High-Impact Emotional Motivators that Drive Advisor Behavior

High-Impact Emotional Motivators that Drive Advisor Behavior

Taking a look at several motivating emotions that have a direct relevance to financial advisors and their client relationships.

Chicago:  “I’m not questioning your research, but it’s hard to imagine that there’s such a huge gap between the financial advisor and affluent client perceptions of their relationship,” asserted Bruce.  “How could this happen?”

Bruce was all wound up about the fact that 28 percent of today’s affluent clients perceive their relationship to be expanded from the professional to the more holistic that includes a social component, compared to 74 percent of financial advisors.  Agreed, this is a huge gap.

It’s unlikely there is one simple answer to Bruce’s question, but a recent article in HBR’s November 2015 issue, The New Science of Customer Emotions by Scott Magids, Alan, Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon offers some useful insight.  Forgive me as I attempt to distill an 8 page HBR thesis into a useful nugget for financial advisors like Bruce.

The authors cite research where they uncovered 300 universal motivating emotions that impact decision making. They explain how “hundreds of emotional motivators drive consumer behavior” and were able to identify 10 that “significantly affected affluent customer value across all categories studied.” The authors referred to these 10 as “High-Impact Motivators”  After reviewing these High-Impact Motivators, it was apparent that eight have direct relevance to financial advisors and their client relationships. 


Have confidence in the future – The emotional impact factor is self-explanatory; as your client’s personal financial advisor who’s developed a comprehensive financial plan for their family– you’ve created a roadmap for their future. Road maps breed confidence.

Enjoy a sense of well-being – This highlights the importance for financial advisors to know their client’s family issues and advise accordingly. Whether it’s college funding, offering financial advice to Millennial children or simply being involved – all of which emotionally foster a sense of well-being. 

Feel a sense of freedom – When a financial advisor can eliminate money worries; making certain investments meets expectations, minimizing risk and so on -- financial security breeds a sense of personal freedom.

Feel a sense of belonging – Hosting intimate social events for clients and people in their respective spheres-of-influence creates a sense of belonging. This emotional impact factor is why elite advisors host regular intimate social events. These social events are a key component of their relationship management-relationship marketing strategy.

Protect the environment – Obviously, it’s important to know each affluent client’s passion points – but socially responsible investing has become increasingly more important to today’s affluent investors.  They want to believe they are helping the environment – and you, as their financial advisor, are helping them protect the environment through their investments.

Be the person I want to be – Today’s elite advisors frequently play the role of family counselor / concierge / friend. It’s not uncommon for elite advisors to run marathons, participate in triathlons, cycle, hike, climb mountains, travel, etc., with their affluent clients.

Feel secure – This high-impact motivator is closely aligned with having confidence in the future.  It’s important as a financial advisor who’s deals in the world of intangibles, to consistently communicate, demonstrate and quantify your value. Whether it’s importance of the comprehensive financial plan you created for them that they’re following, your investment advice, or whatever other services you’re providing. Without this reinforcement (reminder), there’s a likelihood this high-impact motivator won’t be fully activated. 

Succeed in life – When a financial advisor is truly overseeing the multidimensional aspect of their client’s financial affairs, he or she is intimately involved with the family at nearly every level.  This involvement can run the spectrum to active participation in a client’s charities, helping a client raise money for a specific cause, building houses for the needy, etc.  All of which leads to fulfillment, both for client and financial advisor, far beyond the realm of finances.    


Getting back to Bruce’s question, when a financial advisor makes the effort to activate these emotional High-Impact Motivators with each affluent client, the Relationship Management – Relationship Marketing Nexus becomes fully energized.  In which case, it is highly unlikely a gap exists between advisor and client regarding their relationship.  And it’s highly likely that the loyalty of affluent clients will be strengthened, positive word-of-mouth influence will accelerate, and more new affluent client acquisition opportunities will surface. 


Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com

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