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Building Your Practice

Plain Talk


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Six Ways to Discuss Investments with Clients

In an industry full of jargon, financial advisors who boil matters down to the basics tend to stand out. Here are a handful of best practices from GSAM’s Strategic Advisory Solutions’ Business Practices team.

  1. Simplify. Storytelling sticks. So do short, catchy phrases. Meld the two together. Be brief, and be memorable.
  2. Identify key points. When people hear your name, do two or three key points leap to mind? Limiting yourself to a few key points can make your views easier to remember.
  3. Use plain English. Want to avoid putting clients to sleep? Avoid jargon. This means no “maximizing alpha,” no “Modern Portfolio Theory,” and no “dead-cat bounce.”
  4. Focus on benefits. Clients care most about how you can help. Know your audience and how you can serve client needs. People tend to care less about abstract concepts than about tangible benefits.
  5. Paint a picture. Visual illustrations of how clients have benefited from your investment approach often help.
  6. Summarize, summarize, and summarize again. Key takeaways help drive home the message. Don’t be afraid to be repetitive; it helps make you memorable.

Getting Started: What Does Plain Talk Sound Like?

Plain talk can be more than a series of bullet points. It can also be visually interesting.

Think about how you would best describe your investment philosophy. Brainstorm your key themes. Write down as many as possible. Talk them over with colleagues, clients, and friends and family.

Then, simplify. Craft a compact, one-page visual which boils your investment philosophy into plain language.

Here's a sample template to consider:

Plain Talk

For illustrative purposes only.

Strategic Advisory Solutions’ Business Practices team seeks to help financial advisors maximize their business growth. To learn more about the interactive workshop “Communicating A Memorable Investment Philosophy,” contact your GSAM Regional Director or Relationship Manager.

Keep things simple, clear and concise: These are a few of the keys to building a memorable investment philosophy. To help advisors craft their message, Strategic Advisory Solutions’ Business Practices team offers “Communicating a Memorable Investment Philosophy,” an hour-long interactive workshop which seeks to help advisors (1) identify key points to communicate, (2) be explicit in how clients benefit and (3) boil the philosophy down to a one-page visual which can be distributed during potential client meetings, client review meetings, and in a variety of engagements.


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