Turning Small Talk Into a Big Opportunity

By: Catherine Tsai
May 14, 2015

SmallTalk_Thumb1.png“How was your week?” “Do you have any trips planned this year?”

Far from being idle chitchat, small talk can be the start of building a long-lasting relationship, according to PHConsulting Group director Patti Hausherr, who helps financial advisors better serve women.

Women often feel disrespected, misunderstood, and overlooked by advisors, Hausherr said at Transamerica’s Coaching Forum.  An advisor who can listen, communicate, build trust, and add value stands a better chance of holding on to female clients.

What to do …

Many female clients will appreciate it if their advisors first establish a connection before talking about any sort of financial planning, Hausherr said.

Begin with life and family issues. Who makes up her family? Where did she grow up? Do any relatives still live in that town? If you uncover something the two of you have in common, explore that.

“This is not small talk. You’re providing her an opportunity to connect with you,” which is something she wants to do, Hausherr said.

Communication strategist Frank Luntz says the key to avoid having a canned conversation is to ask follow-up questions to show that you’re listening and care about her answers.

“Women are highly astute when it comes to authenticity,” Hausherr said.

… and what not to do

Don’t assume you know what she’ll say.

Especially when working with women who have built their own wealth, “It’s about approaching them with a lot of respect and questions as opposed to assumptions,” said wealth psychology expert Kathleen Burns Kingsbury.

Ready for the next step? Check out 10 Small Steps for Treating Clients Well.

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