Guest post: Dale Carnegie and Your Clients

This is a guest post from AdvisorBlogger’s Lawain McNeil, which originally appeared on March 11. It’s an excellent reminder that it’s important to treat clients as individuals.

In 2009, I made a resolution to re-visit the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Of course, everyone has heard of this book (it has sold over 15 million copies). Its influence has been far reaching and helpful for many. Thanks Dale Carnegie.

Why do I mention him today? I think some of the principles of How to Win Friends and Influence People can be helpful in dealing with clients in the current state of the market. Even though the market was up the last two days, clients are still concerned about their investments. This will be very present to them when they open their quarter-end statements and see negative numbers and lower account balances. Yes, you will have clients that will want to argue with you regarding their investments. You will have clients that will want to change their allocation to a different allocation or strategy due to the market (even though they signed an investment policy statement saying they were a long-term investor). You will have clients that are afraid and just need reassurance.

So, as you prepare to talk, write, visit and meet with clients, revisit the words of a timeless classic and see if the Carnegie Principles can help you communicate more effectively with your clients.


Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six ways to make people like you

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Win people to your way of thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

A leader’s job often includes changing your people’s attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Here’s how AdvisorBlogger describes its mission: “AdvisorBlogger is a website dedicated to providing valuable and timely resources for financial advisors through the use of blogging, podcasts, video and other rich media formats. Our goal is to become a leading online resource for the independent advisor community.”