Photo by Clark Street Mercantile on Unsplash

Five More Misperceptions Held By Advisors

Originally published in Advisor Perspectives, September 19th 2016

To succeed as an advisor (and improve your personal relationships), focus on your empathetic skills.

In my article last week, I discussed five misperceptions that prevent advisors from converting prospects to clients. Here are an additional five.

  1. You underestimate the power of your wardrobe

Every advisor I know wants to be perceived as honest, credible and trustworthy. Yet few advisors understand the impact their clothes have on the way that prospects view them.

According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, when we meet someone, we form an initial impression of how “warm and trustworthy the other person is.” Independent studies confirm that clothes have a major impact on first impressions of confidence, success, salary, flexibility and trustworthiness.

What you wear not only impacts how others perceive you; it significantly affects how you conduct yourself. For a collection of many studies on this subject, I recommend this book, by Professor Karen J. Pine, Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion.

In my coaching practice, changing the way my clients dress has significantly improved their conversion rates.

  1. You don’t appreciate the significance of this study – assuming you’re aware of it

When I was researching my book, The Smartest Sales Book You’ll Ever Read, I had an “aha” moment when I read this study, co-authored by Diana I. Tamir and Jason P. Mitchell, who were then in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

Here’s the bottom line of this seminal work: We love to talk about ourselves. The pleasure we derive from this activity is likely chemical. The authors found, “Self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area.”

The impact of this study is profound and largely overlooked or ignored by advisors.

Think about this: You have the power to make your clients feel great about meeting with you. Can you think of any reason why you wouldn’t use it?

  1. You aren’t aware that you can interpret non-verbal signals

Wouldn’t it be great if you had the ability to read non-verbal signals from your prospect that would tell you how the meeting was going?

You can, but most advisors aren’t aware of the extensive research done by Alex Pentland, Director of the Digital Life Consortium at MIT. His book, Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World, should be on your “must read” list.

Pentland isolated two factors that determine the level of interest of your prospect: High activity and low consistency.

“High activity” refers to behavior by the other person, such as animated facial expressions, head nodding and gesturing. The more active the other person is, the more likely there is genuine interest.

“Low consistency” refers to a person’s variability in tone. A monotone indicates a lack of interest. High variability in tone indicates keen interest and openness to being influenced by others.

Every meeting with prospects (or others) should cause you to focus on these two factors. They give you a window into the mind of your prospect and the opportunity to change the course of the meeting if engagement is lacking.

  1. You overuse presentation aids

The use of PowerPoint and other presentation aids often detracts from your presentation. Presentations should be limited to displaying charts and graphs, rather than conveying text.

This article was written in 2003, but its teachings remain relevant today. I found this comment particularly compelling: I would go so far as to say that almost all business presentations given with PowerPoint, with a little extra work, would be better – even much better – without it.

  1. You aren’t trained to be empathetic

If you have a choice between becoming more knowledgeable in your field or learning how to be more empathetic, choose the latter to generate more AUM.

There are many studies discussing the influence of empathy on the interaction between buyer and seller. There are also established protocols for how to demonstrate empathy in meetings with prospects.

To succeed as an advisor (and improve your personal relationships), focus on your empathetic skills.

Similar Posts