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As an advisor, effectively communicating with your clients is an integral part of maintaining and growing your business. In the current era of working from home and social distancing this task has been even more difficult as many face-to-face interactions have been replaced by phone calls and Zoom meetings. One way to make your client interactions more productive is to tailor your communication style to suit your audience. Today, we wanted to revisit some lessons we learned on this subject from Tony Fadool when he was the keynote speaker at our 2018 Spring Broker’s Institute in Las Vegas.
Tony was formerly the chief sales strategist for Federated Investors and has over 45 years of experience in the investment industry. Tony’s areas of expertise include business development and marketing; and over the course of his career, he has given presentations to thousands of advisors, bankers, and sales managers on these topics. He is also the author of “The Grass is Always Greener When You Water It: Common Sense Ways to Grow Your Sales.”
Tony’s keynote focused on adjusting your communication style to suit your client utilizing four personality types identified by marketing strategist and applied behavioral scientist, Dr. Tony Alessandra. Each of the four personality types has a preferred communication style, which Dr. Alessandra has described and which Mr. Fadool has worked with him to customize for use with investment clients and the investment sales process.
The four personality types are:
- The Relater
- The Socializer
- The Thinker
- The Director
The Relater seeks to connect with someone on a personal level. When a relater looks at their investment portfolio, they see their retirement house at the beach, not an account balance. It is very important to them that they feel they know you and vice versa. They will ask lots of questions about YOU. The Relater wants you to be personable and connect with them. The Relater will appreciate you talking about lots of things other than the business at hand. They build a view of you based upon how well they think they know you. The relater doesn’t care what you know until they know you care. You should adjust your communication with Relaters by taking time to get to know them. When you’re reviewing the results of a Relater’s investment portfolio, refer to the goals and people affected.
Similar to the Relater, the Socializer tends to focus on personal relationships. However, there is a critical difference between the two – the Socializer tends to be very self-focused. Socializers often want to share personal information before getting down to business. It is important for Socializers to feel that they are important to the process and that they have made intelligent decisions. Typically, Socializers are not overly concerned with details. Socializers assume a lot about the person or situation in front of them and mostly want to talk about themselves or the solution they are providing or receiving. Socializers like to know about the special services they are receiving – letting a Socializer know that they have qualified for “platinum” service will be meaningful to them. When interacting with Socializer clients, make sure you focus on the issues that are important to them and make them feel special.
The Thinker is the opposite of the Socializer. Thinkers have a deep need for information and no detail escapes them. Thinkers want in-depth reviews -- they probe with lots of questions, and they want you to demonstrate your expertise by giving them all of the details and information they need. Thinkers form their view of you based on how well you handle all of their questions and your ability to make them see you as a knowledgeable professional. Every detail and every explanation you provide builds a wall of trust and confidence. Every question you can’t answer or evade will remove some of that confidence. Glossing over data or offering minimal information will cause a Thinker to see you in an unfavorable light. When dealing with a Thinker, a good rule of thumb is: the more detailed, the better.
Like the Thinker, the Director is analytical; however, unlike the Thinker, they aren’t interested in the micro details and want more of a bird’s-eye view. The Director will tend to tell you what they want when they want it, and how much information they want. Directors are often light on the interpersonal skills of Relaters or Socializers. "Don't waste my time!" could be the Director’s motto. Have an agenda, cut to the chase, and provide what they want! Even on a phone call: "Mr. Smith I need 15 minutes of your time to get your decision on two issues. Is this a good time or should we reschedule?" They will see you as a professional who understands their importance and raise their esteem of your value. When you’re talking to a Director, focus on the key numbers and critical details. Respect a Director’s time, be prepared and concise, and they, in turn, will see you as an intelligent professional worthy of their respect.
Dorsey, Wright & Associates, LLC, a Nasdaq Company, is a registered investment advisory firm. Registration does not imply any level of skill or training.
Nothing contained within the article should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security, nor as a recommendation to engage in any transaction or participate in any strategy. This article does not attempt to examine all the facts and circumstances which may be relevant to any company, industry or security mentioned herein. We are not soliciting any action based on this article. It is for the general information of and does not constitute a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual clients. Before acting on any analysis, advice or recommendation (express or implied), investors should consider whether the security or strategy in question is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.