During your career as a financial advisor, you will deal with some form of client conflict. That conflict may be between your client and a family member, or the client may direct their ire at you. No matter the target, dealing with an upset client is a difficult task. The best way to prepare for these moments is to understand conflict resolution. Conversations around resolving conflict vary based on the client. The mechanics of conflict resolution remain the same.
Listening is important in every client interaction, this is especially true when faced with conflict. When someone lashes out, it’s often because they don’t feel heard. Give your client(s) the opportunity to talk out their feelings and concerns. While they talk, stay attentive, and take notes if you need them. Use those notes to circle back to anything you need to address once the client finishes.
If you escalate, the client(s) will take their cues from you so it’s critical that you stay calm. Staying calm can be difficult if the client is angry or yelling at you. This is when it’s important to remember that their reaction probably isn’t personal.
Don’t take sides
When a client is in conflict with a partner or other family member you are a neutral party. Your role is to mediate, and hear both sides of the situation. Let everyone know they’ve been heard and move forward from there.
Don’t get defensive
No one enjoys being yelled at, so it’s normal to become defensive when it happens. If you find yourself in conflict with a client, being defensive won’t help. When you feel that you need to defend yourself, take some slow deep breaths. You should still respond to the client, but don’t point fingers. Stick with “I” statements and reinforce that you’re listening to the client.
Be willing to compromise
Conflict resolution isn’t about being right. It’s about moving things forward from a point of contention. That means that there are going to be times when working out a compromise is your best option. You don’t need to cave to absurd demands, but there’s usually a point between what they want and what you can offer.
There are going to be clients and situations where conflict is inevitable. You can’t prevent every issue, but you can be ready to resolve it. For more free resources to improve your business acumen and grow your practice fill out the form at advisorwealthmastery.com.