Sociability Is the Skill of Interacting Well with Others
The definition of sociability sounds mild: the quality or state of being sociable. The significance of sociability is anything but.
Sociability spawns likeability and likeability cannot be overstated in a business based on strong relationships.
People do business with people they like. An Advisor who does not have good social skills is probably not going to be likeable; and Advisors who are not likeable don’t last too long. They just don’t interact well.
Being likeable by no means guarantees success in our industry.
But it is nonetheless a critical social skill, especially when things aren’t going well. It makes up for a lot. Think of those times when you’ve seen a politician’s job approval rating drop, yet his or her likeability remains high. They live to fight another day.
To be sociable is to gather assets. To be sociable is to attain and retain clients. To be sociable is to weather the storms so persistent in the life of an Advisor-client relationship.
Like leadership skills, some people are born with social skills and others acquire them over time.
Naturally sociable people are outgoing, friendly and positive by nature. They put people at ease. They are fun to be around.
If you don’t feel you are terribly sociable, the remedy is near at hand.
Work on your communication skills.
Advisors who communicate clearly are both liked and admired. Sharpen your skills of persuasion. Persuasive people are charismatic. Treat everyone well. React favorably to people. Don’t be macho. Listen with interest. Focus on what you can do for the other guy. Make people feel good about themselves. Add value.
You’ve got to be a consummate professional, yet be deferential at the same time.
This all sounds easy. It is anything but, especially when the expectation is that you be businesslike. If we don’t go far enough, we run the risk of appearing aloof. If we go too far, we run the risk of appearing suave. Like any other important skill, being sociable requires practice.
The goal of any Financial Advisor is to have more than a few successful long-term relationships going at all times.
Doing anything for the short-term will damage at best, and destroy at worst, a long-term relationship. Such an action will get you disliked (and distrusted) immediately.
You can assume, when you see a fellow Advisor lauded by his or her clients, that the Advisor has great relationship-building skills. Those skills don’t come overnight and they begin with resisting temptation.
There are social skills we haven’t mentioned here, of course, but this is a good starter kit.
The implementation of these skills will make you fun to be around. That’s huge. Clients don’t want a PhD in finance. They want to educate their kids and relax in their old age.
They don’t want barrels on information. They what to find someone they can trust. Trust is the belief that you are reliable, honest and good at what you do.
They can’t trust you until they know you; and they won’t attempt to get to know you until they like you. Simple. Not easy, but simple.