Top Client Communication Strategies for Financial Advisors

Reh Bhanji (Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter)

Table of Contents

I cannot stress enough the importance of client communication strategies for financial advisors. If I had a nickel every time a new client said their former financial advisor made them feel like just another number… well let’s just say I could’ve retired long ago sipping mojitos on a beach in Naples, Florida! Does that sound familiar at all?

Oh and let me let you in on a little secret… your expertise on stocks, bonds, and asset allocation is secondary. What matters most is your ability to communicate effectively and guide clients through major financial decisions with clarity and compassion.

Don’t get me wrong. Yes, you do need technical portfolio management strategies too. But client communication and relationships separate the decent financial advisors from the cream-of-the-crop. The best financial advisors don’t just clinically prescribe financial products. They understand clients at a profoundly human level and meet them wherever they’re at on life’s winding path.

Even the most financially sophisticated executives still crave basic human connection around major money decisions. That’s the hidden gap robo-advisors will never fill, no matter how slick their algorithms get!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Show genuine interest in clients’ lives beyond just their finances to build trust and loyalty. Ask about family, hobbies, goals – this personal touch strengthens relationships.
  • Actively listen more than speak during client conversations. Ask open-ended questions to uncover motivations and priorities to then provide tailored guidance.
  • Use clear, simple language clients understand when explaining complex topics. Avoid financial jargon and meet them at their level of knowledge.
  • Break down big, long-term financial goals into smaller, manageable milestones. This makes huge targets feel less intimidating and more achievable.
  • Analyze and track communication metrics like referrals and retention rates. This allows you to see what client communication strategies work versus what needs rethinking.
  • Customize communication channels – phone, email, text, video – based on individual client preferences for convenience. Different folks like different platforms.
  • Show clients they are valued beyond their portfolios with small, thoughtful gestures. Following up after a medical procedure or remembering a child’s event builds lasting loyalty.

Communication Channel Cheat Sheet

Channel Communication Channel is Best For Communication Tips
In-Person Meeting Building new relationships, addressing sensitive topics, conveying complex information. Personal connection, read non-verbals, engage fully. Make warm small talk first, give your full attention, mirror body language. Have snacks and beverages to break ice. Outline key objectives beforehand. Take detailed notes about personal info revealed.
Phone Calls Quick check-ins, following up after meetings. Convenient, flexible timing, document talking points easily. Schedule regular call cadence (e.g. monthly, quarterly), take notes, recap action items. Text agenda day before.
Video Calls Simulates in-person discussion minus commute, visual component helps. See facial expressions and body language, screensharing ability, saves travel time. Test technology beforehand, maintain eye contact, mute when not speaking. Follow up with summary email or video PDF after.
Video PDFs Explaining complex concepts and documents, building authority, sharing insights and educating. Combines visual explanation with PDF's accessibility. Keep videos concise (under 5 mins). Promote through email and social channels. Script out talking points to keep video concise. Include links to helpful resources. Track PDF engagement.
Email Sharing documents and reports, quick impersonal updates. Easy to include attachments, schedules delivery, written record. Respond promptly, customize messages, avoid complex subjects. Mostly use for quick questions and reminders. Don’t overload client with frequent emails. Move longer chats to scheduled call.
Text Messages Ultra-fast response needs, confirm appointments / meetings. Immediate response expected, casual tone appropriate. Keep conversations short, don’t sell actively, use sparingly.
Printed Letters / Cards Develop rapport, shows extra effort. Tangible and permanent, space for personal message. Write specific personal notes, leverage milestones like birthday.
Custom branding
Showcase your brand.
Video narrations
Easily video-narrate PDF presentations or key documents when needed (otherwise video is optional). Redo slide if you made a mistake. Use built-in teleprompter to record longer videos.

Data rooms
Attach any supporting files and links. Make it easy for your prospects and clients to find the right information quickly.

Company profiles
Create company profiles with custom banners and info-packages tailored to different industries.
Contact details
Show your contact info easily accessible by your prospects and clients.
Custom CTAs
Add custom CTAs to drive prospects or clients to your calendar, sign up form, etc.
Engagement analytics
See how prospects and clients interact with your PDFs.

Feedback and Reactions
Collect feedback from prospects and clients. Feedback and reactions are not publicly visible.
Share PDFs
Share any existing PDF presentations and documents.
Live links
Share with a single link. Update files even after sharing your link. Get notified when your PDF is viewed. Turn off access anytime.

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Why Financial Advisor-Client Communication Strategies Are Important

With over two decades under my belt as National Best Practice Leader at Desjardins, I’ve tested different strategies to foster client satisfaction, including loyalty and growth. But hands down, the #1 skill that has led to me to observe successful advisor behaviours year after year is client communication.

I learned this the hard way early on in my career starting out as a financial advisor back in 1998. I prided myself on sharp analysis and structured financial plans, completely overlooking the financial advisor-client communication piece. Then I scratched my head wondering why clients rarely followed through! I offered sound financial advice and guidance while failing at the communication skills and relationship fundamentals.

Every individual brings different goals, values and attitudes around money to the advisor-client relationship. And as Jess Fraser has shared on our Discovery Series Unplugged podcast, major life events can suddenly shift your financial situation, priorities and emotions significantly.

So why does communication serve as the lynchpin that holds every financial advisor-client relationship together and takes it to the next level?

1. Communication skills help build an emotional bridge.

Here’s the reality – money talk still makes many uncomfortable. As financial advisors, part of our role involves navigating tricky conversations around illness, loss, retirement, debt, major purchases and more. So when major crises hit, tough topics arise or big decisions loom, I make it a point to foster safe space for heart-to-heart talks. You can swap the suit and office for a relaxed coffee shop couch session.

Demonstrating compassion for client situations builds trust in spades. When you relate advice in supportive vs cold ways during rocky moments, you’ll find clients actually listen and implement better in the end.

2. Communication skills help uncover client motivations.

Here’s where things get spicy! By probing clients casually through ongoing conversation, you can slowly uncover pain points around money tied to past hard knocks. Did a market meltdown years back leave them hesitant about investing? Maybe they feel queasy about debt after witnessing parents struggle. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Is leaving an inheritance paramount? Is a dream second home the 10-year target?

Once you unlock trigger points, it’s like a blueprint for then mapping suitable financial strategies to turn trauma into triumph. Aligning plans to deeply personal stuff makes following my guidance feel right.

3. Effective communication allows for course corrections.

And let’s get real. Life throws curveballs. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The only constant in life is change, especially massive plot twists no one sees coming! Careers change, health falters, industries evolve.

When unexpected health diagnoses hit or jobs implode or stocks tank, you’ve already solidified trust with clients through back-and-forth rapport. So when a crisis strikes, you simply guide tough choices while considering emotions, not just logistics. Ongoing dialogue means you can pivot recommendations when new developments totally flip scenarios too.

So why does financial advisor-client communication matter so much? Because it is the adhesive binding financial advisors and clients together on the long, winding road towards achieving financial aspirations.

Don’t underestimate the power of mixing personal touch and banter amidst money matters. Bonding over someone’s small business idea or retirement dreams rather than drilling budget numbers alone paves the way for client retention that can weather any storm. Think friend versus forecaster!

INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS
Reh Bhanji (Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter)
Reh Bhanji (CFP, CLU)

National Best Practice Leader at Desjardins

Effective Communication is Key in the World of Robo-Advisors

So you’ve probably noticed those fintech robo-advisors popping up everywhere lately. And they’re definitely competition nipping at our heels as financial advisors! With algorithmic asset allocation and dirt cheap fees, the robo-advisors want a piece of our business.

But here’s the thing – automated investment management will never fully replace the value of human financial advisors. At the end of the day, clients want a trusted second opinion during major financial decisions from someone who knows them personally.

That’s our edge! No mobile app or faceless chatbot can fake… the genuine human touch! At least not yet.

However, just relying on stale relationship-building tactics isn’t enough anymore either as technology raises expectations. Clients today want financial advisors who provide bespoke guidance and high-touch communication but also integrate technology.

The key is embracing technology to enhance your offerings rather than avoid it altogether. Find ways to showcase your unparalleled emotional intelligence mixed with digital convenience.

This balancing act hits the client sweet spot – high-tech AND high-touch! So don’t fear the rise of robo-advisors… see it as an opportunity to showcase your personalized communications and service that no iPhone app can replicate.

Double down on the human empathy and ability to cheerlead clients through major money decisions or life changes. That realness simply can’t be coded or commoditized. And never lose sight that behind every portfolio statement is a human who needs your compassion and clarity.

Have Courageous Conversations with Clients

You want to support clients with care and clarity without overstepping. And hide those knocking knees under the conference table so they feel confident in your guidance! The fact is, for many advisors, it’s easier said than done though.

Here’s exactly how to start, navigate, and close courageous conversations that deepen loyalty and referrals:

How to effectively start in-person meetings?

When that in-person meeting invite pops up with a client you haven’t spoken to in awhile, would you admit that occasional pang of anxiety still sometimes creeps in? What if your alignment is totally off from where it needs to be? How do you re-establish trust quickly when challenging money issues need addressing? As Jess Fraser shared on the Discovery Series Unplugged podcast, establishing positive intent before interactions focuses us inward to then show up fully present.

In my experience, leading with empathy and positivity rather than defaulting into business briefing mode is your best bet.

Here are my top three tips for starting sitdowns on the right foot:

  1. Start every client conversation by first getting into the right headspace. Take 10-30 seconds to center yourself and set the right frame of mind. Set your intention. Perhaps reflect briefly on the privilege of potentially bettering this person’s life or feeling immense gratitude you get to do this work. Open with appreciative questions unrelated to money – “How are you and your family doing?” or “What’s bringing you joy lately?” Too often, especially as calculative financial types, most financial advisors’ instinct is to jump right into logistics – portfolios, policies, risk metrics. But releasing any stressors clears the deck to be mentally available.
  2. Then kick off your meeting highlighting what’s currently working well before diving into problems. Devote the first 10 – 15 minutes of client meetings to non-money topics that show genuine interest in lived experiences. Ask about that Italy trip they once dreamed about finally becoming a reality or how their kid is enjoying college on the scholarship you helped facilitate. When you accentuate the wins upfront, it builds momentum to courageously problem-solve together after.
  3. Finally, listen way more than speak! I know I know, It takes discipline to zip lip, especially when meeting face-to-face where awkward silence can creep in. But resist the urge to default to spewing facts and figures before allowing clients to share what’s on their mind. Pay close attention to the emotions and body language behind their words too, not just the content. And try mirroring back what you hear in their own language to help clients feel heard and cared for.

In my experience, this communication routine sets the stage for productive yet caring advisor-client conversations. When clients feel safe to open up about hopes, concerns, and fears, you can then co-create optimal financial plans and solutions tailored to what matters most in clients lives. First connect on a human level, then consult as a financial advisor.

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How to effectively communicate with clients during meetings?

I’ve had my fair share of tough money talks. But here’s the deal folks – financial advisors build rock solid loyalty asking tough questions around money issues empathetically. I always recommend financial advisors to try put themselves in their clients’ shoes.

Life happens and in vulnerable moments, finances aren’t top priority – but money worries inevitably come up. Now our role as financial professional extends far beyond dollars and ROIs. These are human beings needing guidance, empathy and genuine care while navigating profound life changes.

On the Discovery Series Unplugged podcast, Jess spoke about “meeting people where they are at” and her mom processing a tough health diagnosis. Well financial advisors must apply that same care for clients battling anxiety or confusion on finances, right?

Rather than jump right to solutions, do everything to uncover their deeper motivations and priorities first. If retirement is the big goal but market volatility has them anxious, break things down into daily targets. Try to normalize any feelings of fear or uncertainty. Never minimize what clients are going through. Create a step-by-step plan to help them gain more control. Feeling of staying in control will help reduce fear and anxiety. This is the key! Wouldn’t you agree?

For example, with clients overwhelmed just surviving day-to-day, I suggest regularly journaling even small money objectives monthly, celebrating inch-stones reached. Jess spoke about the rush of dopamine tracking micro-wins amidst the daily hustle grind. Saving pennies weekly towards a vacation seems less daunting than a giant retirement number inducing stress. Tracking micro-progress keeps motivation steady!

As advisors our duty involves investigating and understanding what informs client financial behaviors below the surface. Does an immigrant childhood around scarcity drive current risk aversion? Did beloved grandparents model generously giving to charity now inspiring donation goals for retirement? I suggest you use open-ended questions clients can respond to conversationally, not closed queries eliciting simple yes / no.

Investment balances can read as boring digits on screen until financial advisors present them as fuel for deeply meaningful goals. “Jessica, sticking to depositing only $300 monthly here means that 20th anniversary dream trip to Hawaii you and Will have discussed happens without increasing debt load.” Paint targets focused around legacy, lifestyle, family – whatever a client values most at a soul level.

Finally I echo Jess in believing calmly sharing personal concerns and uncertainties profoundly defuses clients’ money worries and reluctance too. I’m honest when market volatility also gives me pause occasionally.

The bottom line is financial guidance has profound emotional layers too. Your mission is helping every client feel genuinely seen, heard and cared for. The technical elements come second. End of the story.

How to effectively close meetings?

If one piece of the client chat puzzle I’ve observed through years of trial and error it’s wrapping up sessions effectively. Be the financial advisor that clarifies next steps for both parties. Shower your clients with gratitude and appreciation for their time and willingness to share openly. Even when tricky topics like debt or illness dominate discussion.

Here are the three non-negotiables I recommend you checkoff before clients exit your office:

  1. Recap Key Next Steps and Commitments: Assuming clients retain everything covered is a risky move. It backfired on me back in the day. That’s why I recommend you devote the last 5 minutes to crisply summarizing main points covered and concrete commitments each of you make related to next steps. Vagueness goes out the window – who does what by when gets cemented clearly.
    For example: “Avril, by next Tuesday please complete the personal inventory of assets questionnaire I’m sending over. I commit to reviewing your responses in depth to then outline my recommended next steps, does that sound like a plan?”
  2. Express Gratitude and Appreciation: I believe firmly in accentuating client positives – both who they are and the effort they give. Before parting ways spotlight your gratitude for their openness and why you value the relationship.
    For example: “Sam, I truly appreciate how you shared your story today…” demonstrate thanks while validating trust displayed.
  3. Book Next Meeting ASAP: This is non-negotiable! Solidify the next meeting in writing before any client departs. Date, time and clear purpose for reconnecting get cemented immediately in both our calendars. This accountability ensures effective communication flow between sessions, which you need to fine tune to client life happenings. Stay connected by sending updates using video PDFs. More frequent check-ins when times get tough. Annually when smooth sailing. My personal dental receptionist gets a gold star for this approach!
Custom branding
Showcase your brand.
Video narrations
Easily video-narrate PDF presentations or key documents when needed (otherwise video is optional). Redo slide if you made a mistake. Use built-in teleprompter to record longer videos.

Data rooms
Attach any supporting files and links. Make it easy for your prospects and clients to find the right information quickly.

Company profiles
Create company profiles with custom banners and info-packages tailored to different industries.
Contact details
Show your contact info easily accessible by your prospects and clients.
Custom CTAs
Add custom CTAs to drive prospects or clients to your calendar, sign up form, etc.
Engagement analytics
See how prospects and clients interact with your PDFs.

Feedback and Reactions
Collect feedback from prospects and clients. Feedback and reactions are not publicly visible.
Share PDFs
Share any existing PDF presentations and documents.
Live links
Share with a single link. Update files even after sharing your link. Get notified when your PDF is viewed. Turn off access anytime.

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Unlock Client Insights with PDF Analytics

Identify your most engaged prospects and clients. Elevate your communication strategies through in-depth analysis of PDF engagement data. Learn more.

Analyze Client Communication

If there’s one piece of the puzzle I finally solved in my advisor evolution, it was learning to analyze how all my schmoozing and strategizing actually moves needles for clients. I had to get sharp assessing what communication channels and conversation topics truly helped versus just made me feel good.

Here’s how I break down impact to take successful relationship-building to the next level:

  1. Review Progress Made with Compassion: Every 3-6 months I recommend you insist on dedicated check-in sessions allowing your clients to honestly share what financial advice or support you served them best since last connect. But deliver requests gently. No pressure cookers here! “John, looking back what conversations or pointers on budgeting landed well for you? What still feels fuzzy so I can improve?” Take notes to customize next quarter better.
  2. Quantify Milestones and Achievements: While money talks, most clients’ eyes glaze over just reviewing statements. So you need to spotlight progress towards bigger lifestyle dreams using meaningful metrics beyond balances. “Hey, Chris you stuck to an automatic $200 monthly savings deposit all quarter – way to crush it! At this rate you’ll be lounging on the beachfront in Jamaica this Christmas!” Celebrate every goal advancement. You feel me?
  3. Adjust Goals Based on New Situations: Look, life happens and financial targets require frequent course correcting! During check-ins I always recommend financial advisors probe how evolving family needs or economic events might shift monetary must-dos, then recalibrate. “Alright Jane, if we punt that kitchen remodel to next year to accommodate your maternity leave stretch, let’s redirect funds towards finally attacking that student loan debt, ok?” Collaborative flexibility here wins loyalty.
  4. Consider Areas For Relationship Growth: Next you should consider reflecting on misfired moments that require reframing. Maybe you unknowingly cut off narrative around retirement plans to pitch a product. Or missed queues from quieter clients signaling discomfort breaching death benefits. I recommend you use these insights to customize tailoring per individual personalities and cautions moving forward.
  5. Record Your Meetings (with explicit permission!): I’ll let you in on a little secret that can make all the difference in your practice and help you improve your communication skills – with explicit permission, record your client meetings and listen them back to identify areas for improvement. Video-conferencing tools like Google Meet and Zoom make recording calls very easy. I know it may sound intense, but actively listening to yourself can be a game-changer.

Here are three key things I suggest you analyze when reviewing past client communications:
Were you fully present and actively listening? Or were you distracted and missing important cues from the client? Remember – communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words (Albert Mehrabian).

Did you use clear and simple language that the client could easily understand? Or did you rely too much on financial jargon? Meet your clients where they are at.
Were your questions open-ended to draw out goals and priorities? Or did you stick to a rigid script? Let the client’s goals guide the conversation.

Making small tweaks to how you communicate based on the client communications analysis can have an outsized positive impact on client experience. Trust me on that! Not only will your messages land more effectively, but clients will feel heard and understood. That means increased trust, strong relationships, and more referrals. Don’t be afraid to analyze yourself. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s well worth it!

INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS
Reh Bhanji (Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter)
Reh Bhanji (CFP, CLU)

National Best Practice Leader at Desjardins

How to Overcome Difficult Conversations with Clients

Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room as financial advisors. Having tricky talks with your clients is gonna happen. It’s part of this business. Even as a seasoned financial chatterbox, I still get sweaty palms facing certain dialogues.

I’m gonna level set with you. High emotion, tensions blazing, fear and uncertainty swirling. These critical money conversations can get messy fast if you’re not prepared how to handle them. And without the right communication strategy, one wrong phrase or gesture can cost you a client’s trust and loyalty in two seconds flat. Not joking. You don’t want to crater relationships built over many years in an instant.

1. Preparation.

Preparing mentally and emotionally prevents me spinning out though. I’ve learned the hard way that avoidance only exacerbates issues and erodes trust over time.

Try these strategies I personally lean on before engaging in difficult conversations with your clients:

  • One – Get centered. These chats can get emotional, fast. So take 5 to breathe deep, repeat an affirmation, something to chill out the nerves so you can keep it real with compassion.
  • Two – Put yourself in their shoes. Each person reacts uniquely when stuff gets real. So visualize how this could go down based on what you know makes them tick. Now you can flow better with their style.
  • Last – Map the route forward. Challenging conversations aren’t just problems, they’re opportunities to rebuild trust with the client. Plot out potential solutions, resources you can extend, compromises you can suggest. This shows you’re here to help.

I ready myself to listen more than strategize. When you stand in their shoes first, co-designing beneficial paths gets infinitely easier. The prep sets you up for client-focused conversations. And that’s how you earn loyalty in this business.

2. During Conversation.

Alright, so you’ve prepped well and now you’re sitting down for one of those difficult conversations. This is where active listening comes into play, folks. You gotta be fully present. No judgment, just open ears to take it all in. Also, I recommend you look at situations like that from the other perspective. Embrace difficult conversations as an opportunity to cement strong relationship and loyalty.

It’s hard not to get in your own head though! So here’s the deal – use their language, mirror their body language. If they’re sitting back looking tense, you sit back too. If they start getting animated with their hands, you follow suit. Just don’t over do it! This shows you’re in it together.

And don’t go firing off solutions just yet – ask questions to uncover what’s really eating them. Getting to the heart of their feelings opens the door for better understanding. Is this not true for you?

Also, you gotta normalize folks when stuff gets emotional. Tears, anger, it’s all good. Don’t brush past the tears and anger with a “chin up, everything’s fine.” The worst thing a financial advisor can do is minimize what they’re going through. That just makes them feel dismissed. In my experience, sharing a story that relates so they know you’ve been there too. Be the shoulder they can lean on, even if all their worries don’t totally make sense.

Also, please, please, never assume you grasp clients’ complete attitudes on touchy topics and complex concepts. Instead, ask questions to unmask the truth. “Help me understand where hesitations around retirement planning stem from…” Open-ended prompts allow genuine priorities and anxieties to surface so my guidance targets real needs.

Humans connect through shared imperfections faster than professional prowess. I usually tactfully disclose around similar monetary blunders I’ve faced over the years too. “I beat myself up over frivolous shopping in my 30’s also. Here’s what finally helped me right ship…” My stories offer client reassurance, not leadership.

So be patient, listen more than speak, and come from the heart, not just the head. Do that and you’ll build trust and loyalty in good times and bad. That’s how all the great financial advisors roll… at least the ones I know!

3. After Conversation.

Whoo! So you made it through another tough talk with a client. Maybe it was the Wilsons processing their bankruptcy. Or Alicia grieving her mom’s cancer diagnosis. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel mentally exhausted after, even if I kept my cool on the outside.

But your job’s not done yet after the tears dry. Here’s what I you can do once you and your client get some space:

  • First, reflect on discoveries uncovered. What new info helps you understand the client better? How can this strengthen your successful relationship moving forward? Write it down while it’s fresh!
  • Next, outline practical next steps. Maybe it’s resources to provide, compromises to review, or simply a reassuring check-in.
  • Lastly, self care is crucial. These conversations drain even the best of us. So pour that cup of tea, meditate, exercise, grab a nice meal, maybe listen to a few of the Discover Series Webcasts to get a feel how your industry papers relate to these situation. Do what nourishes your soul. You get the gist. Just don’t immediately jump into the next client call. You can’t fill others’ cups when yours runs empty.

And that’s my playbook for once the tears dry and tough talks wrap. Take good care of your clients by first taking good care of yourself!

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Celebrate Small Wins

Real talk – we put way too much pressure on the big ticket stuff. Let me tell ya, this financial advising world is a marathon… not a sprint. I used to be guilty too, thinking a win meant landing that huge case or nailing my yearly goal. But let me drop some wisdom I learned: it’s the small wins that make the real difference. And you can’t get hung up chasing those massive 7-figure portfolio clients your whole career. Real and lasting success comes from those small wins stacked up day after day. Wouldn’t you agree?

I’ll give you a perfect example from my friend Chris Burton (who by the way did an amazing podcast, check it out here). He set a goal recently to check in with two past clients each week, just friendly non-salesy calls to nurture relationships. Now in the scheme of things, two check-ins ain’t much. But the impact of regular small outreach accumulates dramatically over time.

Take one of his clients. They didn’t chat much the last couple years outside annual reviews, so he frankly hadn’t been too present in mind. But after a few months reconnecting more frequently, he referred Chris to three colleagues who became new clients. And he even felt comfortable introducing Chris to manage investments for his aging mother needing greater support.

Every win, no matter how small it seems, is cause for hype. Did you crush your daily activity goals? Hype! Finally tackle your overflowing email inbox? Hype! Made progress on a financial plan for your client? Oh you better believe that’s hype!

Boosting yourself and your team for minor accomplishments has an outsized impact from my experience. It builds confidence to go after those stretch targets. It creates momentum to stick to long-term plans. And it reminds us this business is a marathon, not a sprint.

So today, I challenge all you heavy hitters – praise your team for their tiny triumphs. And for you hustlers aiming high out there – pat yourself on the back more. Celebrate those small wins. Soon you’ll be raising the roof for the big ones!

Clarify Values and Motivations

If we wanna truly connect with your clients, you gotta get crystal clear on what matters most to them. I ain’t talking just their financial goals. I mean what motivates their soul, gets them fired up, and has heart.

Because here’s the thing – money decisions don’t happen in a vacuum. They tie directly to people’s deepest values and priorities. So if financial advisors can unlock those, suddenly creating financial plans clicks on a whole new level.

Let me share an example. I was meeting a new entrepreneur client in my young career in the business who wanted to set up her first retirement plan. On paper, she had some vague numeric goals to hit. But as we talked, I asked questions to uncover what was driving her – leaving a legacy for her daughter.

That changed everything. Now her why had heart and purpose beyond the numbers. Once we tied reducing taxes to funding her daughter’s education, she was all in. That emotional connection opened the floodgates to co-create a financial plan she loved.

Don’t shy away from getting personal with prospective clients. Personalized communications is key. Ask what motivates them out of bed each day. How do they want their money to make an impact? What vision do they have for the future? The more you understand values and connect finances to what matters most, the more your clients will trust you’ve got their back.

Break Down Big Goals for Clients

Alright let’s chat about setting financial goals, because this trips up even the most seasoned financial advisors. We all love mapping those long term financial goals, lofty retirement plans and net worth targets for clients. The big hairy audacious goals! But massive far-off goals often backfire. They seem too abstract and intimidating. Wouldn’t you agree?

Instead, my strategy is all about small incremental objectives today that gradually build towards the ultimate financial vision. Baby steps, not giant leaps!

The key is sitting with your clients, asking about far future monetary targets and portfolio sizes, then drilling down to:

  • What’s one thing you can improve this week to inch closer?
  • What small milestone should we celebrate in the next month or two?
  • What could you set aside per week or per month?
  • Where might we trim existing expenses to find funds?
  • How will we track and stay motivated through micro-wins?

Reframing your financial planning advice in these small doable increments helps clients feel inspired and in control, not overwhelmed by a towering monster goal they may never reach otherwise. Whatever the ultimate dream, impossible feels possible when you establish realistic incremental milestones.

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Make Clients Feel Special

Making each client feel special should be our number one goal. Why? Because when people feel truly seen, heard, and valued, that trust and loyalty runs deep.

Now I am not saying go buy every client a yacht! I’m talking about the small, thoughtful touches that show we really care. Remembering their kid’s basketball game. Checking in after a medical procedure. Sending a congrats note when they post about a promotion.

The impact of these tiny gestures adds up. When clients know you’ve got their back as a real person, not just a money coach, they’ll stick with you for life.

And here’s a little financial industry secret – relationships built on trust and care convert way more referrals than any marketing tactics ever could. When people feel understood and supported, they can’t help but share about their financial advisor to friends and family.

Note any developments in their life. Ask thoughtful questions. Offer congratulations. And don’t be afraid to share a personal story to deepen that bond.

If we can focus on making every client feel special in our own authentic way, everything else – the numbers, the sales, the growth – will follow.

Re-Evaluate and Adjust Your Client Communication Strategies

Client expectations and needs evolve, markets shift, and new tech pops up… so financial advisors have to stay nimble and adjust our approaches over time. You could be leaving big value on the table if you follow the same old financial advisor-client communication strategy year after year.

Regular check-ins drive progress. Block time quarterly to formally reevaluate what’s working and what’s not with existing client relationships.

I recommend you jot down which clients seem fully engaged when you meet vs others who seem distracted or less receptive to your communication style. Tally how many meaningful non-sales connections you’re making monthly. And track if referrals or retention rates trend up or down. It is a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Trust me!

The data acts like an early warning system pointing to where communication could improve. Maybe you need to schedule more in-person visits rather than just quick phone calls or annual reviews for select clients. Perhaps it’s time to freshen up your monthly newsletter with some new features or research nuggets. Or a few clients might benefit from text messages or video rather than phone catch-ups.

The key is being self-aware, understanding and structurally evaluating the hard client communication metrics… then having the courage to switch things up! Don’t stubbornly stick with the status quo out of habit or fear.

After any client conversation, I suggest you get digging into what landed and what didn’t. Then use those lessons to upgrade your client communication methods and strategies. Who knows – maybe you shift from quarterly reviews to monthly check-ins based on your client’s feedback. Or get more visual with examples after noticing confusion on complex concepts.

Evolve your communication channels, deepen messaging, and customize touchpoints to each person. Regularly rework that client communication playbook. Experiment, get feedback, and track results religiously in your CRM. Tweaking your client communication methods over time is what keeps clients engaged for years rather than chasing fast transactions.

Improving Communication Skills as a Financial Advisor

Being a top notch communicator doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes lotsa practice and dedication to master the most effective form of communication skills. But here’s the secret sauce: the more we work at it, the more natural those courageous conversations with clients become.

I remember when I first started out in the financial industry, I was scared stiff sitting across from clients during tricky talks. But after years of reps, feeling folks out, and learning on the fly, now I can flow through tense situations with heart.

So how can you get better? Here are my top training tips for improving communication skills as a financial advisor:

First – record yourself and review. It ain’t easy watching yourself on tape but that’s how the greats get sharp. Pay attention to moments you could have dug deeper with questions or redirected better.

Second – roleplay with someone you trust. Could be a member of your team, your spouse or a friend. Have them act out different client scenarios and work through exchanges. Ask for honest and brutal feedback. They have to go real hard on you! Otherwise, you’d be wasting your time.

Third – read books on effective communication and take courses. Never stop educating yourself on techniques like mirroring and labeling emotions.

Here’re some of my all time favorite books on improving communication skills:

Sticking to a routine practice plan is key. Over time, you’ll gain confidence and learn the art of courageous, compassionate conversations. And that skill will transform your relationships and results, trust me.

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Conclusion

Whew, we covered a lot of ground here folks! Hopefully you feel armed with some new financial advisor-client communication strategies to better serve your clients and deepen relationships.

This is the good stuff they never taught us in financial advisor class that takes years to accumulate. But now you have a head start to up your game faster.

The main takeaway? Technical investing and products know-how will only get you so far nowadays. You need to couple that with world class communication skills.

Truly connect with clients so they feel valued as real people, not just portfolios. Make discussions relatable, focus on active listening, and lead with you showing genuine interest and empathy. Demonstrate you “feel their pain” during life’s twists then arm them with practical guidance. Trust me, your clients will notice and appreciate the effort right away!

Now I don’t have all the answers and am still learning too. So if you ever want to trade best practices or dive deeper into proven financial advisor-client communication strategies that win, my door is always open.

FAQs

How often should financial advisors meet with their clients?

Financial advisors should connect with clients regularly, tailored to individual needs. Most advisors aim for quarterly reviews, adjusting frequency based on client preferences and major life events. Effective communication fosters trust and ensures clients stay on track with their financial goals.

Financial advisors can text clients as part of their client communication strategies. It’s critical to ensure texts are compliant with regulations and suit the client’s communication style. Incorporating personalized text communications can enhance the client experience and strengthen the advisor-client relationship.

Financial advisors simplify complex topics by using relatable examples and avoiding jargon. They engage in active listening, tailoring explanations to each client’s level of understanding. Visual aids and interactive tools can further enhance comprehension, ensuring clients feel confident in making informed decisions.

Breaking big goals into smaller milestones provides clarity, motivation, and a sense of progress. It allows for more manageable tasks, making the overall goal seem less daunting. Achieving these milestones builds confidence and momentum towards long-term success, a key strategy in financial planning.

Financial advisors adjust communication strategies by staying attuned to clients’ evolving needs and preferences. They gather feedback, analyze client satisfaction and adapt communication methods accordingly. Continuous improvement ensures effective communication, fostering strong and lasting client relationships.

Financial advisors can show clients they are valued by demonstrating genuine interest, providing personalized communications, and actively listening to their concerns. Regular check-ins, thoughtful follow-ups, and tailored advice all contribute to a strong client-advisor relationship in financial planning.

Disclaimer: The following information is being presented on the understanding that it is intended for information purposes only. None of the presenters or Desjardins Insurance has been engaged for the purpose of providing legal, taxation, or other professional advice. No one should act upon the examples/information without a thorough examination of the legal/tax situation with the appropriate professional advisors.

About the Author

Reh Bhanji (Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter), a veteran in the insurance and financial advisory industry, boasts over 25 years of experience. His journey began in 1998 at Imperial Life Financial in Toronto, ON, where he managed over $40 Million in annuity assets. His prowess quickly earned him a promotion to Team Leader in 2002, where he led a team of financial advisors. In 2005, Reh’s expertise propelled him to the role of Regional Sales Director at Desjardins Financial Security. In this role, he was responsible for training financial advisors and driving life and health insurance sales through strategic marketing and business development. His commitment to financial advisor education was further exemplified between 2007 and 2009, serving as Vice President for Education at Advocis Toronto (The Financial Advisors Association of Canada). In 2012, he became Senior Regional Sales Director at Desjardins Financial Security. At Desjardins, he managed the company’s largest account and developed key sales strategies and business building techniques for life and health insurance solutions. His exceptional leadership skills led to his 2020 promotion to National Best Practice Leader at Desjardins Financial Security, where he spearheaded the coaching and development of sales processes across the national network. In 2021, Reh expanded his influence as the host of the award-winning Discovery Series Podcast by Desjardins, providing a platform for industry-leading financial advisors to share their strategies, success stories, and industry leading insights.

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