How to Read the Behaviors of Your Wealth Management Clients

wealth managementTake your wealth management practice to a new level with these client management tips from Summit Brokerage.

An important aspect of a wealth management business model is to improve your financial planning client retention skills. To do this, you will want to become adept at observing non-verbal communication, more commonly known as body language. The art of learning body language can give you more information about your client than what you hear verbally, and that information is what gives you the edge on client retention.

An example of observing body language is the story of a wealth management advisor who is trying to convince his client to try a new investment strategy. The client isn’t sure about the new strategy and says that he will have to think about it. Observing that the client is sitting with his arms crossed (usually a closed posture) is the clue that he may be uncomfortable with the idea, and that you should proceed to tell him a story about how this strategy has helped others. It is important to note that some postures are just normal and comfortable for some people, so you will have to incorporate other verbal and non-verbal communication to read the client better. Below are some non-verbal communication clues that will help you improve your financial planning client retention:

  • There are open and closed postures in body language that you should observe. If your client is leaning forward during conversation, it is usually a good sign that they are open and engaged in what you have to say, but if they pull back and cross their arms you may have lost them. Crossed arms and legs don’t always indicate a closed posture, but if the client won’t look directly at you, or make eye contact, it can indicate a closed position.
  • The business of wealth management involves engaging your client and it is thought to be a good idea to mimic your client’s handshake. If the handshake is strong, yours should be also. Steepling is known as a power play often used by confident, powerful people and involves keeping your fingers spread apart so that you can touch the fingertips of the other person during a handshake. Keeping your palms up is seen as a positive gesture when speaking, but pointing a finger can be seen as negative and offensive.
  • If your client gives you direct eye contact it is a good sign, but if they keep turning their eyes away from you it can indicate that they are uncomfortable about something or that they have lost interest. Pursed lips can be a sign of distrust or disapproval, and laughing at an inappropriate time can indicate that your client feels nervous.
  • Respecting your client’s personal space means not touching them, other than to shake hands. Maintaining a proper distance from your client’s personal space will help your financial planning client retention because you are giving your client the respect they deserve.

To assist you as a wealth management advisor who is trying to improve their financial planning client retention skills, try to remain aware of verbal and non-verbal communication whether you are in the office, or with family or friends.

In today’s fast-paced society, we often avoid direct one-on-one communication and will opt for a phone call, text, fax or email. Using these forms of communication will provide information, but can rob you of observing all the subtle forms of communication, and the closeness of personal contact. The best way to improve your financial planning client retention skills is to personally engage people as often as possible and study them.

You can learn more about independent broker dealers at the Summit Brokerage blog. Summit Brokerage Services has been voted the #1 boutique independent broker dealer in the country. Let us show you why! To experience the Summit difference, learn more about our network of independent financial advisors, and begin creating your financial planning documents, visit or call us at (800) 354-5528.


Summit Brokerage Services has been voted the #1 boutique independent broker dealer in the country. Let us show you why! To experience the Summit difference, learn more about our network of independent financial advisors, and begin creating your financial planning documents, visit or call us at (800) 354-5528.


About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.


About Cetera Financial Group

Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions.  Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.

Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations.  Independent financial advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology.  For more information, visit

*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, and Summit Brokerage Services.


All information herein has been prepared solely for informational purposes, and it is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security or instrument or to participate in any particular trading strategy.


Content created by Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

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