Sharing life stories can be a great way of influencing and strengthening client relationships rather than speaking through “hard data”, says a leadership and communications development consultant.
Speaking at ANZ’s APEX professional development day in Sydney – which forms part of ANZ’s program to better help advisers boost their businesses – economist turned storyteller and communications consultant, Yamini Naidu, said advisers, especially those in risk advice, should consider using stories as a way of influencing, inspiring and engaging their clients.
Ms Naidu said storytelling can help clients better understand circumstances and encourage them to think about their finances without speaking directly through numbers and “hard data”.
While explaining the benefits storytelling can have, Ms Naidu emphasised it is important to not just use any type of story, and that it must be relevant to the message advisers want to get across.
Stories must always have a purpose. In the pub, we always have lots of stories, but in business when you are dealing with your clients it is so important to be clear about the purpose and the message that you want to convey, Ms Naidu said.
“My second point: in any business, data is the hero," she said. "Most financial advisers try and go in and try to influence clients just on data. Data is very difficult to understand and remember.
“If you have a good handful of stories that can go with your data, that will help you quantum leap over your competitors."
Ms Naidu also emphasised that stories should be truthful and should not be fabricated just for the sake of making a point.
“All stories – unless a parable – have to be true. It is not worth the backlash on your reputation and your credibility thinking up, manufacturing and spinning stories,” she said.
“Use stories that have a purpose; use stories that support hard data; and be authentic with your storytelling.”