Everyone who works in any company, anywhere in the world is guilty of assuming they know what their customers need.
It’s not always intentional, and often comes from a good place. You work with customers every day, have been through many experiences, have received great reviews, and more.
Yet time and time again, we make the mistake of thinking that we know best, because accepting that you might be wrong is hard, and can bruise the ego.
Where are your priorities Mr. Advisor?
Financial advisors fall into the trap of thinking they know best often. They are experts, who are supported by industry wide knowledge that allows them to funnel each customer into a box based on their income, number of kids, age, etc.
The result, is a service heavily based on discussing investments, tax, and insurance.
This is a missed opportunity, as per a study from MIT that looks into what clients actually want from their advisors.
View full study: https://live.cloud.api.aig.com/life/connext-fdm/download/100AicF6FGkgO9MMYvefTIwGZOHF-Esu0KvZFiQhEicAY7wfK5VVnCaVYzZ5cIUZERQqWozuDVX4mNBdCTguzuUY1g
85% of customers state they want to discuss goals and aspirations. 77% want to discuss job transitions, new careers, and retirement. 72% want to discuss future proofing their financials, and 62% are looking for advice.
A Position of Trust
That feeling when someone is looking through your credit….
It takes a lot to open up about money. It’s a deeply personal thing, often protected, private, and stressful. As a financial planner or advisor, we forget just how much it took for your client to call you up and agree to spill their darkest secrets. Because honestly, they probably feel stupid for all the mistakes they think you’re going to see.
No retirement savings, awful credit, maxed credit cards, and even hidden wealth are money topics people don’t like to discuss. When you are brought into their lives, the level of trust often extends past that of a normal client relationship, and things can become personal. Advisors need to understand this fully, and serve their customers accordingly. As so many things are tied to financial health, you should be prepared to consult on any number of life events & factors.
It’s My Life
There is a book you could write on each of the following topics, but understanding them will help create a better and more productive relationship between a financial advisor and their client. Each of these are topics that an advisor can cover, should the client want to go over them:
- Future Goals and Aspirations
- Job Transitions/New Careers
- Expenses for Future Care
- Expenses for Future Family Care
- Protection from Identity Theft
- Physical Health
- Family Planning
- Mental Health
The MIT study went on to show that 40% of new clients viewed an advisor as a life coach, who could help guide them through topics that they just didn’t understand. Of course portfolio performance and service is critically important too, but so is the advisors professional network and personality.
Change is Coming
The internet is amazing. Long past are the days where companies could hide things from unwitting consumers who had no choice but to place trust. More than ever, the customer is the smartest person in the room and knows when they are being had!
This should not be a negative. Repeat. This is not a bad thing.
Instead, it opens an incredible realm of opportunities in supporting customers, which time and time again has shown to increase profits and retention. Learning how to be more to your customers than just “a financial advisor” will also increase your job satisfaction as you will get to be apart of real emotional wins. Nothing beats telling a client they can afford that trip to Disney.
Back in 2011, a new financial firm was created from this very concept. Focus on a clients goals rather than their pockets, and everyone will be better off. For almost 10 years, Your Managers has based their whole model around the idea of a “Financial Life Coach” called a Net Worth Manager, who supported you in achieving your dreams.
If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, or want to find out if this model is best for you send us an email today.