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Shadow shop reveals soft skills a ‘critical must-have’

A recent shadow shopping exercise conducted by CoreData has found the financial planners most successful at acquiring new clients are those with strong client engagement skills.

The ability to “influence prospects and enthuse them to take up advice” has overtaken the “value of planners’ services” as the key determinant of advice take-up and whether a client will be willing to pay for services, the consultancy said in a statement issued today.

“Selling has become a dirty word in financial services, but with so much focus in recent years on compliance and regulations, there is the danger that first appointments become a tick-a-box exercise,” said CoreData head of financial services Kristen Turnbull.

“First impressions are critical and planners need to sell themselves to prospects by appealing to them on a personal level and engaging them in the advice process.

“Value is still important, however, remaining the third biggest driver of customer commitment, just ahead of ability to build relationships and trustworthiness.”