By JEDEDIAH HARRISON LEVENE
Each week MDRT and AdvisorNews bring readers advice on topics encompassing the financial services industry including case studies, practice management, tips for success and much more.
The products we sell are a promise on a piece of paper that our clients hope they never have to collect on. Products are a means to an end, and clients only care about the end. Our job is not to sell products, but rather to help clients determine the problems that our products are going to solve and how to achieve the future they want. Great financial advisors should start with the end and develop a clear understanding of their clients’ vision.
Understand the Vision: In order to get clients excited and engaged in their financial planning, we need to understand their vision, or reason behind the plan. It’s more than just when they want to retire and how much they want or need as income. Get to the heart of their reason early on for a strong relationship.
Extract the Vision: Get to know your clients on a deeper level to extract their visions. Start the conversation with, “Why don’t you start by telling me your story.” Ask genuine follow-up questions to get to know your clients on a deeper level. Another question to ask is, “What do you want to accomplish that requires planning, money and time?” This will lead to a more technical conversation to determine how we can make their vision a reality.
Keep the Vision Alive: Remind clients why they decided to work with you. Provide a road map of the next two years of your relationship to show you’ve thought about them and their situation enough to plan out your next eight meetings. Review the vision each quarter to ensure the plan still aligns. Goals-based reporting tools can also help clients visualize their current standpoint with their plans and remind them of their underlying vision.
When I work with clients to extract their vision and keep it alive, our relationships become more meaningful. These conversations result in the revelation of clients’ core needs and give me a starting point for other solutions that we can offer. Clients appreciate a clear picture of the future just as much as advisors value gathering information for a plan. You can become a trusted professional in your clients’ lives and your recommendations will be logical tools needed to make their vision a reality.
Jed Levene, MBA, CFP, CLU, FMA, CHS has been working in the financial services industry since 2004. His focus is on financial planning for Business Owners and Professionals. Jed is an active member of Advocis, MDRT, Rotary International and the Community Development Corporation. Jed graduated from York University with a BA in 2003, earned an MBA specialized in financial services from Dalhousie University in2013, holds a Certificate in Behavioral Finance from Duke University and the following industry designations: Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Financial Management Advisor (FMA) and Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS).