An ability to get to grip with the issues quickly
When a serious financial problem arises, it is very important that the right people, both internal and external to the business, are brought together.
Even from the first meeting the insolvency advisor should be able to provide reassurance that he or she has identified the key pressure points, has had experience of dealing with them in the past, and is quickly able to formulate a plan as to where risks lie and what immediate steps are required.
The advisor should be aware and mindful of any personal concerns, but ultimately must provide an objective assessment. Any advisor who seeks to ‘grandstand’ or ‘play to the audience’ should be treated with caution.
A Good Listener
Too often advisors do all the talking and can be too intent at the outset on explaining why they have the necessary experience to do the job. The first meeting is inevitably an initial information-gathering exercise and therefore a key skill is the ability to listen and ask the right questions to identify the key pressing issues and get to grips with understanding your business.
A Good Communicator
The best advisors are able to explain potentially complicated and technical issues in clear understandable language, demonstrate clarity of thought and inspire confidence as a result.
A Good Negotiator
Everybody can learn negotiation skills to a point; nevertheless really good negotiators have instinctive qualities that are very difficult to acquire through education. The ability to read and empathise with people is a key skill. Spotting win/win answers that take the path of least resistance can lead to early settlement of a dispute and a positive outcome.
Calmness in the Face of Adversity
Inevitably, things go wrong from time to time and very few plans are executed without a few bumps in the road. An advisor that remains calm and focused, despite what is thrown at them and is able to adapt to a changing situation will take the heat out of the situation and keep everyone else on track.
Varying Approaches to Identifying Solutions
All businesses have a life of their own and no two are exactly the same. Having a wide field of vision and being able to think laterally will often lead to a better outcome. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in resolving financial problems and providing business debt help.
A Willingness to Provide a Reality Check to the Client
There are occasions when the advisor has to bite the bullet and tell the client an unpalatable truth. Typically with emotions running high and consequences severe, trust is essential and the truth should not be avoided. The ability to communicate bad news in a constructive and empathetic way is essential.
Being Able to See the Big Picture, But Still Not Losing Sight of the Detail
Often in the heat of the moment, the focus is on the big picture, but outcomes can be determined by a single fact. The advisor must never lose sight of the overall broad strategy but must be familiar enough with the detail to know what is important. A conscientious but proportionate approach to the detail will avoid any nasty surprises.
Sense of Humour
In a stressful situation, the ability to lighten the mood can be a helpful tool to avoid a downward cycle of despair making the situation worse than it needs to be. When the client is going through particular personal concerns or consequences of the situation, the ability to be able to empathise with these but remain objectively focussed, can be essential in retaining team spirit and trust.
Work Instinctively in Tandem
Appreciating the client’s key issues and being able to respond to their needs whilst retaining a focus on what needs to be done, helps to build an understanding and team approach to solving the problem. Too many advisors adopt a cold and sometimes belittling attitude to the individuals involved in the situation. A good advisor considers themselves to be part of the team, not above it.
Last But Not Least, Being Commercial
It may be an overused expression, but there is something undefinable that can be best described as ‘commercial sense’. Business revolves around money and the consequences that flow from it. Keeping that thought to the forefront of his or her mind will help the advisor keep a balanced perspective when trying to deal with demands from different people with different priorities.