Every financial advisor knows communication is the most important tool they need to possess in order to succeed. So here are some steps to improve your correspondence with clients.

Listen. Many advisors have the bad habit of tuning their clients out after they begin talking, presuming they have heard enough to give a ‘sound’ advice. Before coming up with a reply, let them speak and just listen. You can formulate a better and more practical reply if you listened to everything they need to say first. Being a good listener signifies respect, which always pays off. Clients prefer advisors who lend their ears to them and make them feel respected.

Tone it right. Arguably, clients are more particular with the tone of voice than the message. But it is true the tone of voice matters a lot as it can determine the outcome of a conversation. So it is imperative to set the right tone when talking to a client. Sound as sincere as possible so they will take you seriously.

Express your gratitude. Start the conversation by thanking them for expressing what they feel to you. Be sincere as well. That way you can validate a satisfied customer or defuse an irate client. It also gives you the opportunity to find out you are doing something right or something is amiss. You will never know such things unless they tell you. Every feedback renders your strong and weak points as an advisor, which can help you improve your ties with them.

Stay on their footing. The best way to lose a client is to talk to them in a condescending tone. Never talk them down for that matter because it makes you look uncaring and boastful. When conversing with a lay person, explain the financial matters based on their language. Being eloquent or elaborative takes you nowhere. Remember KISS (keep it simple, stupid).

Mind your body language. Your stance, posture, and expression transcend a clear message about you and what you feel. For instance, crossed arms can be misinterpreted as a defense mechanism. If you have the tendency to do this, do something else with those arms. Or if you really can’t help it, provide other signals that you are listening. One way is maintaining an eye contact.

Paraphrase what they said. This is the most effective way to prove what you heard is right. If they agree with your paraphrase, then you got it rightly. If not, they will correct you. Do it again and integrate their corrections. Keep repeating until you get it right. In most cases, it is not appropriate to finish the client’s sentence for them as it disempowers and annoys them. But there are times it is warranted, especially if the person is attempting to describe something technical that he cannot precisely quantify.