Benefits for financial advisors from developing social intelligence

Being able to effectively interact with people is important to many aspects of a financial advisor’s profession and business. Everything from interacting with staff, clients, and potential clients is impacted. These interactions are where social intelligence comes in.

Social intelligence is the ability to effectively interact with others. It is the knowledge and skills to understand someone, know what they are talking about, and to say the right things. Simply put, it’s people skills.

There are many benefits for financial advisors from developing social intelligence. Through business coaching you can learn about the benefits and how you can develop your social intelligence. Below are ten benefits to get you started.

Ten benefits for financial advisors from developing social intelligence

Social Intelligence benefit 1: Be a more effective financial advisor leader

If you are in a leadership role, social intelligence can help you to be more effective. You can understand better what your staff is thinking and feeling, you can better communicate, you can hire more effectively, and you can better deal with situations that arise.

If you aren’t in a leadership role, developing social intelligence can be an important step in getting to one. With social intelligence you can better perform when opportunities arise, for example, when you are assigned to lead a project or a team. By doing well in these situations, you can demonstrate your ability to lead and show you are ready for the next opportunity.

Social Intelligence benefit 2: Better interactions for financial advisors with coworkers

As a financial advisor, you interact with all types of coworkers. There may be people in different departments, such as those in marketing or the legal department. There may be people with different backgrounds. There will also be different personalities among the people you work with.

By developing social intelligence, you can improve your interactions with those you work with. You can understand better who you are and who they are. You can see how your personality and background as a financial advisor might be different from a coworker’s and you can understand how to work with this difference to have positive interactions.

Social Intelligence benefit 3: A better ability for financial advisors to understand clients and their needs

As a financial advisor, you are dealing with a variety of clients with a variety of challenges and goals.

Do you have an ability to understand a couple who has just retired? What about a single parent trying to save for their young child’s college education? What about a business owner wanting to develop a retirement plan for their employees?

In each of these situations, and in others, social intelligence can help you understand your client and their goals. You can better put yourself in their shoes, understand the situations they are in, and be better able to communicate with them.

Learning these skills can make a difference and can help you to meet your clients’ expectations of you.

Social Intelligence benefit 4: A better ability for financial advisors to talk to potential clients

Being able to introduce yourself, what you do, and ask for business from potential clients is something that takes skill and social intelligence. By developing this skillset you can better understand when to approach a potential client, what to say, how to ask for their business, and how to get them to the next step of talking with you further.

Social Intelligence benefit 5: Come across as more personable

Although being a financial advisor is about knowledge and experience regarding investments and financial products, it is also about people. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if potential clients or coworkers don’t find you approachable, you won’t have the charm and personality to win them over.

By developing these skills, you can come across as more personable. You can better position yourself to be a person people like, regard well, and feel comfortable with. This can help you with your current clients, potential clients, and coworkers. It can also help you to get more referrals.

Social Intelligence benefit 6: Inspire confidence

It’s not enough to know how to do something; people need to believe you can do it. Whether that something is leading a team, doing well in a new position, planning a client’s retirement, or managing the retirement plan for a business, if people don’t have confidence that you can do what they need, they won’t select you to do it.

With these skills, you can inspire confidence. You can learn to let people know about your skills and experience without coming across as bragging. You can learn to demonstrate your abilities at the right times and in the right situations.

Social Intelligence benefit 7: Improved networking

Whether your goal is to move up at your company, get a position at a new company, or to get new clients, networking is essential. By interacting with others and building connections you can get the opportunities you need to meet your goals.

As a financial advisor, a lot of what you do in business depends on connections. You need to know people and you need to be able to have effective business relationships with them. By improving this skill you can learn to network better. You can understand the intricacies and norms of networking and what it takes to network more effectively.

Social Intelligence benefit 8: Increased empathy

Whether you are interacting with a client who needs help with their finances because their spouse recently passed away or you are interacting with a staff member who is nervous about their new role in the company, being able to understand how people feel is vitally important.

Much of what you do as a financial advisor will be helping clients through transitions or helping clients with future goals. Being socially intelligent can help you to do this effectively. When you can put yourself in another person’s shoes, and feel what they are feeling, you can understand them and give them what assistance they need.

Social Intelligence benefit 9: More people want to work with you as their financial advisor

Whether there are new clients wanting your assistance, coworkers wanting to join your department, or a business looking for someone to work on a project with, using this skill can mean more people want to work with you.

Developing this skill helps you come across well. You seem nice and people like to engage with you. You are easy to talk with and easy to do business with. All of these things can mean more people want to work with you.

Social Intelligence benefit 10: A better ability to deal with and avoid bad situations

As a financial advisor, you’ll inevitably have to deal with some bad situations. Maybe a client is unhappy with how things are going or an employee is upset about something that happened in the office. These things are just part of the business of being a financial advisor.

That being said, by developing this skill you can better deal with these situations. You can learn to deescalate someone who is upset and you can learn what to say in situations that might be uncomfortable. You can develop the skills need to make things better.

Additionally, once you develop this skill, you can learn to avoid bad situations. For example, you might learn to update clients more frequently so they experience less surprises. Or, you might learn how different personalities at work interact and arrange teams so people who can get along work together.

Ten ways financial advisors can develop social intelligence

Now that you know the benefits of developing this skillset, you’ll want to learn how you can develop it. Below are ten ways you can develop social intelligence.

1. Coaching for financial advisors

A great way to develop your social intelligence is through coaching. A coach can help you to better understand yourself, your personality, your strengths, and your weaknesses. A coach can help you to develop a plan for developing this skill and can guide you along the way.

2. Reading about social intelligence

There are a number of books about social intelligence. They can give you the information, insights, and ideas you need to take further steps in the development of your social intelligence. Some books you might consider are:

21 Days of Effective Communication: Everyday Habits and Exercises to Improve Your Communication Skills and Social Intelligence by Ian Tuhovsky

Effective communication skills: A simple guide to developing training in the art of persuasion, social intelligence, verbal dexterity, relationship communication, and eloquence by Dale King

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards

3. Gaining social knowledge for interactions

It’s not enough to know how to talk to clients and coworkers, you have to know what they are talking about.

If you have clients that have hobbies such as golf or fishing, do you know about them? If you have colleagues that talk about sports, do you know what they are talking about? If you have clients that are concerned with the latest economic news, are you up to date?

There are variety of things you can learn about that can help you in social situations. By having the right information, you can engage in conversations and understand the people you are speaking with.

4. Role playing for financial advisors

Some encounters are predictable, in the sense that you know they will happen. A good example might be initial client meetings. Do you know what to say when you first meet with a new client at your office? Do you have an idea of how the conversation will go? Do you know what to do if things start not to go well?

Since meeting with a client for the first time, as well as other situations, are things that you can expect and prepare for, you should take the time to prepare for them.

In sports, you practice before you play. Business should be the same way.

One way you can practice is through role playing. You and a colleague can go through practice business scenarios and learn what you would say and how to improve.

For example, one of you might role play as a client coming to the office for the first time. How do you greet them? How do you start your presentation? By role playing, you can go through these things and refine what you do based on feedback.

5. Scripting for financial advisors

In conjunction with role playing, scripting can be an effective way to develop your social intelligence. Since certain situations for a financial advisor are predictable to a degree, you can script what you should say and practice it for maximum effectiveness.

For example, let’s say you are meeting with a business owner for the first time about managing their employee retirement accounts. Since a portion of this encounter is predictable – for instance the part where you make your presentation – you should know exactly what you are going to say. You can practice it and refine it for the best results.

You can also script other situations. A good example is your elevator speech. If you only have a minute to talk to someone about yourself, it can help if you are prepared with exactly with what you want to say.

6. Joining networking organizations

A good way to develop your social intelligence is to join a networking organization. By regularly interacting with others in a networking environment, you can build your social intelligence skills while also getting referrals.

7. Engaging with others

One way to develop your social intelligence is simply to engage with others. If you are at a financial advisor conference, for example, you can talk to people. You can go up to people, introduce yourself, and engage.

You can also engage in smaller ways. You might talk to a new coworker while you get coffee in the morning. You might talk to another professional you know about what you do as a financial advisor. You can look for all sorts of small situations in which you can engage and interact.

8. Observing as a financial advisor

Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, it can be helpful to see how someone else does it. If you’ve never bowled, for example, one of the first things you might do is watch how others do it. By observing, you can learn. The same thing can apply to developing social intelligence.

A good time to observe might be at a client appreciation event. Although you shouldn’t be too obvious, you can watch how those you see as having good social intelligence interact with others. How do they shake hands? How do they introduce themselves? How do they start conversations? By watching how others act in these situations, you can learn how you can act.

9. Communication trial and error

It’s often been said, that the best way to learn something, is to do it. This can be the case with social intelligence.

Developing this skillset is like developing any other skill. It takes practice. A good tip would be to look for low consequence situations and see how you do in them.

A good example of a low consequence situation might be talking with fellow financial advisors before and after a continuing education class. At something like this, you can meet many new people, but the interactions can be brief. You might not see these people again and if the situations don’t go exactly how you’d like, it wouldn’t in a sense be that bad. For continuing education, please consider joining the Financial Planning Association.

In these types of situations you can try things. For example, before one class, you can just do things as you’d normally would. Before another class, you can trying smiling and saying hello, to let’s say five people. You can see how effective this is. Do the people interact? Do you meet more people just by smiling and saying hello? Do the interactions lead to something like a networking opportunity? You can see how this action, as well as others, work and you can learn the best approaches to take.

10. Feedback

Sometimes it’s hard to know how you’re doing at something and to be objective about it. For example, is your new client presentation good? This can be hard to know.

First, let’s say you took a video of yourself and watched it later. It can be hard to evaluate your own performance. It can be easy to say, “I think I did all right.”

Second, it can be hard to know how you would do in a real situation, like when you are really presenting to a client. You might not be able to video these encounters, and even if you could, it would still be hard to understand your performance and the reactions of your clients.

Because of this, feedback can be a good way to develop social intelligence. You can have a colleague watch how you do something, like a new client presentation, before you do it. They can give you an objective assessment of how you do. They can point out places where you might not be clear, where you talk too fast, and other things.

Similarly, a colleague can sometimes sit in when you are having some type of encounter. Again, a new client presentation is a good example.

They can be in the room, watch what you do in a real situation and see how the clients respond. They can then give you feedback on how you did. This feedback can help you to improve and get better results


As a financial advisor, how you interact with others is important to your business and career. It can affect everything from how you get new clients to how you advance at your organization.

By improving your social intelligence through the methods above, you can gain a number of benefits that will help you in all aspects of your business. Social intelligence can make a vast difference in how you interact with others and how those interactions go.

Contact me and we can go over how you can improve your social intelligence.

About Suzanne Muusers