Are You Listening to What Your Clients Are Telling You?

Good relationships are based on communication—your client relationships are not different. Not only do you have to possess the ability to break down complicated concepts and connect on a personal level, you must be able to understand if what you’re saying reflects what your clients tell you. The CFA Institute’s From Trust to Loyalty study cited “failure to listen” as one of the top reasons clients don’t like their financial advisors.

Review the following to enhance your communication techniques and build deeper client relationships.

Give clients space to be heard. Remember the saying, “You were given two ears but only one mouth”? Your clients want to know you have the depth of knowledge to help them, but they also want to fully express their needs. In your client meetings, aside from providing context on performance or different investment strategies, give them the floor.

Use open-ended questioning: This is a great way to give clients the floor and encourage them to open up. Avoid asking a lot of questions with a straight “yes” or “no” answer. Instead use the five Ws and how:

  • “Who will be impacted by this decision?”
  • “What are your long-term goals?”
  • “Where do you envision your retirement going?”
  • “When do you want to implement this strategy?”
  • “Why are these elements important to you?”
  • “How do you prefer to receive performance updates?”

This gets clients to think through their objectives and express them in greater detail.

Mirror client language: When your clients share their answers, use their same words and phrases in your responses. This demonstrates your level of comprehension—plus, repetition never hurts in making a concept stick. You can use any of the following phrases for effective mirroring:

  • “What I’m hearing you say is…”
  • “To recap…”
  • “Did I capture this accurately?”

Watch for what’s not being said. Nonverbal cues, or body language, can tell you a lot about what your clients are thinking. Eye contact, postures, and even handshakes can alert you to whether your message is resonating, or if you need to provide further explanation (or stop to ask for feedback). Click here for more information on how to interpret these nonverbal cues.

What communication techniques do you use with clients?

To stay up to date about the latest trends in independent financial advice or the independent broker-dealer space, visit If you’d like to experience the difference of working with the #1 boutique broker-dealer in the country, call us today 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 firms empowering the delivery of professional financial 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 service provider 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. Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management 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 independent firms encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Investment Services (marketed as Cetera Financial Institutions), Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities and Summit Brokerage Services. All firms are members FINRA/SIPC.

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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