The importance of body language when going fee based

With regulatory change, comes industry change. With industry change comes consumer change. Will consumers change when they fully understand the total costs of financial advice. We know that not all consumers do not fully understand their total cost of advice. Once consumers change, will they want more? Will they want something different? What does their body language tell you when you discuss transparency and fees. Their body language may give you the answers. In other countries such as Australia, South Africa, The United Kingdom and the United States, something different may mean switching clients into a fee based account. A new type of account that means change. Simply offering the alternative and letting the consumer decide is the first mistake. It comes down to trust with your existing and future clients. Trust is composed of two key components: authenticity - do you say what you mean - and reliability - do you mean what you say? A common mistake I pick up in meetings with advisors about fee based accounts is their body language. It is also the body language of the client.
Body language is crucial in our discussions with clients because it tells us what they think about us and our idea of going fee based. According to Dr. Nick Morgan ( ) who is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches “ People decode emotions primarily through gesture and tone of voice. The emotional component represents a separate, nonverbal conversation that parallels the verbal one, and typically happens a split second before.” According to Dr. Morgan, “When people communicate topics of great importance to them, they gesture what they intend a split second before the word comes out. We use surprisingly few words, and convey the emotional colors and tones of the conversation mostly through gesture. So you want to look at the language of the gesture to see what’s really important. Body language tells us what we think about other people. People decode emotions primarily through gesture and tone of voice. The emotional component represents a separate, nonverbal conversation that goes on parallel to the verbal one, and typically a split second before the verbal one.”
We are asking our clients to trust us with this new program. We all have smartphones with video recorders. I encourage you to record your next fee ready discussion with clients ( with their permission of course) and watch the body language of yourself and your clients. Having a good script is important, but equally important is body language. Are you conveying the message in a non verbal way with your body? Go to Dr. Morgan’s website if you want to gain clarity in your body language. As Dr. Morgan suggests “ that conversation will make or break you as a communicator. Again, you may be entirely unaware of it, but it may confirm you as the top dog, sabotage your authority, connect you with your mate for life, get you in a fist fight (or out of one), win you a game, or lose one, blow your chances at getting a raise, get you the big sale, lose you the prize, or win it — and so on, through most of the big moments in life. That’s how important body language is. That understanding is what you want to apply to reading your clients and presenting yourself”. If your clients are uncomfortable with change, maybe it’s time to change your body language?


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