You’ve learnt everything there is to know about financial services – you’ve crunched the numbers, read the documents, analysed the data, and constructed the portfolios. But few university programs teach you the fine art of client servicing – the special skills that open the door to new clients, rewarding partnerships and overall workforce success.
Many Gen Y finance graduates are entering the workforce only to face trouble interacting with clients in a professional and perceptive manner. They struggle to harness the charisma and emotional intelligence necessary to make a client feel comfortable yet confident in their advisor’s abilities.
They might know WHAT they are talking about, but not HOW to talk about it.
Thankfully, these interpersonal skills can be developed through practice. Here are 12 tips to improve your own client servicing skills and achieve the success you deserve:
1. Ask open-ended questions. These questions require an answer beyond “yes” and “no”. Open-ended questions allow clients to share more information and allow you to gain a well-rounded idea of their financial situation.
2. Monitor talking pace and volume. Keep your messages clear and concise to avoid miscommunication and confusion.
3. Avoid technical jargon. During meetings you need to communicate in a way that maximises understanding for your client. Use professional language but be conscious that some financial terms may puzzle clients rather than impress them.
4. Participate in active listening. When talking to a client, paraphrase what they have said and ask thoughtful questions back to them. This clarifies your understanding of what has been said while also demonstrating your interest towards the client.
5. Do not interrupt. Let the client finish talking before you ask a question.
6. Be interested. By demonstrating genuine interest in understanding your client’s point of view, you can build a sincere connection with your client. Empathy not only minimises conflict but also helps you cater your service to meet the client’s needs.
7. Make eye contact. Maintain eye contact with your clients as they are talking to show interest and respect. Acknowledge everyone in the room to ensure people don’t feel ignored.
8. Relay confidence. As a young professional starting out you need to convince clients that you are capable for the job. This can be conveyed through small non-verbal cues like posture, gestures and voice tone.
9. Deliver positive messages. Even if you are delivering bad news, try to turn a negative into a positive. This redirects the client’s focus away from limitations and towards your capabilities as a financial advisor.
10. Be free from judgement. You will encounter clients with backgrounds and lifestyles vastly different from your own. It is important to reserve judgement as it is counteractive to understanding and building relationships.
11. Empower your client. By giving reluctant clients a sense that they are in control and apart of the decision-making process, they will feel more satisfied and empowered by their financial success.
12. Dedicate your interest. We live in a world where multi-tasking is the norm and distractions are found in every phone and laptop. By giving clients the full attention they deserve, you create valuable rapport, which can lead to further business opportunities.
For more useful tips and tools to succeed in financial services, join the Spark Careers training program now!