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Want to woo consumers? Time to fluff up the psychologist’s couch.

More and more professionals in the financial industry are finding that tips and tricks from that old Psych 101 class hold true when it comes to working with consumers and customers.

Think about it: Consumer behavior is a term that describes how consumers think, feel and react. Psychology is a discipline that seeks to understand behaviors. So, it makes perfect sense that psychological techniques are redefining the way financial industry professionals are understanding and influencing consumer motivations. In fact, there’s an entire profession dedicated to the merging of the two fields, called consumer psychologist.

If you’re interested in becoming a financial consumer psychologist and bringing a little behaviorism into your career, read on, and learn more about leveraging your inner Freud:

  • Be likable. This dates back to playground psychology. If someone feels comfortable around you, they’re more willing to interact with you. Let your customers and clients know you value their opinions and input. Take extra steps to make them feel at ease when you’re discussing financial matters. Be responsive and model the type of respectful behavior you hope for from them. Men and women who feel a genuine connection will share much more than those who don’t. And, the more they share, the more you learn.
  • Listen more than you talk. Whether moderating a group or taking a survey to get a better understanding of a person’s assets, it’s important to remember that it’s not about asking a ton of questions. Rather, it’s about asking the right questions. And, in turn, really listening to what your client has to say. It’s a timeless fact: if someone feels heard, he or she is motivated to continue sharing.
  • Look beyond the surface. In addition to actively listening to what clients say, it’s at least as important to notice what they don’t say. There is some information that consumers choose not to share, and there’s information that they are unable to share because they aren’t consciously aware of it or struggle to articulate it (purchase considerations and routine behaviors often fall into this latter category). Recognizing the “holes” in client feedback and knowing when and where to dig deeper helps put the details they do share into a broader context, while creating a more complete tapestry of their colorful story.

It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to learn how to get your banking, credit union and financial clients to open up. Rather, it takes good communication and listening skills along with a hearty dose of common sense. By connecting with consumers, you’ll not only learn more about the clients you work with, you’ll leave a lasting impression they’ll take with them.

Brian Fletcher is VP Consumer Services with Insights in Marketing.   Insights in Marketing (IIM), a research-based marketing consultancy that helps clients develop the most complete picture of their target audience so they can build emotional and lasting connections with them. Fore more information about Brian and Insights in Marketing visit



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