How to Build Immediate Personal Connections Naturally

How to Build Immediate Personal Connections NaturallyGaining the trust of a prospective client is an absolute must if the relationship is to amount to anything. Plain and simple, people don’t do business with financial advisors if they don’t trust them. Building that kind of trust can take time, but successful advisors know how to accelerate the process—by first establishing a connection, which can be done when first meeting with a prospect.

If you think back on all your relationships—personal and professional—you’re likely to find that your best and closest relationships started with an instant personal connection. Something just clicked between the two of you that allowed you to lower your guard and open up to one another.

That happens a lot with some people who have a knack for connecting with others at work or in social situations. If you often hear a person say to you, “I’ve never told this to anyone before,” or “I feel like I can talk to you about this,” you’re probably a natural at making connections, or you practice a lot.

For some people, it’s not so natural, and it may even make them uncomfortable when trying to make connections with people. In our personal lives, it’s an acquired social skill that is easier for some than others to develop. However, in our business lives, especially as financial advisors, it’s an essential soft skill that must be learned, developed, and mastered. That’s the only way to overcome any discomfort and make it feel natural as shaking hands.

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Becoming a natural through skill development

Like any soft skill, making personal connections is built on a framework that makes it easy to learn and retain so it can be called up in an instant.

There are only three elements to this skill, but they each need to be completely mastered for the best results.

#1. Actively listen

There’s a significant difference between listening to someone and making them feel as if they’ve been heard. It takes conscious, active listening to make people notice when they are genuinely listened to and heard. They also notice when they are not.

The first part of active listening is making the conversation entirely about the other person and fully directing your attention towards them. Nod when appropriate to show you’re following them and draw them out with, “That’s very interesting. Can you tell me more about that?” Beyond that, there should be no interruptions. This part of active listening will help grow their comfort level in talking with you.

The second part of active listening is to demonstrate you are hearing them. People want to be listened to, but they appreciate when they know they’re being heard. When they are through talking or at a strategic pause in the conversation, play back an important thought or highlight by rephrasing it, as in, “If I heard you correctly, you feel as though you’re not where you should be financially for you and your family. Is that right?” If you get agreement, don’t comment, don’t offer a solution. You can draw them out more with, “Can you tell me more about why you feel that way?”

#2. Be empathic

It’s often said that empathy is the energy behind personal connections. It’s your first opportunity in this process to give your reaction to what a person had to say. It further demonstrates you listened and heard them but that you also understand.

Empathy is about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes to feel the experience as if it happened to you and then let your emotions speak, as in, “That must have been awful,” or “I can see how that made you feel.”

When the other person senses that you have a keen interest in their concerns and can genuinely see the world through their eyes, they become more open to a personal connection.

If you think your team would benefit from a presentation on establishing trust in today’s virtual world, check out this page and have your branch manager call 941.346.1166 or fill in the form on the page to get in touch, discuss the details and schedule a date for a presentation.

#3. Validate their feelings or concerns

In this step, you let the other person know that what they are experiencing or feeling is OK—that it’s perfectly normal, and they’re right to be concerned. People want to be validated, knowing that they are understood and normal. To validate is to bond with the other person.

This is not the time to offer advice or “next steps. It’s to confirm what they are feeling and let them know it’s justified, as in, “That sounds really frustrating. I know how it feels when my calls aren’t returned.”

Telling a good story is an excellent way to validate your prospect’s concerns. A “Who I am” or “Why I do what I do” story is an effective way to allow your authenticity and vulnerability to show through, which can cement the connection.

While this is a simple, repeatable framework, it requires a lot of practice to make it feel natural, as if you’ve been doing it all your life. You’ll soon see the difference in how people react to you as a person they’d like to get to know.

Watch this 3-minute video to learn how our training program ‘Become Brilliant at the Basics: What They Don’t Teach You in Training’ will help you develop the soft skills you need to naturally connect with clients on a personal level.

See program details and enroll today!

Available as a self-paced program (always open) or as a 12-week coaching program (open only a few times a year), this training will change the way you view your practice and will give you an enormous advantage over your competition. Enroll today!


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