Oportet cessare verba de industria et acue in clientis metas

February 9, 2012 Categories: The Art of Advising
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Confused? Your clients might be too
Think about the last time you spoke to a specialist; for example, a doctor, a botanist, a plumber. Did you understand every single word that they were saying – even those Latin and Greek words that they threw into the mix?

Did you find yourself holding your breath, smiling and nodding while attempting to not look clueless? And the entire time you’re intently listening for the punch line – that part about “and here’s how this will affect you?

Now, think about your last client meeting: Did you throw around terms like “capture ratio” and “active share” to relay important information to your client? Most likely, your client interpreted the meeting in the same way that you interpreted the surgeon-, plant, and pipes-speak . . . confusing at best, irrelevant at worst.

Too often, financial advisors forget that their clients don’t live and breathe tracking errors, alphas and betas. Even worse, some advisors seem to use jargon to emphasize their value. For this kind of advisor, a typical client meeting might look something like this:

First 10 minutes: Catch up. How’s life?
Next 75 minutes: Jargon. Market review. <client smiles and nods>. Jargon. Industry statistics. <client smiles and nods>. Performance and charts. Jargon. <client smiles and nods>. Jargon. <client smiles and nods>.
Last 5 minutes: See you in three months for another dose of jargon!

In a quest to demonstrate deep knowledge on all-things-financial, the jargon-heavy advisor sends the client into an unrelenting state of confusion. This confusion may put the advisor’s value into question.

The paradox of financial advice is rooted in the word “financial”. Clients don’t want financial jargon. The best advisors realize the distinction between implicit and explicit financial knowledge. Clients need you to be knowledgeable about the markets; however, they simply want to hear your guidance on their goal achievement, framed in terms that they can translate, understand, and value.

Financial advisors should adhere to one simple rule: Financial advice only matters if the client appreciates it.  

The best advisors emphasize their value based on benefits and attributes that the client desires and can clearly articulate. In preparation for your upcoming client meetings, remember to oportet cessare verba de industria et acue in clientis metas. Confused with the statement? That’s Latin for “We must put an end to the words of the industry and focus on client goals”.

Emphasize the clientis metas and eliminate the verba de industria for a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your clients.

RFS 13392-d

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