How Our Vocabulary Shapes Our Client Relationships

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I heard a lecturer talk about the power of vocabulary and its ability to unite or alienate people. For example, calling someone a "cardiologist" instead of a "heart doctor" responds to the need we have for experts with a knowledge or skill set that makes us feel intimidated enough to trust them.

We want to feel that experts know more than we do. After all, they are the experts.

Our words help us dress up or dress down for the occasion.

When I first started in the financial planning profession, I wanted to regale prospects with all the industry knowledge I had learned in the last few years and been tested on – regurgitating key terms and definitions. It did not take long for me to learn that approach would undermine my success. Prospects didn't care how smart I was on paper; they wanted to know if I could solve their problems.

Your intelligence must translate into something that a prospect or client can act on; otherwise, your meetings turn into 60-minute conversations on theories.

The balance is finding a way to relate to prospects and clients to let them know you're educated in the field and capable of helping them solve complex financial problems. Communication and the language we use are imperative to set the right ambiance.