5 Ways Storytelling Helps Financial Advisors Succeed
Think about the last “Great Presentation” you attended, where you felt as if the speaker was speaking your mind. How did this experience make you feel about the presenter?
Did you think he or she was so smart? Were you moved to ask for their business card or connect over LinkedIn? Or maybe you just walked up to say how much you loved their presentation? When you went back home, did you share your experience with someone?
For a truly great presentation, I believe the answer to at least one of these questions would be a “Yes”.
Prospects and clients are people like you and me – they get influenced by great stories and presentations.
Numbers intrigue them but they make decisions emotionally. They are looking to do business with people whom they like, trust and think that are smart enough to handle their money.
As a Financial Advisor you have expert advice and classic stories but also a life full of experiences waiting to be turned into your own unique stories.
You can be like that great presenter you saw. All you need to do is tap into your reservoir of powerful unique life experiences and stories.
Let’s see 5 ways in which stories can help Financial Advisors succeed in building strong relationships with their clients and prospects, and ultimately growing their business by moving them to act!
1. Use storytelling to make the unfamiliar familiar –
As a Financial Advisor, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what Portfolio Rebalancing or an APR means. It’s super easy to fall in the trap of what we call the curse of knowledge.
Talking too much in your technical lingo with clients and prospects goes against your goals and targets. It makes them feel disconnected as they aren’t able to interpret your message.
Don Connelly made a great point in one of his recent posts that people don’t buy what they don’t understand.
So, in order to succeed as an Advisor, it’s imperative to overcome this problem of talking over someone’s head and avoid being misunderstood.
Telling simple stories breaks down a complex topic into small, understandable “word pictures” that clearly illustrate your message and call to action.
Effective communication of this kind will not only make your prospects feel smarter but also develop a positive emotion toward you that would eventually move them to do business with you and maybe give you a referral at some point.
2. Use stories to influence and persuade –
A large part of your career as a Financial Advisor involves persuading and influencing prospective investors to do things that they are not usually comfortable doing. For example:
- Saving instead of vacationing ,
- Diligently setting aside retirement funds each month,
- Sacrificing on eating out too often
- Staying invested when the markets go down.
Despite having a data driven mindset and knowing what the right thing to do is, people still procrastinate to act on it – why do you think that is?
It’s because decisions are emotional and numbers don’t drive emotions.
Stories, on the other hand are persuasive and influential. They move people to act by taking them on an engaging journey.
I came across this post on BusinessZone.co.uk where the author briefly explained a chapter from Stephen Denning’s book, “The Leaders’ Guide to Storytelling” on how stories help in supporting changes. Here’s a snippet –
“Asking people to stop doing the things they know and love doing things they don’t know much about amounts to asking them to accept new identities. The usual result? Skepticism. Hostility. Sitting on the fence. Anything but enthusiastic implementation,” says story-telling guru Stephen Denning in his book ‘The Leaders’ Guide to Storytelling’. Telling stories, however, can get people out of a negative cycle by helping them see alternative approaches.
I couldn’t have said it any better!
3. Use simple stories to make your ideas memorable and shareable –
Whether it’s through print, digital or verbal communication, we all know that marketing yourself is one of the key elements for success in any business. Here’s what a typical cycle looks like:
Marketing -> Leads -> Appointments -> Business -> Referrals -> Success!
With lots of competition out there selling the same services and investing in similar marketing efforts, it is a challenge for you as a Financial Advisor to cut through the noise and make an impact!
Therefore, in addition to promoting your ideas in the target demography, it’s also important to find a way to make your ideas memorable and shareable so that they create your own unique share of voice in the community.
A few months back, in a guest post for the FA Magazine, Don Connelly shared this tip on how to make your ideas stick :
…ideas become memorable when you make them simple, unexpected, concrete, credible and emotional and put them in story form.
This is so true! Because stories are so emotional and inspiring, incorporating storytelling in your marketing efforts, takes it to a whole new level of virality.
So next time when you are presenting at a conference, networking with high net worth people or planning to write a new blog post, try structuring your ideas and message around simple personal experiences, client success stories, classic stories or educational stories and experience the difference yourself.
4. Use storytelling to help others understand your mission and vision –
People who understand your targets, your current position, your work ethics and what’s in it for them, are more likely to be loyal and supportive to your efforts in the long run. Therefore, it’s critical to your success to clearly communicate your mission and vision to prospects, clients and your team.
As we already know, data can be overwhelming and disengaging. And stories have the power to make people hear and relate to your ideas effectively. That’s why telling a vision or a mission story is perhaps the best way to capture the attention and create high brand loyalty.
A narrative that successfully convinces your clients that you genuinely want to help them retire comfortably is unlikely to ever be forgotten. And when the markets get rough, they would most likely continue to sustain the trust they placed in you.
5. And finally, use stories to develop strong relationships based on trust and likeability –
Financial Advisory is a relationship building business. The stronger the ties, the easier it becomes to keep and win new accounts.
In order to trust you with their money, prospects need to be sure that you would care about their well-being and be consistent in your efforts.
It’s not the numbers and charts, but the use of your personal stories and experiences that help you establish trust and likeability in the minds of the people you are looking to work with.
When you tell your personal stories, people get to know the real you. Such stories can be the ‘who am I’ story, ‘what I do’ story, ‘how I helped others’ stories, ‘how did I become successful’, empathetic experiences, etc,
You no longer remain a Financial Advisor or CFP to your prospect, you become a friend they like and trust.
The stronger the relationship grows, the longer the loyalties would continue and also likely to be passed on to next generations.
After all storytelling has been one of the most fundamental communication methods for over 27,000 years!
Though the techniques and medium of telling stories have changed drastically, what remains unchanged is that stories have a powerful impact on how humans think, feel and react.
Stories are simply so emotional, engaging and memorable! The message becomes so easy to understand. And that is why we ALL love stories. They get us motivated to act both in our personal and professional lives.
So, get off the couch and take your business to new heights with the help of storytelling. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
As Don Connelly says, “The right words said the right way can cause people to take action. The key is to take our data and package it in story form; to say it so it makes a difference.”
Storytelling is a big part of Don Connelly 24/7 learning center for a reason…
Let Don tell you about the Storytelling section of ‘Tools of the Trade’ podcasts library: