By SCOTT THOMPSON
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.
Why should a client work with you? Though cutting-edge technology and great products are valuable, I’ve realized that clients buy from someone they trust. To that end, you are your own best tool.
Be Honest With Yourself
After being in the financial advisor industry for 15 years, I still wasn’t hitting my goals. I had to admit that what I was doing just wasn’t working. I dressed and spoke like other agents, but I knew I wasn’t being honest with myself. I decided it was time to make a change.
I identified what made me unique and what my personal style is, then I implemented that into my practice. I started wearing Mickey Mouse and Popeye ties to bring my true personality to work. I rewrote the track book in my own words, making it sound less like a corporate document and more like my own vernacular. That year I qualified for MDRT, and I’ve qualified the last thirteen years. Now, clients appreciate that I don’t take myself too seriously. I incorporate humor into my daily interactions and that helps set me apart.
The Client Buys You
Too many advisors are focused on getting the check rather than relating to the client. A common rookie mistake is that we simply talk too much during a meeting. Remember that clients would like to work with an agent who makes them feel like their concerns are valid and unique. The client buys you, you don’t buy the client.
Listen to everything the client says and remember that you are there for them, not vice versa. Ask open-ended questions and try to relate to their hopes and dreams. If they like Disney World, talk about setting money aside for a trip there. Customize your conversations and use their goals to inspire them. You should not be selling them a product to benefit you. Instead, you should be offering them the solution that best fits into their life.
Treat Each Client Differently
If you walk into a client meeting with a solution and an illustration already in hand, your client will feel that they are just like everyone else. Alternatively, if you use the same track book lingo for every client, your client will think you are inauthentic. Rewrite the track book words in your own voice and enter the conversation with your own ideas. If you want your clients to see you differently than any other advisor, you must treat them differently than any other client.
Remember that success doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a team approach. Learn success from others by asking top advisors what has worked for them. Learn from your mistakes. And among all other things, be true to yourself. You and your clients will be glad you did.
Scott Thompson has been in the financial advisor industry for 28 years and is a 13-year qualifying MDRT member. He resides in Oakmont, PA.