It’s not just about the money. Financial services is a hospitality business. Success is directly related to the happiness and well-being of our clients, so it’s no surprise that top financial advisors focus on client experience and great service. In this article, we’ll outline the key habits of successful financial advisors and wealth management firms. None of these are related to portfolio performance, yet the financial advisors practicing these principles enjoy substantial growth and good retention numbers.
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Building a modern advisory practice without focusing on one or two niche markets is nearly impossible. General practitioners just don’t have the same appeal. Clients are looking for a financial advisor who understands their unique situation and who has worked with others like them in the past.
The Office Experience
Take their coat, offer a beverage, and make sure someone is there to attend to their needs when they walk in the door. It’s simple hospitality. Attention to detail during an office visit is one of the things that brings clients back. The office experience should be one of the firm’s distinguishing characteristics.
Don’t Ignore the Spouse
Couples will tell their advisor that they’re equal partners. That may be, but there’s typically one partner who does most of the talking and signs the checks. Don’t ignore the spouse. Though they may not be the ultimate decision maker, they are certainly an influencer if they’re in the meeting.
Trust is one of the bedrock principles of any advisor/client relationship. The best way to build that bond is to practice complete transparency. Make sure contract language and fee structures are easy to understand, and offer to explain things in detail when the client expresses uncertainty. One of the top habits of successful financial advisors is to always be ready to help explain information and options to clients.
An advisor’s story should be told early and often during a client relationship. Remind them why you do what you do. The top firms in the world are known as much for their story as they are for their individual advisors. This is a critical component for building and maintaining personal relationships with clients.
Life is difficult. Brushing off the concerns of clients when there’s no desire to listen to them is a sure way to send them packing. Even if you don’t feel it, become practiced at expressing empathy when a client is struggling. Advisors are the financial “bartenders” of the business world. We’re paid to listen and empathize.
Avoid the Curse of Knowledge
Clients don’t usually have an advanced degree in business or finance. Unfortunately, advisors sometimes forget that and use terminology and concepts the clients simply don’t understand. This is known as the “curse of knowledge.” Do what you can to help explain difficult concepts without being condescending.
Frequent Client Contact
The modern client doesn’t like to be kept in the dark. The most successful financial advisors make it a habit to deliver frequent emails and stay in touch. Each branded touch helps to maintain the advisor’s role as the sole center of influence to the client.
Holistic Financial Planning
The most successful advisors provide holistic financial planning. A failure to pay attention to every aspect of a client’s financial wellness leaves them susceptible to poaching by other firms and self-directed apps.
Build a Professional Network
Larger firms do this in-house. Add a CPA or attorney to the team. Make connections with lenders, banks, and mortgage brokers. When a client needs something outside of the scope of your abilities, refer them to someone in your network. Always be on the lookout for professionals who can complement your skills and abilities.
Combine Common Sense with Innovative Ideas
There’s quite a bit of common sense built into this list. Treat people well and they’ll come back to do business with you again. That’s not a new concept. What has changed is the way in which we do business. Many advisory firms are transitioning to a more virtual approach now.
How do you implement these suggestions when client meetings are done via video conference? The answer to that is in the technology itself. Clients can have a pleasant office experience online, for example, when the advisor uses a nice backdrop and user-friendly software.
As a final note, innovations that work to distinguish themselves from competitors are a good thing. The business of wealth management has finally entered the 21st Century. Don’t be afraid to be different. Your next great idea could be the story they all remember.
Work with an Experienced Coach
The best advisors know when it’s time to seek outside help. With decades of experience in the financial industry, Bill Edmonds is an expert financial advisor coach. At Northstar Leadership Solutions, we will work closely with you to help you refine your vision, define your goals, and build a plan of action for growth. Get in touch today to request a free initial consultation.