Every Advisor Needs to Bring Back the Story

The ability to tell good stories is vital if you want people to like and trust you. Your clients like you and trust you. They didn’t buy a financial plan or a managed account. They bought you.

People can’t ‘buy’ you until they know you and the best way to get to know you is to hear your story. And they can’t hear your story until you tell it to them. The better you do that, the sooner you open the account. As Peter Guber says, you tell to win.

Listen to the audio episode or read the transcript below to learn why you should bring back the story.

We’ve dropped storytelling as part of our curriculum.

The best Advisors have always been great storytellers, and there are fewer storytellers now than ever. We’ve lost the story. Only the great ones continue to tell stories to their prospects and clients. All the others show charts, graphs and research reports. They let the numbers do the talking. People aren’t looking to make decisions about numbers. They are looking for someone they can trust.

Our business had evolved from a transactional process of selling products to a far more sophisticated approach of explaining the benefits of tactical asset allocation. There is no apparent need for a story and there is nothing romantic about someone paying a predictable fee for regularly scheduled consultations.

That may sound like no big deal, but it is.

For one thing, as this business has evolved from a sales-y to a pedantic environment, our selling skills have diminished. Now, when prospects stand up and announce they want to go home to think about it, most of us are at a loss for words. Our selling skills are tarnished and our instincts are not quite as sharp as they might be.

For another thing, stories are among the greatest of teaching aids. Certain necessary steps in life are impossible to explain without a good story.

You can’t nag someone into thinking long term. Nagging will do you more harm than good. You’ve got to draw a word picture that explains the rewards of sacrificing now for a benefit realized later on.

► Watch the Storytelling intro video in “Tools of the Trade” library on Don Connelly 24/7

When you tell stories that illustrate how to save money or think long-term, you are teaching a skill.

To tell someone to think long-term is to talk to the wall. To tell a story that drives home the point is to shape behavior.

Stories validate your client’s need to climb the mountain, to overcome near-term inconvenience for the good of his family. A story that relates how the family is saved and dad is the hero beats any piece of sales literature you can lay your hands on.

Clients don’t want to hear about the track record of the Delaware Pooled Large Cap Growth Equity Fund or the J.P. Morgan Growth Advantage Fund. They want to know how old your kids are and where you live. They want to know what kind of person you are. They want to know how you’ll act when the chips are down.

A well-told story gets the listener involved and compels him or her to action.

In one of her terrific books, Annette Simmons explains how people don’t want more technical information. They want to know you.

To tell stories is to bring a relationship-oriented approach to the way you do business. This makes people feel comfortable. To tell people about yourself is to show that you are a real person, not just a professional Advisor.

You have a life outside your job. This approach, showing your personality, creates relationships that numbers by themselves could never create. And it’s the relationship that you want, not the sale.

There is no humanity in numbers and charts. The humanity comes via the story. And it’s the story that gives you presence.

If you want to improve your storytelling skills, get Don’s storytelling CD – “Say It So It Makes a Difference

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  • “Once upon a time there was a family who lived……………………”

    Yup. Its been around for thousands of years. Before Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook………..you get the picture.

    Drawings in caves. Murals in museums. Alfred Hitchcock. Story telling.

    Last year I attended a conference and a financial advisor was on stage speaking about being on the brink of suicide. Losing everything. A true story. The audience (me included) were on the edges of our seats. The story ended well and he clawed his way back to becoming a successful financial advisor for many clients.

    Connecting to clients (in ANY industry) on an emotional level.
    Educating customers, not selling.
    Sharing real life personal examples in order to get a point across.

    Good stuff Don!

    …..these are just my .02 cents…………..

    • Diana Marinova /

      Thanks for sharing your 2 cents, Marty – you are right! Connecting to clients in any industry on an emotional level matters; but it is especially important in our industry. It not only helps you connect with your clients; storytelling helps them better understand what you do and how you can help them. Educating is key – agreed!

      Thanks for stopping by and i hope we’ll see you in the commenting section again soon 🙂

    • Don Connelly /

      Marty: Thank you!

      Don Connelly

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