individual may respond to particular advice and approaches. The scales provide polar opposites, however individuals usually sit somewhere between the options. These scales include:
Open ------------------------------------------ Skeptical
Willingness or ability to discuss their current financial situation. Also perception around financial advice in general.
Confident ----------------------------------------- Unsure
Confidence in their ability to discuss finances and make appropriate decisions.
Extrovert ---------------------------------------- Introvert
The way in which an individual behaves in conversation.
Self ---------------------------------------- Others
Priority for who should be in mind when making financial decisions. Who benefits from how finances are allocated.
Using the scales
- Open to Skeptical
When communicating with clients who are more open to financial advice, they can be quicker and easier to engage than their more skeptical counterparts. However there are many tips and tricks advisers can use when communicating with clients who sit on the skeptical side of the spectrum.
- Show you understand their perspective - By showing you are aware of their reluctance, and where this comes from, clients are more likely to see you as on their level.
- Use empathy to connect with clients emotionally - Clients who feel confident in managing their own finances may reject the idea of paying for advice. Show that you offer more than what they can learn through the internet. You offer a bespoke program that is molded to their personal needs. You do this through connecting with them on a personal level. Show this emotional connection from the very first meeting by understanding their problems, fears, concerns.
- Reframe the conversation from one solely concerned with money, to one that will enable clients to live the lives they want - This a core element of Lumiant, and it can be extremely helpful when talking with skeptical clients. By showing that you will help them form a path that is based on their life goals and internal values, you are situating yourself as more than a financial adviser.
- Continually bring the conversation back to the clients’ goals and values - Demonstrating how the advice you give is linked to what the client is trying to achieve will serve to instill more confidence in your ability to provide a unique and informed perspective.
- Confident to Unsure
Discussing finances can be a very uncomfortable topic for some people, many of whom will avoid seeing a financial adviser altogether. You may encounter a client who is unsure or not very comfortable speaking openly about money, if they have been brought along by a partner, or if they are in a situation where they see no other options. These clients will require a specific way of approaching the conversation, however those who are very confident can also come with challenges.
- Facilitate the conversation so the less confident partner has a chance to have input - This can be a challenge if the more confident partner is used to taking a leading role when discussing finances. The Lumiant process can help this conversation by asking clients to speak about their personal values first, inviting the less confident partner to be part of the conversation from the very beginning.
- Make the conversation relevant to the clients - If you are speaking to a couple, it is vital that both parties can see how the discussion is relevant to their lives together. It is often not enough to speak about money on its own. Instead, you should work to bring the investment conversation back to how it will allow for the clients to achieve their goals.
- Extrovert to Introvert
Everyone sits somewhere on the spectrum from introvert to extravert, and can have changing tendencies depending on the situation. Where a client sits within this scale is likely to have a strong influence on how you interact with them. Once you have a good idea of where the clients sit, you can moderate your conversation style to best fit their needs.
- Get to know each client as a unique individual - While it is a spectrum, people are often aware of where they sit within this scale. Show that you are getting to know each client as an individual, and that you are aware of their needs.
- Open and end the conversation on a positive note - Those with extroverted personalities tend to remember a conversation based on how they perceive the social interaction went. By closing with something positive, you increase the likelihood for this memory to be a good one.
- Allow space for them to talk - This is important for both extroverts and introverts for different reasons. Extroverts tend to relish the opportunity to connect by sharing a story. This will provide you with a lot of information about what they value. Introverts may be more reluctant to begin sharing, so should be given the space when they do.
- Allow space to think - As well as creating the space for each partner to have their opportunity to talk, it is important to allow thinking time as well. This is especially the case when asking clients to perform deep reflective tasks such as choosing their Your Values cards. Allow a few moments of silence before inviting discussion where possible, to invite introspection. Be patient and give them the time they need to think. Also reduce the pressure by reminding your clients that their decisions will change over time, and that the role of your relationship is for an adviser to track these decisions as they change.
- Create a neutral and comfortable environment - Too much external stimuli can be anywhere from distracting, to overwhelming, depending on where along the spectrum a client sits. Minimise the amount of noise and distractions in the space where you hold these conversations, especially the more deep and personal discussions.
- Self to Others
When deciding where to prioritise resources such as time and funds, clients may lean more towards wishing to spend these on improving their own lives, or that of others. Their direction may be informed by personal preference, or it could be a reflection of where they are in their lives. Either way, it will tell you a lot about what financial advice to give. The other scales listed above illustrated aspects of a clients’ personality. The Self to Others scale is also about choice.
- When working with partners, encourage the couple to work together - Where clients sit on this scale will inform who they prioritise when allocating resources, so it is important that there is a discussion about this to align partners.
- Understand the ‘why’ behind their preferences - If a client wishes to allocate a portion of their wealth to others, it is good to know what motivates their decision. E.g. is it because they feel they are in a comfortable position, or because they have loved ones who need support? If a client wishes to spend more of their wealth improving their own situation, what do they feel they need to improve?