Storyselling skills separate elite producers from second rate producers

By mikewalters

USA Financial


Financial advisors with good storyselling skills have a much better potential opportunity to understand the product that’s being recommended or the financial plan that’s being presented to them, but it also starts to make an emotional connection with the advisor, which leads to other important things.

Recently, I interviewed Wealthnetic’s President, Brent Enders, regarding the elite producer’s sales skill, storytelling. Brent sheds light on why this skill is important to master to become a successful advisor.

Walters: For years we’ve been telling people about the horsepower behind storyselling, the ability to create a tangible story around an intangible topic, as we so often have to deal with in the financial world. And apparently there’s some new data or at least some new articles coming out about that right now?

Enders:Right, there are. In fact, Mike, in this article — I’ll touch on a couple things, but it references a book that for years you and I have purchased and given out to our advisor clientele called Storyselling for Financial Advisors. The whole book talks about what you just stated, and it also is referenced in this article. We get asked all the time to profile the higher-level producers that we work with and what makes them successful. And interestingly enough, the one common thing we always find, which is not what most advisors think it would be, that causes them to have the most success is their ability to tell a story.

Walters: Yep, combined with being trustworthy and likable.

Enders: Correct. It’s not who’s the most educated, meaning, you know, alphabet soup after their name. Now, that’s great education and great knowledge and great information and to be the best, an advisor certainly needs to understand all of that. But the ones that consistently succeed better than most are the ones that can tell a story. And it’s because they can make the intangible tangible; as you pointed out, they can make the complicated simple. Because most consumers aren’t in this industry, never were in this industry, don’t want to be in our industry, they don’t want to know all the technical stuff.

They want a basic understanding of it so they can wrap their mind around it and feel comfortable with what’s being delivered to them or what’s being promised or said, but they don’t want to know all the technicalities.

Walters: Yeah. It’s kind of like being the financial advisor version of a doctor with good bedside manner. It’s all about taking that complex and making it understandable.
Enders: Right. In fact, there was a medical study done years ago to determine what type of a doctor typically gets sued versus who doesn’t, and it had nothing to do with the med school they attended, the trades they got when they were in med school or their ability to deliver on the surgery or the prescription or the success of them being a doctor. It basically boiled down to bedside manner.

And in the advisor world, that part’s definitely true, but also the ability to explain to a consumer how these complicated strategies work and how these complicated products work makes the difference between success and failure, or phenomenal success and what I’ll call average success. An article entitled, “Want to Communicate Better? Tell a Story” has a couple key points I thought I’d point out and then we can talk a little bit more about what an advisor should do to kind of train their brain, because if you’ve not done it this way, it’s hard at first.

The article states that, “Although financial advisors are good with the so-called left-brain skills, the fact of the matter is it’s the softer, right-brain skills that establish an emotional connection with the clients.” So two things happen. First of all, they have a much better potential opportunity to understand the product that’s being recommended or the financial plan that’s being presented to them, but it also starts to make an emotional connection with the advisor, which leads to other important things. The trustworthiness definitely starts to be a connection.

Referability goes way through the roof. Because one of the problems clients have in referring a financial advisor — there’s lots of them that would like to. One of the reasons they don’t is they don’t know how to explain to their friends and their neighbors and their family what it is that the advisor did for them.