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Business Development Clients value interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence over technical expertise

Clients value interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence over technical expertise

Australia based Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) decodes the elements of trust
Team Cafemutual Nov 6, 2013

Australia based Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) decodes the elements of trust

You might have heard about importance of building trust among clients to grow business in various conferences; however, what leads to trust and what clients expect from a trusted adviser is seldom explained in any meaningful actionable terms. An interesting survey of an Australia based Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) found that clients value strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence over technical expertise in a financial adviser.

Although the study was conducted in Australia, the findings are of great relevance to Indian advisors. Based on 512 surveys, the white paper ‘Pathways to Excellence’ identified those characteristic of leading financial advisers that set apart their practice from peers. The study gives interesting insights about building a trust and good rapport among clients, importance of developing emotional quotient, etc.

Interpersonal skills involve communication skills, building rapport, caring about clients, understanding their needs, listening and empathy while emotional intelligence is the capacity to access and generate emotions to assist with thought.

The paper points out that building interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are difficult. However, it can be effectively learned and developed with appropriate training.  “Some advisers are naturally gifted with good interpersonal skills and high levels of emotional intelligence.However, even the most trusted advisers have, at times, had to work hard to acquire new skills in this area that have not come naturally,” states the white paper.

To develop such skills, the paper advises financial advisers to ask open-ended questions or questions that require more than a yes or no response. These types of questions force you not to prejudge and to hear what the client has to say in their own words. It also advises financial advisers to show an interest in all aspects of the client’s life, develop attentive listening skills, pay attention to how the client reacts and acknowledge the feelings of the client with respect.

In the survey, 82% of respondents gave weightage to interpersonal and emotional skills while only 4% respondents sought technical skills and expertise in trusted advisers.

Skills of advisers ranked most important by clients

Quality of advisers

Importance for clients in %

Interpersonal skills
(communication
skills, building
rapport, caring
about clients,
understanding
needs, listening,
empathy) 

82

Professional
reputation
(honest,
ethical, instils
confidence)

19

Quality
information
and advice
(unbiased, sound,
relevant, tailored,
practical, helpful,
comprehensive)

17

Service
(proactive,
reliable,
responsive,
available,
accessible,
delivering on
promises)

15

Knowledge
(product,
industry,
financial)

11

Technical skills,
expertise and
experience

4

other

7

 

Apart from these factors, many clients seek qualities like skill, confidence and engagement with client; ability to deliver, advisory process and transparent charging model in a trusted adviser, says the white paper.

 

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