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A coaching client recently asked me to name the most critical traits an advisor needs to convert more prospects into clients. My answer: likeability and empathy.

Each has its challenges, but the first step in improving your conversion rate is to recognize their importance.


I’ve previously written about the importance of being likeable. The bottom line is that few prospects will entrust their life savings to an advisor they don’t like, regardless of your expertise.

The good news is that likeability is a skill that can be learned. According to Ben Decker, chief executive officer of Decker Communications, a San Francisco-based training and consulting firm, “likability isn't something you are born with, like charisma. It's something you can learn."

In my experience, the best way to increase your likeability is to show a genuine interest in what your prospect is saying. You can’t do that if you are dominating the conversation. Instead, put your agenda aside and start the initial meeting by focusing intently on getting to know the person sitting across the table.