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Is it Okay for Financial Advisors to Swear in Front of Clients?

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Is it Okay for Financial Advisors to Swear in Front of Clients?

It does the trick like nothing else can – sometimes there’s just no better way to make the point. Is it okay for Financial Advisors to swear in front of clients?

Should Financial Advisors Swear in Front of Clients?

Several years ago I attended a 3 day long workshop about sales training. Now very few people know this about me but I’m not the world’s biggest technology person but nonetheless I found myself in a seminar given by a technology CEO about how to sell IT support services. It was an afternoon session, right after lunch, and so I found myself slipping into a coma.

I was about three seconds from dozing off and so wasn’t everybody else. The speaker sensed this and when somebody asked a question about how to suggest a server upgrade he retorted:

“Just tell him to get rid of the [explicit] thing! The whole [explicit] thing. Just tell him to throw that [explicit] piece of [explicit] in the [explicit] trash can!”

Needless to say I snapped out of my food coma. Unprofessional? Yes. But highly entertaining.

The point of this anecdote is that I wouldn’t suggest swearing all the time but once in a while you can use it to:

  • Get somebody’s attention when you’re being ignored
  • Add emphasis to a point
  • Make people laugh
  • Come across as real and authentic
  • Portray high conviction
  • Be a little edgy

Some guidelines for swearing:

  • Only use it selectively and in the right circumstances
  • You always run the risk that it will offend some people so chose the audience wisely
  • Never use swear directly when speaking about a person, (e.g. “he’s a—.”)
  • Keep in mind that once you do this, there’s no going back. If you write it in a blog or say it on a recorded line or a podcast, it’s out there forever. If you think this is not going to align with the future of your brand then it’s best to refrain.
  • Don’t assume that just because they swear, you can swear.

Sara’s Upshot

Swearing is a big no-no for advisors to do in front of clients, but if done correctly (and that’s a big “if”), swearing can set you apart from other brands that may not have the courage to be so raw. Just as the famous financial disclaimer goes: higher risk, higher potential reward.

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