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Simplicity: A Key to Effective Communication

We all have experienced a situation where a client’s eyes have glazed over and comprehension is lost while we are talking with them about their investments and financial plans. We all have heard that phrase “too much information” and it can apply to us, no matter how interesting and important we think we and the topic of discussion may be.

Clients are all over the map in how they process information, in their level of interest in different aspects of their finances/plans and goals, and their need for explanations of some kind. Some prefer to leave things in your capable hands and do not want all the details. Others want no more than the executive summary while a few have a good grasp of things and will ask the questions they feel necessary. At least a few will not understand it all and will be afraid to ask questions for fear of appearing unknowledgeable or of getting a lot of information they will not fully understand.

Listen to your clients and let their question drive conversations. You should always be able to ask them for relevant information and clarification BUT you should never overwhelm them with your knowledge, opinion, or depth of information available. Over time, as the client relationship builds, you will better know how the client thinks and what they need.

The adviser client relationship will function much better when you let the client lead and tailor your response to what they need and no more. Clients can always ask you for more information if they are confused or want to know more. Assuming they want it all dumped on them at once is a recipe for trouble. Finally, make sure you do have the full information available and always remind them you have such information when and if they feel they need it. 

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