One of the key traits of a successful advisory practice is the ability of an advisor to empathise with his client’s needs and problems.
We spoke to two IFAs on the importance of empathy in the advisory profession.
Shifali Satsangee, Funds Vedaa
Advisors need to have a balanced approach while dealing with client’s problems. The advisor needs to understand that the client has come to discuss his problem, because of his faith in them. Therefore, while chalking out a plan for such clients you need to emphasize that you are with them every step of the way. When I do not relate with a client’s problem I put myself in his place and try to see from his perspective. Ultimately, it helps to remember that an advisor’s role is to help his clients achieve their dreams; hence, our biases do not matter.
Thinking from your client’s perspective not only helps advisors understand their problems, but also helps them improve their practice and create a successful practice.
Suresh Sadagopan, Ladder 7
While sitting with a client an advisor disconnect himself from his own biases and see dispassionately if what the client is asking for is possible with his income or not. An advisors’ role is not to pass judgements but rather understand the logic behind a person’s desire. For me this is empathy. Because, every person has a certain reason for wanting a certain thing, it might be social pressure or childhood dream, understanding this reason will help an advisor be more empathetic. As long as providing for one goal does not compromise on other important goals, an advisor should have no problem helping the client achieve it.
In case, the goal is unrealistic in the client’s current financial situation, the advisor is duty bound to put things in perspective for his client. He could point out how other essential goals are affected by this goal. When posed with such questions the client might come up with a solution on his own. It is important to remember we are only facilitators and we cannot take decisions for our clients.