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Neuroscience Tricks for Better FA-Client Relations

October 25, 2016

Advisors can make their interactions with clients more fruitful for both parties with some help from neuroscience, Michael Gregory writes in Advisor Perspectives.

Neuroscience studies how to make the brain more receptive to new ideas, and the trick is to reach conclusions both logically and emotionally, according to Gregory, a conflict resolution specialist. The keys to successful persuasion, he writes, are building a relationship, listening to the other side, education — of both yourself and the client — and, finally, negotiation.

It’s important to build a comfortable relationship first, according to Gregory, and that all starts with small talk to get to know each other.

For the first meeting, he suggests some techniques to relax the other party, including picking a pleasant location, ensuring there are snacks and beverages (Gregory suggests antioxidants and water to “promote listening”), and bringing along someone of the opposite sex. The thinking there, insists Gregory, is that our brains are predisposed to look for food, shelter and sex. Gregory doesn’t specify whether it’s important to bring a female assistant to talk to a female client if the advisor is male, or vice versa, however.

The next step is listening to the client’s concerns, which also includes paraphrasing and summarizing what the client has to say, he writes. Gregory suggests more small talk to warm up the client’s brain to the advisor’s ideas. An advisor should be well-prepared for the conversation, because the next step is educating the client, he writes.

Asking questions that will get “yes” responses, he suggests, will produce hormones in the client’s brain that will make it more receptive to the advisor’s ideas.

Finally, when it’s time for negotiation, Gregory says that the first three steps should have prepared both the advisor and the client for a resolution that everyone can agree with, logically and emotionally.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Advisor Perspectives article cited in this story, click here.