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Dan Richards

A list of Dan Richards’ previous articles appears at the end of this article.

Experienced advisors know the importance of identifying and responding to the emotions that drive client’s and prospect’s behavior – and tailoring the way they interact with each individual’s hot buttons.

I recently interviewed an investor who talked to three different advisors before selecting one to work with.

“I asked all three of them about the most important thing they focused on and what set them apart” he said.  “The first two gave me the standard bumph about understanding and responding to client needs.”

The third advisor – the one he eventually chose – responded differently.

In this investor’s words: “The third guy I spoke to said that he organized his whole practice and everything he did with the single goal of simplifying his clients’ lives. And that really resonated with me – I realized as soon as he said it that this was what I was looking for.”

This investor is far from unique in seeking to simplify his life – many Americans feel overwhelmed by the competing demands on our time and energy.

As a result, in choosing the professionals we work with, we seek out those who will reduce stress and complexity, not add to it.

Barry Schwartz’ book, The Paradox of Choice, argues that consumers are drowning in choice, often leading to stress, frustration and paralysis in decision making.

In response, advisors can simplify things for clients by using point form agendas and short executive summaries at the front of financial plans.

You can read a post on my blog on this here.

It’s also important to simplify clients’ lives when it comes to communication.

When I interview investors today, I see a change in attitude toward communication – because of the market downturn last year, they almost always want more contact.   At the same time, they want better communication – they often talk about wanting less communication that’s not directly relevant to their needs and more that’s tailored to their specific situation.