February 8, 2011
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When it comes to communicating with clients, too often we revert to the habit of using words alone. To maximize the impact of your communication, you need to help others visualize your message.
We’re all familiar with the expression that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
And research study after research study demonstrates beyond question that a graphic depiction of a simple point is many times more powerful than explaining it by words alone.
Not only is a graphic illustration of your message more persuasive, it’s also much more memorable – it sticks with clients in a way that words alone won’t.
Here’s a simple example:
In talking to clients about the performance of money managers, you could describe how they’ve outperformed the market over time.
You could show a chart with returns over 1, 3, 5 and 10 years and since inception.
Or you could show a mountain chart visually demonstrating how $100 invested in 1954 has grown, as Franklin Templeton Funds did for many years.
Intellectually, we all recognize the power of a well-constructed image …
You need to integrate a visual element into your communication at three levels.
When talking with existing or prospective clients, beforehand identify the one, two or at the very most three key messages you want to convey.
These could relate to the long-term benefits of a balanced portfolio, opportunities in global markets or in niche sectors like emerging markets or high-yield debt, or comparing returns on investment-grade and Government bonds. Your points could focus on market evaluations or economic trends … or they could talk to tax savings opportunities from spousal loans or pension splitting.
Whatever messages you want to deliver, to do this most effectively you need to prepare simple graphics beforehand that reinforce your key points. This is true when meeting face-to-face – and it’s just as true when talking on the phone. If you’re talking to a client on the phone, you can email a graphic and ask them to open the file while you’re talking.
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