You might be an adviser with an outstanding technical knowledge of complicated financial products, however, if you can’t communicate these efficiently to your client, you’re not using this proficiency to maximum effect. A financial plan that achieves all of a client’s objectives is inept if an adviser can’t ‘sell’ it to their client. Therefore, ‘soft skills’ are vitally important at all stages of the client relationship. A recent CoreData Financial Planning Shadow Shop report revealed that the most successful advisers from a customer acquisition perspective were those who have the ability the make a great first impression and sell themselves to prospects. However, the importance of ‘soft skills’ as part of the process doesn’t end there. Once a relationship between an adviser and a client has been developed, this relationship must be nurtured through the trust gained from an adviser’s interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Interpersonal skills involve communication skills, building rapport, caring about clients, understanding their needs, listening and empathy while emotional intelligence is the capacity to access and generate emotions to assist with decision making. Association of Financial Adviser’s (AFA) CEO Brad Fox says clients do not come to advisers for trusted transactions, they come for a trusted relationship. “They may come for technical expertise but they stay for the relationship the adviser builds with them. “Trusted advisers outperform other advisers, demonstrating that interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence have quantifiable benefits to a client and a practice,” he said. By understanding how and why clients make their financial decisions, a good adviser can incorporate this knowledge into their plan and ongoing management. This will position yourself for your clients not only implementing the recommendations you make, but enjoying the peace of mind in knowing that you have their best interests at heart and they can trust your advice.