“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts. Wisdom lies in their simplification.” —Martin H. Fischer

The coronavirus pandemic requires not just an outreach of phone calls, emails and video chats but also carefully constructed messaging that helps advisors truly connect with their clients and prospects. Empathy and communication have never been more important than right at this moment.

The financial industry has traditionally been built around technical facts, operational functions and a logical flow of information. However, financial professionals need to realize that, while a sentence makes sense on paper, the words may not resonate with emotionally concerned people. While a lot of information may be helpful, it could also confuse listeners who are just looking for comfort. Ironically, advisors end up serving no one if clients do not precisely understand what is being said, or if they cannot relate it to their exact situation and fears. Lacking this acknowledgement severely limits an advisor’s ability to respond to client concerns and to connect as deeply as possible when it’s needed most, like right now.

“Simplicity will stand out, while complexity will get lost in the crowd.” —Kevin Barnett

Since being a communications expert may not be a core skill set of many advisors, it is imperative today to be aware of one key communication principle—the power of simplicity. Simplicity aids understanding—the easier to understand, the easier to share it, the better to focus and, subsequently, the better it builds confidence and impact with clients that leads into an enlightened agreement on a course of action. This does not mean necessarily dumbing-down your message. It is about stripping the communication to its core, clearest meaning. Yet many advisors, and the industry as a whole, still have a natural tendency to overcomplicate things.

This key communication lesson, among others, was reinforced and fully explored at a recent industry conference held by Birmingham, Michigan-based White Glove—a leading seminar planning and community education platform that now offers virtual presentation options for financial advisors and other service professionals. Their conference was a true masterclass focused on client communication lessons with multiple applications for an advisor’s business. The following provides a quick overview of the main communication and engagement principles discussed that bears repeating and needs to be more broadly shared with financial professionals. 

“We took the complex content and logistical challenges of doing educational seminars and simplified the activity into a 100 percent done-for-you, turn-key, triple guaranteed and now virtual community engagement strategy.” —Dean Thurman

The art and science of client communication was the key theme running throughout White Glove’s 2020 Host University Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year. White Glove co-founders—financial advisors Mike & Dean Thurman and their partner Jeff Grail—shared their expertise and process of gleaning a community’s most pressing financial interests and needs through local digital marketing mining and then translating and crafting those most sought after concerns into simple, direct, motivating seminar content and engagement strategies. Topics they have developed to date include retirement tax strategies, maximizing Social Security benefits, preparing for Medicare, college planning and, more recently, estate planning. White Glove has also re-fashioned all their content for virtual seminars and community town hall out-reach for advisors to position them to leverage financial guidance during the current crisis.

After many months of beta testing with advisors and attorneys (many of whom partnered up to make their estate planning presentation a breeze) from around the country, White Glove reported that the estate planning topic is not only a huge draw for prospects, but it actually attracts households with more investible assets (on average) than any of their other topics. Throughout the conference, advisors were presented with everything they would need to know in order to be successful at being a financial educational resource for their local community, including how to partner with estate planning attorneys or accountants in delivering this estate planning content.

 “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. —Steve Jobs

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