Originally posted on Evidence Based Advisor Marketing
It’s that time of year again. We start out with the best intentions, but our New Year’s resolutions often fizzle before Spring.
Here are two resolutions that will help you increase your AUM. They’re easy to understand and simple to implement.
#1: Look the part
Few advisors appreciate this fact: When you shake hands with the prospect, the decision whether to retain you has probably been made.
I’ve asked thousands of advisors this question: How do you want to be perceived?
Uniformly, the responses I receive include some of these terms: honest, trustworthy, warm, engaging, professional.
If that’s the impression you want to make, you have to look the part. Vision trumps all other senses. The visual impact you make upon first meeting someone will likely determine how well (or poorly) your meeting will go.
Don’t believe me? Google, The McGurk Effect.
A critical component of the first impression is your clothing.
Choices vary by gender, the demographic you are serving and where you are located. Here’s an excellent way to be sure you are on the right track.
Make an appointment with the personal shopper at a high-end department store near you. Tell them how you want to be perceived and ask for clothing suggestions.
Then follow their advice.
#2: Retrain your brain
Okay, this one is more difficult. It doesn’t help that your title includes advisor. Ducks have to quack and advisors believe their job is to “advise.”
You need to retrain your brain to live up to this new title I’m giving you: Empowerer.
You may be shocked to learn that prospects aren’t looking for your advice. They first want to determine if they like and trust you. If they don’t, they won’t want to hire you, even if you can do a regression analysis in your head.
The best way to convey likeability and trust is to relinquish your advisory role and adopt your empowerer one.
This means retraining your brain to elicit information rather than conveying it.
Initially, ask open-ended questions (like, Tell me about yourself), so you can get to know the prospect as a person. Then ask follow-up questions and let the conversation go wherever the prospect would like to take it.
Remember, your new role is to empower the prospect to speak about him or herself. It’s not to demonstrate your background or expertise.
Adopting these two resolutions has a collateral benefit. Doing so won’t just increase your AUM. You’ll also be perceived more positively by everyone with whom you interact, including family and friends.
Resource of the week
This article in the Harvard Business Review has great tips about how to make a positive first impression.