Category: Loyalty · 3 min read
4 Client Communication Styles to Improve Your Interactions
on December 5, 2019
on December 5, 2019
Every client that walks through your door has a certain style. Maybe they dress a certain way or say the same thing every time they meet with you. Maybe their attitude towards you never changes, and you have to work hard to get them to smile. But, through all of these attitudes and habits, they also have a specific kind of communication style. A unique way of thinking and communicating to themselves and those around them.
In every relationship, including your client relationships, good communication is key. It can make or break your connection. Think of it like a marriage. If you have poor communication, you’re not going to be on the same page, causing frustration. The same is true with your clients. If you’re not connecting with them, it can lead to miscommunication issues.
To make that connection stronger, it can help to determine your clients’ communication styles. There are four distinct styles, created by New York Times best-selling author, Mark Murphy:
Let’s go through each one to see how these different communicators think, talk, and see the world, and how knowing these styles can help you in your client meetings.
If you’re not connecting with them, it can lead to miscommunication issues.
Like it sounds, analytical communicators are big fans of numbers. They like charts, graphs, data, facts, projections, statistics, etc. They tend to make sense of things through research and data. But, if they don’t see the numbers or think that decisions are being made without looking at the numbers in-depth, they might start to doubt the whole approach.
If you think you have a client that communicates analytically, then show them all the data, charts, and numbers you have. Give them the details, and explain how you get them. Back up your research and facts, and they’ll appreciate your honesty and effort.
Now think of the opposite of the analytical style and you’ll have intuitive communicators. They’re focused on the end result, the bottom line. They don’t want to see the research or the data, they just want to see the big picture. They’re focused and fast, and enjoy solving problems and thinking outside the box. Because of that, they may overlook the details.
For your intuitive clients, start the meeting off with a summary. Instead of diving into the details right away, help them out by giving a high-level view of what you’re going to talk to them about. This will help them frame their answers and make decisions. Obviously, still talk to them about the necessary details, but keep it short, if possible, so they don’t tune out.
Also known as the people who like the process. Functional communicators are similar to the analytical style, but they’re focused on tasks and timelines, instead of numbers and data. They’re the project managers of the world. They pay attention to the details and keep things on track and on time. Functional people like charts, whiteboards, and other visuals that help explain the process and plan.
As you meet with clients that fit into the functional style, use as many visuals as possible to show how their plan will play out. Walk them step-by-step through the entire situation, so they can visualize and map it out in their mind.
Most people like personal stories and connections, but for some it’s not a “want,” it’s a “need.” That’s the personal communication style. These people are personable, social, and are really good at creating and building relationships with others. They view feelings and emotional connections as highly important, and are usually peacemakers and wear their emotions on their sleeve. For some people, this personal style can seem too over-the-top, but it’s a valuable resource to have.
These types of clients connect emotionally, so work to be more personal and relatable to them. Tell a real-life, relevant story to their situation of a past client. This can help them relate and understand exactly how you could help them. Another way to build relationships with personal communicators is to genuinely get to know them. Make it your mission to uncover what they really want their retirement to look like, and find their “why.”
The goal of this isn’t to lump each one of your clients into one of these four categories. Sometimes, you won’t be able to tell how your client communicates. But this can help you identify some common styles and behaviors, to create a better experience for your clients, and help improve your credibility and relationship.
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