Independent Broker-Dealer Recruiter Jon Henschen Offers Tips To Financial Advisors on How to Connect Better

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For deeper, longer relationships with clients and colleagues, financial advisors should take a cue from the head of LPL Financial according to Jon Henschen, President of Henschen & Associates, in his new article, "Want to Connect Better? Try Dan Arnold’s Technique"

Opening the door to your humble beginnings and learning experiences along the way can be tapped into as your superpower to greater connections in the advisory space,

In his February 22, 2019, ThinkAdvisor article, “Want to Connect Better? Try Dan Arnold’s Technique,” independent broker-dealer recruiter Jon Henschen of Henschen & Associates suggests that for deeper, longer relationships with clients and colleagues, financial advisors should take a cue from the head of LPL Financial.

Henschen’s advice is a result of more than 60 due diligence trips to independent broker-dealers since 2001, noting that what stands out among these visits are the firms that have the ability to connect, not merely point out their list of strengths.

As evidence, Henschen begins by discussing one particular broker-dealer president who shared the humble beginnings of his firm. When he and a group of his colleagues felt that their broker-dealers weren’t addressing their needs, they formed their own. This group intended to form a broker-dealer “by advisors for advisors,” anticipating that other advisors who shared their concerns would want to be part of that kind of environment.

Henschen shares that during their discussion, this individual showed vulnerability and transparency as he explained that, “early on, we didn’t really know what we were doing on many levels. In spite of ourselves, we outgrew our facility as more advisors joined.” This group figured things out along the way through trial and error, ultimately growing to a midsize broker-dealer. The frank discussion built a strong connection that deepened his relationship and recruiting activity for years afterward.

According to Henschen, everyone loves an underdog story of overcoming obstacles as we learn from our mistakes because we all started from humble beginnings which when shared, can build bonding connections with others.

Turning to large broker dealers, Henschen observes that these firms can be especially cold and impersonal, seemingly devoid of vulnerability or personal connection. However, breaking that mold is LPL Financial CEO Dan Arnold. Henschen recounts when Arnold spoke to his advisors in April of 2018, taking a position of humility as he explained that significant changes were coming.

Demonstrating vulnerability, Arnold opened up about the firm’s weaknesses, admitting that LPL had difficulty recruiting NPH advisors and that there was dissatisfaction among the advisors. The changes they were implementing largely came from suggestions from their own advisors.

According to Henschen, this was a connection moment between management and advisors that you rarely see at larger broker-dealers. Further, Henschen notes that since that moment, the changes at LPL have been turning the ship to greater recruiting growth and higher retention.

Henschen observes that in his firm’s recruiting activities, he is witness to the depth of connections not only between advisors and their broker-dealer but also advisors and their clients. When an advisor lacks connections with their broker-dealer, they show little hesitation in leaving. When an advisor changes broker-dealer, those that have little connection with their clients often experience a low client retention rate when they make their move to another broker dealer.

Stating that financial services is a highly analytical business, Henschen also observes that human dynamics like vulnerability can be a low priority, as few are comfortable discussing struggles, for fear of it being interpreted as incapable or weak. This unwillingness or inability to be authentically vulnerable is a cause of disconnection with others.

Henschen’s article continues by citing a number of sources, such as Brené Brown, Ph.D., author and expert on social connection, who states that, “Often, we work to appear the opposite — competent or overconfident — to make up for our perceived flaws to lessen the chance we’ll be judged. Through her extensive research, Brown discovered that individuals who are authentic, compassionate and courageous, all of which result from being vulnerable, are those with the strongest sense of connection.

Henschen also point to the work of Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., co-director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project and faculty director of the Women’s Leadership Program at the Yale School of Management, whose Harvard Business Review article, “What Bosses Gain by Being Vulnerable,” asserts, “Human connection is often dramatically missing from workplaces. Why is human connection missing at work? We want to convey an image of confidence, competence and authority,” she explains. “We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.” Seppälä continues, “While we may try to appear perfect, strong or intelligent in order to be respected by others, pretense often has the opposite effect intended.

Henschen retells one of Seppälä’ stories of connection and how it can affect productivity. He closes by suggesting that when financial advisors open the door to their humble beginnings and learning experiences along the way, it can be like tapping into their superpower to greater connections in the advisory space.

You can find Jon Henschen’s full article, along with other articles and podcasts, on his website

Jon Henschen is President of Henschen & Associates, an independent broker-dealer recruiting firm located in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Jon is a staunch advocate for independent financial advisors and is widely sought after by both reps and broker dealers for his expertise and advice on independent broker-dealer topics. He is frequently published and quoted in a variety of industry publications, including ThinkAdvisor, Investment Advisor Magazine, Wealth Management Magazine, Financial Advisor IQ, Financial Advisor Magazine, Investment News and others.​

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