People seem confused about what financial advisors should do for them. It is not their fault, advisors seldom come to grips with the issue. Selling takes precedence. Close ratios, new clients, and cross selling get the attention. All important to advisors, not so much to clients.
There is a more complete set of latent values that good advisors, from insurance sales, to tax accountants, to lawyers and investment managers, bring to the relationship. Clients should notice them.
- They know the client is the planner and they are the helper.
- They help clients find voids in their planning.
- They help clients identify and deal with conflicts in their plans.
- They do not try to tell clients what to think but they do tell them what to think about and what they need not think about yet.
- They help clients understand that financial plans support their life plan. Poorly done, they limit the life plan.
- They bring information about ways to get what the client wants. Tools and technique are tactical skills and few clients have more than a passing awareness.
- They help the client learn about strategic vision, priorities and financial literacy.
- They help with implementing. They have access to a much wider tool inventory and have prepared wills, tax returns and trusts before.
- They help record results.
- They review results and compare to the intentions of the plan.
- They find ways to revise the plan to make it closer to its objectives.
- They communicate with other interested parties.
- They are cheerleaders and managers of emotions like fear, greed and impatience.
- They are a conscience. “You put that money away for Emily’s education. Why do you want to use it to buy a sail boat?”
- They help clients assign meaning to financial information in the client’s unique context.
Advisors sell themselves short and so clients come to believe they add little value. Just a product I don’t understand and probably don’t need. Clients are pushed along the floccinaucinihilipilifcation path by financial media types and government regulators.
If you do not express and show your value, people will assume you provide little. Advisors, get busy on an information program.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772