By Jean Mathieu
Clients who recently made the switch to a new financial advisor or who are debating the merits of a change must feel comfortable in the new relationship. Advisors who clearly demonstrate the value they add to clients’ financial aspirations can better manage relationships and support a loyal client base.
Appeal to the Client’s Specific Needs
I recently met with a prospective client who wanted to leave the advisor she “inherited” from her mother. This client desired a local advisor who would sit across the table and walk through a comprehensive financial plan instead of a long-distance relationship with an out-of-state broker. We confronted the uncomfortable fact that becoming my client would require she leave her current broker. We discussed how that phone call with the broker would go, thus helping her to overcome her fear of that conversation and clarifying the reasons why such a move was in her best interest.
In the prospecting and new client phase, face-to-face interactions can be helpful to build trust and introduce complex topics. For example, using visual tools to educate the prospect on the historical impact of bear markets will help establish credibility, set reasonable investment expectations and provide an opportunity to observe their reactions in detail. All of this will help solidify your new relationship. Such meetings can be leveraged as a method to gain referrals. I tell my clients: “If you hear a friend express concern about the market, be sure to tell them about the work we do. We need to be introduced!”
The biggest financial planning problem most consumers face today is that they have done their planning piecemeal over time. One day they meet with an insurance broker, later they will meet with an investment advisor and then perhaps with other professionals such as an accountant or attorney. They may have some pieces in place, but the plan often lacks completeness and integration, which can have devastating consequences as well as create unintended wealth transfers. By taking the time to do financial planning comprehensively, an advisor will bring extreme value to the prospect.
Advisors can provide a sense of relief to the client by helping them make a decision. To reach a conclusion, ask them to rate the proposed action plan. If it isn’t exactly what they are looking for, ask them what it would take to make it so. Use this information to get them to commit and take action.
Advisors strive to provide high-quality solutions to clients and help make their financial aspirations a reality. As we progress through our careers, we must continue to enhance our skills and be mindful of our clients’ specific needs. Association memberships like MDRT give us access to effective strategies from some of the top industry experts. We can consistently adapt these ideas and incorporate them into our own practices to attract, retain and better serve our clients.
Jean Mathieu is a licensed Life Insurance and Annuity Broker and an Investment Advisor Representative. She has her Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from the American College. Jean is a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and a Life and 10-year Qualifying member of MDRT. She has received the New Hampshire Five Star Wealth Manager Award due to her exceptional service and customer satisfaction.