10 Ways to Show Your Clients They're Important

Patti was featured in the FIC Perspective. It is the magazine of the Fraternal Insurance Counselor. Each issue is filled with sales ideas, motivational articles, Society news, and up-to-date information from NAFIC. Below is the full article followed by a link to the publication.
Sometimes we are unaware of how we look to others, or we don’t think what we are doing or not doing is noticed. But, our behavior is not invisible. What we do says volumes about us. What we don’t do can also lead to people thinking less than positive thoughts about us.  Following are people’s perceptions toward behaviors. These are perceptions that could result in a less-than-stellar view and that could result in your clients taking actions based on their perceptions, even so far as to select someone else as
their financial advisor.

Remember when your
mom would chastise you when
you made a rude facial expression,
saying, “Don’t make a face like that
or your face will freeze like that?”
Have you noticed how your body
language suddenly changes when
you get out of your sweatpants into
a suit and hard-soled shoes? Our
bodies form in the way we hold
and move them the most. We now
spend the majority of our waking
hours bent down, curled over our
devices, more than seven hours a
day on average. We forget we are
very visible and all that slumping
over in our muscle memory makes
it harder to sit up straight! Have
someone snap a photo of you
hunched over your computer or
tape you talking on the phone.
Now imagine your clients seeing
you sit like that with him or her in
a meeting. (Another incentive for
not constantly checking your phone
is research that shows that looking
down at your phone can put a strain
on your neck equivalent to the
weight of 60 pounds.) 


Interacting face-to-face or on the
phone or via conference calls while
doing something else, like checking
your emails and texts, may seem
a good use of your time, but your
voice or body language might be
sending messages to those you work
with that you don’t really care. One
specific non-verbal behavior area to
focus on is your feet. Your feet are
most frequently controlled by the
limbic brain, so they reveal where
you really want to be. For example,
if you are in a meeting but really
want to be back at your desk getting
other work done, your feet may
point toward the door. You might
think that is a subtle cue that others
couldn’t possibly notice, but where
your feet point actually affects the
rest of your body’s alignment. To
be more present and train yourself
to be fully attentive, point your feet
and the rest of your body toward the
speaker. (There are gender-based
differences regarding how we like
to have close, high-self-disclosure
conversations but, generally, if
you’re giving attention to a speaker
at a meeting or your client when he
is speaking, point your feet toward
him or her.)


Beginnings and endings are critical.
By spending time visiting with
people BEFORE the formal meeting
begins and not getting up and
leaving quickly or checking your
phone while there is still someone
with you (and you haven’t visited
and said good-bye), you are saying
non-verbally, “I am done with you
and now I have more important
things to do.” The time you spend
visiting and interacting face-to face
can be extremely valuable. It
helps you establish rapport and get
an emotional read of each person.
This helps you make connections
and alliances, and makes you look
better and helps you persuade
others to see your viewpoint. On
a very basic level, it puts credits in
the “relationship account” of each
person with whom you interact so
he or she knows you care.


Just a few years ago,
you looked like an
important, busy and hardworking
person if you brought your phone
with you everywhere and were
checking it constantly. But that
image has since changed. Now, you
just look like you’re rude, your time
and your needs are more important
than who you are with. Think
of your device as you would your
3-year-old child. When you meet
with a client, ask yourself, “Would I
have my 3-year-old with me during
this conversation?” If the answer
is no, put the device away or don’t
even bring it.
Challenge yourself to change your
tech impression in four important
a. Remember the person in
front of you is always more
important than anything on
your device. He or she is the
real, live person.
b. If you can, keep your technology
turned off and out of sight until
you need it. Don’t put it on the
desk or table between you and
the other person.
c. When you get to the meeting,
if you have a device that is
visible make it a ritual to pick
it up, set it on silent, and put
it out of your line of sight. I
would even recommend that
if you are meeting with one
to three people and you want
to let them know why you are
doing that and/or want them
to do the same, say out loud
something like, “I am putting
this away so I can focus on
you.” Or, “Let me turn this
off and put this away while
we talk.” Or, “I want to focus
on our conversation (or, this
important meeting).”
d. Don’t pull out the phone to
check your messages at the end
of the meeting if the people
with whom you are meeting
are still in the room. Say goodbye,
get out of their visual and
auditory field, and then check
your messages.


Recent research by Gregory
Northcraft, a professor in executive
leadership at the University of
Illinois, shows when projects are
managed by way of detached, high tech
means rather than face-to-face,
people will have less confidence that
others will do what they say they’ll
do. He says if your communication
is mainly through email, those you
work with will trust you less. Face to-
face contact yields the most trust
and cooperation while e-mail nets
the least, with videoconference
interaction ranking somewhere in
between. Your clients need to be
face-to- face to read the thousands
of non-verbal cues that give them
a read of you and help them decide
the best way to interact with you.15 Volume 10 Issue 1 | 5
Unless you are dealing with a client
that has requested no face to face
meeting, work on getting more face
to face time.


When you’re where your clients
might be, such as member events.
You need to say hello or good-bye
as you arrive or leave. You also need
to visit or socialize, speak up and
contribute in meetings, ask for time
to discuss projects face-to-face, go
to lunch with those working on the
project, and compliment others’
success or work effort. Ask people
questions about the projects, goals
and achievements. Be curious about
how they spend their free time and
what their loved ones are doing.
Again, face-to-face contact
builds trust.


Some clients want you to think
about them and be social before
you make a request; others want to
be quick and get down to business
immediately. Notice each client’s
unique needs. If they are warm
and linger in their conversations
start interactions with warm social
conversations. Whether in a phone
call, an email, or a text, ask about
the recipient or make a statement
about them before you talk about
yourself or make a request. Just
one or two sentences are fine; this
creates rapport and puts credits in
the relationship account. Those
extra salutations and sentences
show, non-verbally, that the person
you are sending a message to
matters and that you have thought
about them as an individual. It
also helps others recognize you,
gives you a personality, and makes
you stand out. Remember – you
don’t want to be invisible!


If you don’t respond
in any way to
an email, people will make
assumptions as to why they have
not heard from you. You may
delay a difficult question or email
from someone because you’re
afraid of a conflict or you don’t
know how to answer a question
the client has posed. But NOT
responding is an action. When you
don’t exhibit reasonable behavior,
people will guess why and those
assumptions tend to be negative.
If you put off answering or don’t
respond, you could get yourself in
big trouble. At least say, “I will get
back soon.” Or, “I read your email
and I will be responding soon.”
Otherwise, people think you are
unprofessional or just don’t care.
Though I will say that you should
not have to respond to requests
made at 2 am on a Sunday.


This may seem so very obvious but
News flash! You don’t dress just
for you. How you dress shows your
respect – or lack of respect – for
others. It is actually discourteous to
dress inappropriately for meetings.
Other studies show that 75% of
Americans think a well-dressed
man is more successful than his
causal coworkers and more than
one-fifth of men think they would
make more money if they dressed
better than they do and women
are seen as more competent
and intelligent if they dress


Keep your hair neat.
For men both on your
head and on your face. Women
who wear makeup rank higher in
competence and trustworthiness,
according to a study funded by
Procter & Gamble, Massachusetts
General Hospital, Harvard Medical
School, Boston University, and the
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.