What do an FBI agent, professional poker player and successful financial advisor have in common? A distinct, scientific ability to read people! At Beacon, we are dedicated to improving the science of investing, and this month we are here to help you improve the science of verbal and non-verbal communication.
The field of behavioral science has taken off in recent years—we want to know “what makes people tick.” One branch of behavioral science that has made its mark in financial services is behavioral selling, where the goal of understanding people, their behaviors and their personalities is vital to finding success. But studying behavioral patterns works both ways. Experts at TTI Success Insights have found that within the first five seconds of meeting you, a prospect has already sized you up and is judging you on your level of trustworthiness. So how do you gain a prospect’s trust right off the bat? One of the most efficient ways is through empathy.
Perhaps the best way to develop empathy is through mirroring—which means fitting your style to match their style. If they’re an engineer, for example, you cut back on the chitchat and supply them with concrete details. If they’re more laid-back, perhaps they want to tell you anecdotes about their family. They want you to ask them about their family—those kids and grandkids. To help you gain a prospect’s trust, let’s take a closer look at four of the different personality types so you can gain insight on how to connect with each of them.
Dominant personalities have a strong handshake, very strong eye contact, and they want you to get to the point right away. They focus on efficiency—what is the clearest path to their objective—because every meeting they have is time sensitive. For dominant people, it’s important that they feel like they’re the boss, that they’re the one in control. They can handle risk, but they want to feel like they’re the one making that decision.
You will recognize the influencer from their appearance. They love colorful clothes and flashy accessories such as pink socks or a purple hanky in their pocket. They’re often creative people, so they like to hear you talk about how you think outside the box. The influencer is focused on experience, and want you to focus on the positives well before you get to the negatives. That’s their outlook on life and how their brain works.
The steadiness personality is looking for security and will typically be more introverted, but cooperative and looking to connect with you on a more personal level. They are good listeners and often smile and nod approvingly at your comments or gesture with their hands. They also do a lot of “tracking,” which means when you’re speaking, they’re responding with affirmations such as, “Oh, yeah. Yeah. I get what you’re saying. Yeah.” These affirmations are an important communication tool for the steadiness personality, who also look to avoid confrontation.
You’ll find the compliant personality will generally have a more measured pace of speech and exhibit less emotion. Think of Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek series. They are analytical by nature and are going to be very focused in how they present themselves and will expect the same from you. They value logic over emotion. They want clear, detailed information. Compliant personalities are okay with you talking about the negatives of an investment. In fact, if you don’t have possible negatives to include, they will be wary that you’re incompetent or haven’t done your homework.
While some people fall into these exact personality types, most will blend aspects from the various types. Also, when you talk to clients, you will often talk to couples who exhibit very different traits. In those cases, it’s important to strike a balance. You will need to allow time for, say, an influencer’s need for anecdotes while also allowing for the directness that a spouse with compliant personality traits desires.
For additional resources on this topic, download this cheat sheet on identifying and adapting to your client’s personality.