Wednesday, January 11. 2012
Financial Planning Leaders Suggest The One Skill That Has The Biggest Impact On Success (Guest Post)
Empathy was a common theme throughout. Roy Diliberto and Rich Busillo, both of whom are my mentors at RTD Financial Advisors, believe that empathy is the one skill that is most important. This essential skill develops trust and helps the advisor understand the client along with their goals, values, dreams, and fears. Brett Danko echoes the same thoughts by defining empathy as the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. Analytical skills are necessary but empathy is by far the most important. You must be able to understand your client’s hopes and dreams through empathy. Ross Levin also believes that the most important skill in being a sound financial planner is empathy, followed by curiosity. I interpret Levin’s curiosity as being a student of the profession, and having a genuine interest in effectively solving client concerns with the most appropriate solution. Dan Moisand gives the edge to empathy as well, and defines it as being able to see things from another person's perspective. Moisand says that the better you understand before being understood, the more effective you will be. This leads to satisfied clients who are more apt to tell others about the good experience. Marc Freedman explains that there must be a continual reminder that people look to you as a leader in their life. It is a planner's job to make sure that you give equal attention to their emotions as well as finances. People look to you for answers. Use your objective guidance and explore all of the alternatives to make the clients feel satisfied with their decisions.
Did you interview the people whom you cite in this blog post? Read their articles? Hear them speak at a conference? Send a survey? It's not clear to me how you came by the information in this interesting article.
Rich collected the feedback by email. Sorry, I think he said that in an earlier version of the piece he sent me, and it accidentally got edited out in our back and forth process.
Add my name to Dilberto, Jetton and others. In my lexicon, empathy fits in the "intimacy" part of the Trust Equation (along with credibility, reliability, and other-orientation).
In our research on 12,000 people who took the online Trust Equation self-assessment test, Intimacy was the most powerful of the four: and empathy is its practical application.
Two things are required for empathy: the ability to notice others' feelings, and the ability (and courage) to comment on them. It is the second, not the first, that I find consistently lacking in professionals.
We have made ourselves so frightened of appearing unprofessional or inappropriate that we have learned to deny our own powers of emotional observation – which are in fact considerable.
For a post on empathy, resentment and sales effectiveness, read here http://ow.ly/8qtNT