When I say ‘vulnerability’, I can almost feel my readers cringe—especially if they’re male! Vulnerability has really gotten a bad rap over the years. It brings to mind weakness and being overly emotional, which is not at all what being vulnerable is about. If you want to really go into some depth about the topic of vulnerability, I highly recommend reading anything by Brené Brown. She also has an amazing TED talk about the topic that will blow you away. But for the purpose of this blog, I will boil it down to an easy explanation: being vulnerable means being open.
When I say open, I mean you have to be willing to put yourself out there. To share who you really are and how you feel. Being vulnerable means taking down those walls many of us have spent years building and hiding behind. It means taking a chance that you’ll be hurt. No wonder the word scares people, right?? But the truth is, if we aren’t vulnerable, we can never truly experience joy and love. We also can’t connect with people on a deeper level. Are you starting to see why being vulnerability might be an asset in your financial caregiver career? Let me tell you more.
How to Be Appropriately Vulnerable with Clients
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not suggesting you should start weeping in your client meetings and share with them details of your traumatic childhood. What I am suggesting is that you let your clients truly see you for who you are. Stop trying to pretend like you know everything. Stop hiding behind a wall of expertise. When you show your clients you’re human and struggle with many of the same issues that they do, you’ll be able to truly connect with them.
Too many of those in the industry have taken financial advisor courses that encourage them to be an oracle. They are taught to show no weakness and act as if they know the future of the market and exactly what their clients should do at all times. Not only is this unrealistic, but it also cuts off any chance of developing a real human connection with those you serve.
Open up to your clients. Tell them a little about your family and that you’re worried about your daughter getting her drivers license in a month. Share with them the workout routine you’re struggling to stick to and what you thought of the movie you saw last night. You’re not a robot who picks stocks all day and powers down as soon as the markets close and it’s important your clients see that.
Three Reasons Vulnerability Can Help Your Career
It Helps Clients get to Know You.
When you focus on being a fiduciary, your career shifts to one of a mentor and caregiver. For this type of relationship to work, your clients need to know who you are and what you stand for. Being vulnerable allows them to do that.
It Builds Trust
Trust can only be built in a two-way relationship. Sharing needs to come from both sides, and so does transparency. If you expect your clients to be honest and open with you, you first need to display these qualities to them. This is what a trusting relationship is built on.
It Encourages Reciprocity
You can’t advise and guide your clients properly if you don’t know who they are, and I mean really know who they are. Your clients have to feel comfortable opening up and showing their vulnerability. One of my favorite pieces of advice is that if you want something from another person, your best bet is to give it to them first. When you give vulnerability, nine times out of ten you’ll get it back.
Building a behavioral-based financial advice career doesn’t have to be a daunting process. When you boil it down to what it really is—building relationships—you’ll see that it is in line with how most of want to serve our clients. When you bring vulnerability into your client relationships, you open new doors to trust and reciprocity that benefit everyone.
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How I grew my advisory to $140 million in assets under management, working 15 hours a week & with one employee