Retirement, increased capital or financial freedom? It’s all the same, what clients really want is a relationship built on trust. By leveraging transparency and forming better communication you can put them at ease.
Through the never-ending developments and specialisations in technology, businesses of all industries are finding new innovative ways in which to optimise and automate their systems both internally and externally. It’s fair to say that those who are not, will be struggling with profit margins and client and employee retention in the near future.
Throughout the past week, there’s been a lot of talk about the fears potential/current clients face when dealing with financial advisors.
A survey conducted by Harris Poll found that adults fear speaking with financial advisors. Similar findings were also identified in a CNCB report that showed Millennials were the most skeptical, 82% hesitant in talking with financial planners due to fear, about 65% of those aged 45 years or older, were also fearful about “some aspects” of communicating with financial advisors.
This information supports the reasoning behind a USA Today report that found a third of Americans have no retirement savings. Here lies a huge market and one that would benefit both parties by forming a communicative and trustworthy partnership.
Advisors need to transform this fear into trust so let’s look at what it is cliental are looking for, and what we need to do to make them feel at ease.
1. A Skilled Listener
It is essential for advisors to understand what their client wants and what they are saying, even if they are not saying anything. Through empathy, you place yourself in their shoes, identifying what’s really important and how to best fulfill their needs. Secondly, you must be readily available and generous with your time. It’s not a difficult to be a skilled listener today, there are endless digitally lead financial relationship tools, such as virtual offices, CRMs and video conferencing.
2. Being In-tune With Yourself
For most people, money is a stressful or sensitive topic, which can result in some quite uncomfortable conversations. So when meeting with a new or current client, it’s important to be in-tune with your own view on finances, which is something often overlooked by many advisors. Here’s a list of questions advisors should be able to comfortably answer:
- What’s your relationship with money?
- What feeds your soul?
- What’s the worst financial decision you have made personally?
- What personal unconscious beliefs about money have not served you well?
- What is your experience in engaging a financial advisor for yourself?
- Can you tell me about a client who has experienced a transformation as a result of your services?
By being in-tune with yourself, your client will subconsciously put to ease.
3. A Long-term Approach
This is relevant to both the financial and the relationship approach. Advisors should take the Warren Buffett approach when investing their clients hard earned cash. Ready to ride out the tough times together and hold them off from selling during the bad times. Relevant to the saying – “your clients don’t need you when times are good.”
4. Affordability… or Should I Say Value
The market is not what it used to be 20-50 years ago. Clients have an independent power unlike before, in such a competitive market they have instant access to information that drives the power of decision-making. This doesn’t mean you need to be cheap; after all, clients are happy to pay for quality. But cost is something you need to be open and transparent about.
Through identifying the above characteristics, let’s look at how we can leverage transparency and better relationship management to bring our clients closer and more clients in the door.
Embrace a Digital Model
Last month I wrote about the Promising Horizons for Advisors Looking to Embrace a Virtually Lead Model. The points I touched on then are relevant to the issues above. I’ve also identified new research that supports a digital financial ecosystem.
In a study conducted by Financial Engines, 60% of investors are looking for an online advisory service with an even stronger interest by investors who want financial advisory services specifically at 68%. Millenials had the strongest interest at 80%, and 84% of those who prefer online financial services who currently do not have an advisor.
A study done by Fidelity Investments found that ‘eAdvisors’ have 40 percent more assets under management and are increasing their geographic reach faster than firms not using eServices. 74% of eAdvisors also believe that it’s technology, which is helping their firms’ growth.
Through technology, financial advisors are able to reduce the expensive costs associated to meetings, they also become better listeners by becoming more acceptable through software which can speed up otherwise lengthy legal and/or bureaucratic processes.
Social Media, It’s Where Your Clients Are
By now you should have considered how to leverage social media as an advisor, some of you may have even begun activating platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.
Social media allows you to reach new business opportunities through advertisement, with the average American spending between 2-4 hours on social media (shocking I know) a day. But, most importantly it allows you to tell your story, to be transparent about your work and engage a community who will hopefully become advocates for the services you provide.
No one likes to be sold to, so it’s important that your content is authentic and engaging. People are always searching for original content, so give them an experience that’s unique to what you do. Smarsh has a free Financial Advisors Guide to Social Media Strategy that you may find beneficial.
As a financial advisor leveraging new forms of technology and social media, you’ll be better equipped to drive stronger communications and transparency which will help you establish a point of difference among your competitors. Also reducing the barriers that can have potential customers skeptical about working with you.
Author: Orlando Werffeli