Given today’s cluttered, short-attention span world, getting your message to stand out and stick with clients and prospects has never been more challenging.  Fortunately, new research provides guidance for anyone looking to tell your story more effectively.

Let’s suppose you’re talking to a prospect about your approach to portfolio construction, risk management or wealth management.  How do you get past the “sea of sameness” that I discussed in last fall’s article, Getting Past “Blah, Blah, Blah” When Talking to Prospects? Or say you’re meeting with a client to present a financial plan or to discuss recent market turbulence. How do you get clients to remember your key points months after the meeting?

Except with the most analytical of clients, the answer is not more facts, figures or statistics. Instead, there are three core approaches to making your message resonate:

  1. The power of engagement
  2. The power of visuals
  3. The power of storytelling

The power of engagement

Your first priority is to get clients engaged in the conversation – the more engaged, the more likely they’ll absorb, relate to and remember your key message.

The only way to get through to people is to engage them in dialogue; that’s why formal “death by PowerPoint” presentations are being phased out. That approach is backed up by a Forrester Research study of corporate decision-makers on important buying decisions, 88% of whom say they’d replace formal PowerPoint presentations with more dialogue.

The best advisors make it their number one goal to ask questions to get clients talking. One advisor completely reworked the way she presents financial plans to achieve this goal. After many hours of work to prepare financial plans, she found clients tuned out when flipping through the binders with the results.

Here’s what she did:

  1. She moved from a large boardroom to a smaller meeting room with a round table, so she was beside clients rather than across the table.
  2. Rather than giving the binder with the plan to clients at the beginning, she kept this to the very end, briefly reviewing the contents before allowing clients to walk away with it.  In the process, she reduced the length of the plan to make it more manageable reading.
  3. She had one of her staff operate the projector to take clients through the highlights of their plan. As a result, she was able to give them her undivided attention.
  4. The focus of her conversation was discussing “what-if” scenarios with clients, with her staff person making changes to plan assumptions on the fly and showing the results on the screen.

Clients and prospects can’t talk too much in meetings. Write down a list of questions beforehand and make it your top priority to get them engaged – and you’re on your way to a memorable meeting.

See full article on Three Ways to Make Your Message Resonate by Dan Richards, Advisor Perspectives