This post was authored by Patrick Hoeppner, Dunham's Marketing Communications Associate. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858)964-0500. Hold us to a higher standard.

There is a certain element of empathy necessary to be a financial advisor. Customers come to you because they trust you. They trust you with the product of their life’s work, their diligence, their discipline, and their restraint. They haven’t spent the winnings of their career, the fruits of their labor, so that they could save them for their retirement. Here are five things which could help a financial advisor connect well with their clients in ways that matter.

1. Gregariousness

Clients want to speak with you like they speak with anyone else. You are there to be their sounding board for ideas about investment and retirement and their resource when things don’t go according to plan. You are there to reassure them that they have a solid path to financial stability. Clients like someone who can listen and connect with them over things that matter. Clients also really like people who are personable. As financial advisors, you are probably personable – that’s likely what drew you into this profession!

2. Reliability

Clients like stability in their advisors. They don’t like volatility in their investments, and they like speaking with someone who’s reliable. Your clients are your customers! There is competition out there and if they are dissatisfied, they won’t think for a moment before going to someone else.

3. Empathy

With financial advising, and financial matters in general, it is extremely important to keep empathy in mind. Different people may value money differently. They may have earned it differently or had different upbringings growing up. In this sense, it is good to keep an open ear to clients who may have had a different upbringing. This way, you can keep a client happy while understanding where they come from and why they have different perspectives to your own.

4. Knowledgeability

Clients love someone who knows their stuff. They won’t buy things from people who don’t, and if they do, they might regret it. Have you ever bought a car from a salesperson who didn’t know what he was doing? No, because the car might fall apart on its way off the lot. The quality of the sales pitch often reflects the quality of the product. If the person who’s selling you something sounds like they don’t know their stuff, what are the odds that the product is going to be good? Not good. The same goes for financial services. Reading blogs like this one are an excellent way to keep on top of trends!

5. Kindness

Being a kind person goes miles in business. It really does. Being a kind person is a key part of being a person who is a good leader, especially if you run a practice with employees. If your employees love you and love your company, they will love their jobs. It is critical that you put kindness first to better your relationship with your customers. They will like you more if you’re kind.

In short, the traits which one can cultivate include gregariousness, reliability, empathy, knowledgeability, and kindness. These are some tips and keys that I hope you keep in mind while you go about your business. I hope that this update found you well this holiday season, and was a welcome update to your day.