What Do Clients Want From a Financial Advisor?
“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.”
Ever wonder what your clients really want? I mean, why do clients hire financial advisors and what do they hope to get out of the relationship? Taking care of one’s money is no easy task. Where do you put it? With whom? What’s a money market fund? What’s a bond fund? Should I do it myself? Do I really need a financial advisor?
Clients with significant assets often realize that managing their money is best left to the experts, so they seek out financial advisors. For the financial advisor, understanding WHAT clients want from you will help you to retain existing clients and attract new clients. You’ll learn that clients want a deeper relationship, trustworthiness, frequent communication, expertise, and above average return on investments.
1. Go Deeper
Many of my male advisor clients in their fifties are reluctant to take their client relationships deeper. I think this may be the "male" resistance to talk about "emotional stuff" or just a lack of desire to do the work, but time and time again this strategy has paid huge dividends. Clients want you to ask what’s important to them about money. They want you to know what’s going on in their lives. Birthdays, anniversaries, new children or grandchildren, dream vacations, what retirement looks like to them, and the like.
2. Know, Like, and Trust
Don’t be afraid to discuss difficult issues with your clients. This is how you build trust. Advisors who "step over" the hard stuff are missing a perfect opportunity to create real trust with their clients. For you to be the Trusted Advisor, you will have to be dependable, reliable, have high morals, be a good listener, and do what is right for the client. ALWAYS. PERIOD. If you push products that line your pockets, your clients will sense this. Vow to have a fiduciary standard that sets you apart from the common financial advisor who earns his living from product-pushing commissions.
3. Can You Hear Me Now?
Only 30% of advisors communicate via email newsletters despite the fact that 70% of clients want to receive them. Frequent communication is the key to building stronger relationships and emailed newsletters help you "touch" your clients on a regular basis. You should also frequently call clients for no reason, meet with clients for reviews, send birthday and anniversary cards, and be pro-active in every regard. When there’s a market meltdown, your clients will stay with you instead of look for a new advisor as 85% are doing right now.
4. Expert Opinion
Are you a generalist? Do you have or are you pursuing a credential? Financial advisors who have a credential demonstrate that they have acquired additional training and are better able to serve clients with a customized strategy rather than a one size fits all approach utilized by many non-credentialed advisors. Although the CFP is the most recognized credential, many others exist that can help position the advisor uniquely in the marketplace.
5. Show Me the Money
Your expertise should shine through in above average returns on investment. If not, you should send your clients straight to Vanguard where they can invest in index funds and pay very low fees. Make sure you are fully invested in being the best advisor you can be by knowing your products and services, taking additional training, reading, and learning. You do have to earn your keep to keep your clients.
Off You Go
What do clients want from a financial advisor? They want an expert who will create a customized approach to their unique problems. Someone they can call when they have not only a financial emergency, but a personal emergency also. They want to hear from you often and they want to know that you care about them. Practice these five tips and you will be far ahead of the pack in retaining and attracting new clients.
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Suzanne Muusers is an ICF-Member Business Coach who has worked with hundreds of successful independent financial advisors, investment executives, and finance career job seekers since 2004. She helps clients develop their Value Proposition, Ideal Client Profile, and Branding Strategy so that their marketing message appeals to affluent clients.
Suzanne has created exercises and programs that help her clients get straight to the point and avoid mistakes other advisors tend to make. Her clients save time getting to the next level due to her extensive knowledge and experience in the business growth field.
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