Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest and most successful investors in the world recently shared some simple career advice with Michael Hood, co-founder of the Toronto start-up Voiceflow, that he later shared on LinkedIn. When Hood asked Buffet for one tip to do better in the workplace, Buffet responded, “It’s very simple, invest in yourself.” He continued, “The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills, both written and verbal. If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark, nothing happens. You can have all the brainpower in the world but you have to be able to transmit it. And the transmission is communication.” This advice was originally given to recent graduates starting out in their careers. I believe it holds tremendous value for all of us.

High Net Worth Individuals Value Strong Personal Relationships

The most recent Capgemini “Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2018” finds that satisfaction levels of high net worth individuals (HNWI) with their wealth managers is below 70%. These clients perceive a lack of holistic services and are skeptical about the value delivered to them for the management fees charged. The report also finds that strong personal relationships with clients are critical to improving satisfaction rates with HNWI and to capitalize on ongoing asset consolidation trends. This is good news for wealth managers who have the products and services in place to continue creating great value for their clients, and even better news for those who can apply their communication skills to deepen trust and increase service satisfaction.

Seeing the World Through your Client’s Eyes

Trust starts with transparency and transparency is a result of timely, clear and accurate communications. As mentioned in some of my earlier blogs, knowing the client’s preferred communication channels is essential to staying in touch and providing meaningful information. But more importantly, it is imperative to listen to your client and process the information carefully. Too often, we fall into the trap of preparing a response while the other person is talking. A clear understanding of a request and its context are imperative to present a satisfactory solution. The world where the seller, in our case the wealth manager, has an asymmetrical advantage by being the gatekeeper to information is long gone. “As a result”, says Daniel Pink in his book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, “The ability to move people now depends on power’s inverse: understanding another person’s perspective, getting inside his head and seeing the world through his eyes.” So a good conversation primarily depends on asking the right questions and listening to the answers.

Robust Communications Result in Robust Client Relationships

Knowing your client will take time and effort. When all works out well the client’s trust and satisfaction levels should increase proportionally resulting in long-term client retention and account expansion possibilities. Once the client’s perspective is clearly understood, solutions can be presented. Communicating in a clear and concise manner, while adhering to common grammar, punctuation and spelling conventions, is imperative. The content of a message should never be devalued by the possible sloppiness of its presentation. So now that the brainpower is all cranked up, let’s set it free for transmission.

As always, I am looking forward to hearing from you. Drop me a note at Michael.Welter@mikewelter.com.


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