We Need to Communicate Better


One of the challenges for both financial planners and clients alike is to establish and maintain good communication.  The most knowledgeable financial planner in the world can’t help a client to attain their goals if the client can’t identify and clarify what they are trying to accomplish.  Likewise, a financial planner who can’t describe and explain their recommendations in an understandable fashion will never have satisfied clients. If both parties have the same desired outcome, why is it often so difficult to get there?

One of the first problems is the belief in “communication stereotypes.”  Many young people take pride in being “tech savvy” and believe that heavy reliance on “the latest and greatest” electronic innovation always leads to the best communication.  Clearly, many seniors are accused of being averse to change and not embracing the most modern tools.  The key to good communication and successful planner-client relationships lies somewhere between these extremes.

Consider the following statistics:  Americans spend an average of 26 minutes a day texting1 and 205.6 billion e-mails are sent across the globe daily2.  Yet, 72% of people say their impressions of others are impacted by their appearance and their handshake3.  In an industry where “trust” is consistently ranked as the number one desired attribute, purely virtual relationships are most likely doomed to failure.  Further, nine in ten people say small meetings are their favorite method of communication4.  A near majority of surveyed young investors (44%) say they would change financial advisers if they weren’t using technology to enhance their services5, yet nine out of ten respondents will avoid a company after a poor experience with an automated phone system6.

So, it appears that a mix of communication tools probably yields the best overall outcomes.  In a world where many communication tools remotely transmit information instantaneously, there’s still a need to occasionally “press the flesh”.