It’s been proven time and time again – emotions drive decision making. By properly uncovering a prospect’s and client’s emotional needs, financial advisors can help them make rational, informed choices. You can help them avoid impulse decisions that may harm their well-being, such as letting an insurance policy lapse or coming out of the market at the wrong time.
To serve the emotional needs of your prospects and clients, you first need to get them to emote. This only happens by asking the right questions and really listening.
The Common Emotional Needs
Let’s first acknowledge the obvious needs we all know clients have. Clients want an advisor they can trust. They need financial security in their lives. They want transparency and good communication. It’s why we exist as financial professionals.
That being said, it’s also important to address the emotional needs that are often overlooked and what we can do to engage these needs.
1. Minimizing Stress and Anxiety
Clients want to minimize stress and anxiety in their daily lives. The stress of taking care of family members, worrying about money in retirement, or running a household amidst rising expenses all contribute to stress.
BUT HERE’S THE PROBLEM.
Oftentimes, the way an advisor engages a prospect or client can create more stress and anxiety – and because of this the prospect or client often delays moving forward. Many advisors will say, “I do a good job explaining my value. I have great conversations with prospects, but then I never hear from them again. How do I improve my closing skills?”
It’s often not closing skills that are the problem. It’s usually something that happens much earlier in the process. In most cases, the advisor is not engaging the prospect’s emotional needs the right way.
For example, if you speak in jargon or overly focus on the technical features of a product or service, this can confuse prospects and cause them to feel more stress and anxiety. Rambling on about the ins and outs of different products as a way to showcase your value doesn’t help if the person didn’t ask. In fact, it can cause them to feel overwhelmed.
Prospects and clients want to know the outcomes you can create for them. Remember, clients rarely speak in technical terms. They speak in emotional terms, such as:
- I want to have a more secure financial future.
- I want to set a good example for my children and grandchildren.
- As a business owner, I want someone to help me balance my personal and business cash flows so I can focus on other things in life.
HOW TO ADDRESS THIS NEED: The answer is to speak in layman’s terms. Keep reiterating what is important to your client. Focus on how you can address their needs and emphasize the outcomes and benefits this will create for them.
2. Being Fully Understood and Heard
The second emotional need clients have is to be fully understood and heard. Advisors focus significant time demonstrating their own confidence when they should be focused on getting the prospect or client to feel confident about them. This only happens if the advisor uncovers the deeper issues at hand.
Many advisors try to help by immediately jumping to solve a problem as soon as they hear it expressed. In most cases, however, the advisor may be speaking too early before they’ve uncovered the real issue. You might end up incessantly talking about a solution that isn’t even relevant.
For example, we recently helped a financial advisor who was very excited because they landed the most significant prospect of their career. The wife was a business owner, and the husband managed several real estate rental properties. Both had previous marriages and they are now planning their new life together. Early on in the conversation the husband mentioned his love for his 15-year-old stepdaughter.
The husband asked if the advisor does trust planning. Trying to showcase his value, the advisor went on an endless loop about estate planning, the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts, how he doesn’t write the trusts – a lawyer does, etc. Then the advisor said if everything was set up properly, their stepdaughter could run their rental properties and take over things for them in the next 10 years.
Unfortunately, what the advisor failed to uncover is the stepdaughter has significant special needs and is nonverbal. The advisor could have simply said, “Yes, we help several clients with trust planning. Why is this important for you and your family if you don’t mind me asking?”
By taking the time to ask a few more questions about why the husband was inquiring about trust planning, the couple could have expressed what they were really looking to achieve with a special needs trust and a very awkward situation could have been avoided.
HOW TO ADDRESS THIS NEED: The takeaway here is to slow down and ask more questions. Seek clarity when your prospect or client brings up a concern or topic before trying to solve the problem. Make sure you fully understand why they are focused on a particular topic.
3. PERSONAL ATTENTION
All prospects and clients want attention. They want to feel that they matter. This is a broad topic which includes not just caring about a client but caring for the client. It’s remembering the little things.
Perhaps you always have their favorite iced tea on hand if they come to your office, or you accommodate their desire for phone calls vs. Zoom meetings.
Every relationship requires proactive personal attention. As such, it is important to remember that relying on email marketing or digital newsletters alone won’t cut it. In fact, too many clients will say, ‘I heard a lot from my advisor in the early stages of getting to know each other and then their communication seemed to tail off over time.’
HOW TO ADDRESS THIS NEED: Clients don’t want to feel like an account or a sale you made. When a client calls in asking for their account value, portfolio balance, or the cash value in their life insurance policy, don’t just say, “Let’s look up your account.” Say, “I’ll be happy to share that with you and also let’s see where you are in terms of your goals.”
If you can restate to your prospect or client the goals they originally shared, it reinforces they are in the right place with you and your firm.
If the market takes a significant downturn, don’t wait for your best clients to call. Call them and let them know what is going on in the market and what you are doing behind the scenes on their behalf. Always use the phrase what you are doing on their behalf, because it demonstrates personal attention.
Perhaps your client prefers executive summaries vs. a full review of all their accounts or policies. Be cognizant of a client’s personality and their preferences.
If you have several widows in your client base, on Valentine’s Day you might call them and let them know you are thinking of them. It’s the unexpected and little things that matter.
Coming off this recent pandemic, clients want their sense of structure back. The more you stay focused on them, the more confident they will feel in you and your value.
The Real Benefit
Clients who receive emotional support, in addition to sound financial guidance, are more likely to stay with you long-term. In fact, they will be delighted. This fosters an ongoing relationship, positive word of mouth, and helps you expand your client base.
This industry is competitive. Advisors who take into account their prospects’ and clients’ emotional needs will undoubtedly stand out. You will be viewed as more valuable because you genuinely care about their success and well-being.
Addressing your prospects’ and clients’ emotional concerns further encourages open communication. When prospects and clients feel comfortable discussing their emotions, fears, uncertainties, and aspirations, you can provide more tailored and relevant advice. This results in better financial solutions that align with your clients’ values and goals.