Advisers are in the persuading business. First they need to persuade prospective clients to visit their website, then to meet with them, then to do business with them, and so on. And winning the client is just the start of it; they have to go on persuading them to retain their services year after year. Chances are, at some stage in the future, those same clients will also need persuading to ignore some hare-brained scheme they’ve read about in the papers, or to stay invested in equities when markets are tumbling.
Given how important persuasiveness is, then, to a successful career in financial advice, advisers really ought to invest some time in learning how to do it.
Thankfully, there is plenty of data-driven research on how to hone your persuasion skills. Dan Solin, a US-based consultant who specialises in helping advice firms to attract new clients, recently wrote a piece on this subject for Advisor Perspectives.
In it he refers to an article by marketing consultant Mark Schaefer, in which he recalls some advice once given him by persuasion guru Robert Cialdini. Schaefer asked Cialdini how to stand out “in this information-dense world.” Cialdini’s simply replied: “Be more human.”
“The biggest transformation I have seen in advisers,” says Solin, “is when I have encouraged them not to hide behind their formidable knowledge of the technical aspects of investing. Instead, I encourage them to relate to prospects and clients as people; to get to know them; to share experiences; to show vulnerability, compassion and — above all — empathy.”
Like Dan Solin, I too am a big fan of Robert Cialdini. His book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is one that every ambitious business owner should read. In it he identified six evidence-based ways of becoming more persuasive.
I’ve recently started a video series, based on the book, as part of a new video blog called #1MinuteContentMarketer, which you’ll find on the Ember Television website.
I hope you enjoy the series — and please do share these videos if you find them helpful.
The psychology of persuasion, part 2: Social proof
The psychology of persuasion, part 3: Commitment & consistency