Matt Oechsli, a principal at the Oechsli Institute in Greensboro, N.C., who has been working on training advisors in “soft” skills for Cetera, recalls a role-playing exercise he ran with some financial advisors looking to learn those skills needed to be a successful financial planner. The advisors were told to imagine they were at a party attended by wealthy potential clients in their community. “I had them standing up, and they had to introduce themselves,” Oechsli recalls.

When they were asked what they did for a living, he says they would inevitably make some sort of marketing statement, such as, ‘I help my clients sleep at night.’ Or worse: ‘I make dreams come true.’ After the fact, they seemed to know, on some level, that they had taken a wrong turn.

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