Behavioral Matching Matters

In working with financial services firms (including banks and insurance companies) all over the world I have found many are at different stages of searching for the right path to become more client centered. On this journey to the next level they all have the primary challenges of growing their revenues and managing the ever increasing compliance burden. In my conversations with executives, they would say that solving these challenges is contradictory.

The question then becomes what strategies can be deployed to simultaneously build greater relationships with clients (and thereby revenue) and at the same time enhance compliance? The tension between building a relationship culture which is revenue positive and enhancing the provision of compliant offerings can be solved with a human behavioral solution. When you boil it down both issues are deep down caused by human behavior. Harvard research in 2002 tracks 87% of all business issues down to human behavior. Most of it is the lack of interpersonal communication skills, not the competencies of the parties involved. Whilst it is easy to see relationships as driven by communication, so is compliance. Compliant offerings cannot be made without the right communication framework.

 

How information is framed will be very important to guiding clients into the right solution. For instance, some clients will need to hear a recommendation through the lens of their family stability rather than financial goals, and others will want benchmarks and specific data versus a summary of the key facts. Also, the bedside manner of advisors is critical as some clients will want logic and others a more empathetic conversation. Getting it wrong causes more emotion and the likelihood of increased litigation. Just look at the fact that research shows up to 80% of medical malpractice cases are caused by poor medical staff communication.?

 

So, imagine a world in 3 years where your firm through the one technology platform deploys online behavioral management solutions that are heavily rooted in validated behavioral science to:

1. Match the advisory team to each client (and their family members), thereby enabling communication with every client based on their unique terms, including the re-framing of key information and engaging them with a customized service experience in every interaction; and

2. Match the solutions delivered to every client based on their unique financial personality, thereby increasing decision-making confidence and also providing risk management for the firm.

3. Dynamically monitor the mood of every client as the market moves, and the continued suitability of the solutions the client is invested in. Put another way the approach of outfitting the client in a tailor made suit and providing customized life-long experiences will engage them and at the same time provide higher levels of corporate risk protection. Our research shows that such a behavioral matching approach can increase revenue by 23% a year and also substantially minimize the costs of litigation and fines. The key for the firm to implement such a matching approach is to make it a corporate imperative from the top down. The advisors and sales teams need to be engaged in the strategy that behavioral matching builds a relationship culture. The home office teams with the proactive input of the compliance team need to build robust technology processes which enable the real time monitoring of financial personality, solutions, in person meetings and email communications so that they are customized to the client and are also compliant.

 

What are the drivers which make it compelling to implement a behavioral matching approach happen now?

1. The need for financial services firms (including banks and insurance firms) to be completely client centered. Every dimension of their service must be “client first”, including the charging of fees. President Obama’s statements earlier this week on bad investment advice highlight the need is now.

2. The market competition for clients is very strong. The winners will offer a differentiated service which includes the provision of highly customized offerings. The focus on demographic based “persona” models are not enough as they do not provide personality insights which are more differentiated.

3. The regulatory environment over the last 5 years has got more strict in the requirements to offer suitable solutions. The trend is for the compliance intensity to increase exponentially in the next 5 years, with the requirement to document evidence of knowing client behavior at a much deeper level than ever before.

 

Over the last few years, the area of behavioral finance has moved from a research discussion to practical reality. Now, a behavioral finance approach can be implemented and if done properly it will provide a behavioral matching solution to the tense problems of building relationships and providing compliant offerings.

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Clients Enjoy Participating in the DNA Behavior Discovery

The question we are most often asked is “will my client want to participate in the Financial DNA Discovery Process?” Our Wealth Mentors have had very few clients resist participating. The reality is people do enjoy learning about themselves. It can even help in their business and personal lives. It is liberating for them to know what their strengths are and the struggle areas. The key point is that the client feels understood. Further, people love to talk about themselves. After all, that is their number one topic.

So, why not guide the discovery process and let them talk about themselves. If there is a barrier in an advisor’s mind about their client participating, it is usually just in their own mind.

The important point in getting the client to participate in the Financial DNA Discovery Process is to ensure it is introduced as a normal part of your service. Taking that further, connect it to your desire to provide them with a customized life-long service experience, set their goals and help them not make emotional decisions in reaction to events and markets. The process can start with Communication DNA Discovery; which only takes 2 -5 minutes and the rest of the steps can be progressively introduced over time.

We have many delighted clients. Click on this link to read about a recent successful client story.

If you are feeling any resistance yourself, then there is no harm in completing the process to find out and experience for yourself the power of the experience. You will feel liberated and want to ask questions!!

 

Learn more about DNA Discovery for increasing client engagement and customizing experiences .

What are your thoughts? For additional information please contact us

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Looking for Love: Advisor Matchmaking with Advisors Ahead

We live in a world where everything has come under question. Clients have been awakened to the fragility of wealth given the events of the past 15 years. They fret over maintaining their lifestyle and successfully transferring assets to their children while trying to put structure to prevent the kids from blowing it. In response, advisor teams are rolling out services that one man shops could never dream of. Large teams offer wealth psychologists to deal with governance and succession issues, alternatives, financial planning, banking and insurance, trust and estates, retirement planning, special needs and the list goes on. Coupled with regulatory and compliance issues, an outsider would logically ask how one or even two advisors can do it all? Or better yet, why do some decide to do it all? Hugh Massie, CEO and Founder of DNA Behavior, a relationship management strategist and team dynamics authority, provided his answers based on working with thousands of advisors:

  1. Senior advisors want to maintain as much of the revenues as possible as they have the attitude; I built it and they are my clients.
  2. Senior advisors have not built a proper business plan for growth or succession. This lack of growth does not provide room for someone else to come in.
  3. Prot
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What Talents are Lost to Your Business by Pigeonholing People?

Pigeonholing is any process that attempts to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories (usually, mutually exclusive ones).? The term usually carries connotations of criticism, implying that the classification scheme referred to inadequately reflects the entities being sorted, or that it is based on stereotypes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeonholing

There may be a tendency to think that some behavioral styles are inherently more suited for certain types of careers, roles and making certain types of life or business decisions than others; however that is not the case.? To make this assumption pigeon holes the individual.

For instance, we often associate people trained as Engineers or Accountants as being a certain style of person. Usually, the association is that they are highly structured, planned, detailed and suffer from

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The Missing Piece of Client Engagement

No one said it would be easy.? Our inboxes and phones are overloaded with emails, texts and voicemails. Our to do lists have grown exponentially.

So how do you create a compelling message to capture advisors attention in less than 30 seconds?

Todays advisor wants you to:

  • Know their business: what their challenges are and how to solve them
  • Communicate on their terms: understand them at a deeper level to engage them

But heres your challenge.? You can know their business but if you dont communicate your message in the advisors style, your message is lost. Translation: NO SALE.

Lets look at an example.

Paul Roth is a top advisor and you have the perfect annuity for him to add to his clients portfolio.? His communication style is Lifestyle which means he likes the big picture, enjoys being around people, talkative and always upbeat.

Your marketing department just emailed him The Top 10 Best Annuities (of course, your annuity is #1). Paul opens the email and all he sees are your logo and lots of words.? He immediately deletes it. Why? He prefers bullet points and pictures.? All of your cleverly crafted words and details of your #1 ranked annuity did not even register with him!

Your internal sales desk is part of this campaign so shortly after the email is delivered, they begin making the calls to get advisors educated and excited about this product.? Paul is in Rons territory, so he jumps on the phone to Paul.? He takes the call because he knows Ron and your firm.? Rons communication style is Information so she starts the conversation by giving Paul all the pertinent facts and is proud of it because he knows the advisors business!

What he doesnt know is that Paul stopped listening within a minute.? Why?? Because Paul wants someone to set the big picture context first and then talk about how other advisors are using it. ?Details of the product offering are secondary to Paul so hewilleither ask the questions later or look it up online.? But Paul is polite, thanks Ron for calling and ends the call. Ron feels positive about the call and he continues on with the rest of his calls with the same script.

Now lets move to the other integral part of this campaign: the external wholesaler.? Luckily, Jennifers communication style is Lifestyle so she presents the annuity to Paul in exactly the way that appeals to Paul. He now understands the annuity, how it differs from the competitors and how to position it in the clients portfolio. SALE IS MADE!

But what if Jennifer wasnt the same communication style?? The three-pronged marketing campaign to promote your #1 ranked annuity would fail on more than half of the advisors. Not because you dont have a good product but simply because you havent customized your message.

Still thinking the soft side of big data doesnt produce revenue?

Maybe now is the time to take a look at a behavioral marketing system that can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

 

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How Important is Workplace Environment to Delivering Business Success?

Over the past years there has been a cultural shift to open plan working. The open office was first conceived by Quickborner a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the 1950s, to facilitate communication and idea flow. Their mantra: to furnish people with the most effective, productive and pleasant working environments possible.

Todays executives may well be following a trend in terms of open plan offices, or they may have the secret to workplace environmental success. Either way I wonder how many have taken the time to understand the behavior of their employees, and more importantly, the workplace environment within which their people can excel.

Uncovering the talent and behaviors of individuals not only provides insight into how and where they will fit in a business, but will also reveal important insight into the environment within which they will flourish.

I suspect that those who could be classed as outgoing and expressive were part of the decision makers who decided that open plan working was the best solution for business success. They would have determined that this environment would build team relationships and produce outstanding results.

Little or no regard will have been given to those who do well, not in an open workplace environment, but in the relative privacy of a closed office. This does not set them apart as non-team participants rather that they need time to withdraw, reflect and think through solutions.

What about those individuals who need practical diplomatic leadership and are hesitant to make decisions without guidance? Large open workplaces environments with an all in together approach will leave them unmotivated, unproductive and overly stressed.

Every business, every project, every team needs a mixture of talent and behaviors to be successful. But the key to success is more than knowing the talents in their people, but also what environment is most likely to bring out the best of the talents.

Lillian Cunningham of the Washington Post interviewed Susan Cain Author of Quiet, who said:

The vast majority of employees work in open-plan offices, where youre in a big open room with other people. There are economic reasons for setting up offices this way, but the theory is that its said to produce greater collaboration and greater creativity. For many introverts, in particular, this is a really uncomfortable way to work. Its an incredibly over stimulating environment, where its hard to concentrate.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2013/09/24/the-science-of-introverts-and-the-workplace/

Philip Landau writes in the Guardian Newspaper: ?Extensive international research from Ipsos and the Workspace Futures Team of Steelcase shows that 85% of people are dissatisfied with their working environment and cant concentrate. Of those surveyed 95% said working privately was important to them, but only 41% said they could do so, and 31% had to leave the office to get work completed. More than 10,000 workers across 14 countries were surveyed.http://www.theguardian.com/money/work-blog/2014/sep/29/open-plan-office-health-productivity

Whilst many say that interconnection and teamwork are important requirements for organization effectiveness and success, a more likely delivery of rewards is when individually tailored behavioral based experiences are created in the workplace.

It is no longer enough to rely on skills and talents; understanding behaviors and the optimum environment to achieve sustainable success has to be the way forward.

People want to work effectively; the way in which they do that will range, for example, from group brainstorming to quiet introspection; from a systematic data driven approach; to spontaneous, random sharing. Each approach has its merits. Each method will produce outcomes. But to build truly effective teams, leaders need to take behavioral management to a whole new level to gain insight into the needs of others. They need to understand and recognize the distinctions of a situation. In other words recognize how individuals work in certain environments and respond appropriately.

How many leaders truly understand the power of inherent behaviors and further, how environments shape performance? Being able to recognize the differentiating factors associated with behavioral relationship management can change the landscape of thinking and drive up business accomplishments.

In Summary ? open plan working for some people may well be the best way to collaborate. But it can be very restrictive to others. One solution is to compromise by designing workspaces that balance the need for interaction with colleagues and quiet time for those that need to focus and reflect.

The starting point to be able to make these kinds of work place environment calls is to uncover every persons inherent unique DNA Behavior code which represents their natural behavioral style.? This will reveal a persons natural behavioral style and how it is shaped into their overall personality by their personal environment (history, experiences), values and education.

Having this knowledge and applying it to a work force will impact every business, career, financial and life decision that the individual and leadership makes.