What determines an Advisor’s value is not up to the Advisor to decide. It is left for the client to decide. And that decision is a lot simpler than one might think.

Over years of conducting client events, I have learned a lot about how clients define and determine value. We discuss these things in our workshop.

When selecting an Advisor in the first place, three things are of value to the prospective client.

That person must like the Advisor, that person must trust the Advisor and that person must think the Advisor is smart. There is very little else to factor in initially.

Prospective clients generally are not looking for more information. Rather, they are looking for someone they can trust. We’re selling financial solutions and they are buying peace of mind. There is a big difference. They’re not judging us on what we know. They are judging us on who we are.

That’s nowhere more evident than in the initial meeting. People generally visit two or sometimes three Advisors before choosing the candidate they like. The Advisor must understand that the introductory meeting is a job interview.

Most Advisors feel compelled to explain how they manage money in that initial meeting, and that’s not where the prospective client is focused.

While the Advisor is talking, the prospective client is dealing with one simple question: Can I trust you?

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The perceived amount of trust in the Advisor dictates the Advisor’s value.

The client wants to know the person, not the numbers. Who are you? Where do you live? Are you married? What’s your background? Do you have kids? What do you do on weekends? Can I trust you? What are your values? What qualifies you to tell me how to manage my wealth?

I insist every Advisor perfect a brief ‘Who I Am’ story. That’s what people want to hear. When clients finally find an Advisor they can trust, the peace of mind that ensues is enormous.

We all do business with people we like and trust. To that end, I teach the Advisors eleven basic components of likeability. Advisors who are not likeable bring no value to a relationship.

I also teach the Advisors what it means to be trustworthy. When a client fires an Advisor, the reason most often cited is lack of communication. What the clients really mean is lack of follow-up. Not seeing enough people is the number one cause of failure in our business. Not following up is number two. Advisors who don’t follow up are not trustworthy.

I have seen many cases where a client has transferred in his or her entire account without hearing a single investment recommendation. Why would someone do that? They do that because they like the Advisor, they trust the Advisor and they think the Advisor is smart.

This business is not about investments. This business is about getting kids through college and getting people retired with enough money to live worry free.

An Advisor’s value is also measured in results.

Clients expect the Advisor’s recommendations to work. Here is a simple analogy I teach Advisors. People who exercise and train at home don’t lose weight or get in shape. Equipment in someone’s home goes unused. The only people who lose weight are the ones who hire trainers. Advisors are like trainers. It’s the Advisors who make people do sit-ups and get on the treadmill, i.e. take the steps necessary to secure their financial futures.

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An Advisor’s value is also reflected in his or her client service model and the referrals that service generates.

Wealthy people value great service and they spend their money where they get the best experience. When wealthy people go to a five-star restaurant, it’s not simply for what the chef is cooking in the kitchen. They go because they want a five-star experience.

Nobody recommends a restaurant with lousy service, no matter how great the food. All investment firms serve pretty much the same food. Nobody is going to refer an Advisor who is guilty of lousy service. Every trip to an Advisor’s office should be a five-star experience that people look forward to.

All clients expect the investments to work and they expect the Advisor to care. Advisors who care more than their clients expect them to care are invaluable. Service begins to slip when firms and/or Advisors start to view client service as a cost and not as an investment.

The value of anything is reflected in its scarcity. Great service is a scarce commodity in our business. Those Advisors who serve well are in demand. They bring great value to the relationship.

Next to the family doctor, the Financial Advisor is generally the most important person a family will ever meet. If the Advisor does his or her job well, children can go to college and not borrow money. Clients can retire and not worry about money. Financial worries often cause unbearable stress and too much stress results in illness. A competent Advisor relieves more stress than he or she often realizes. I know that Advisors get down on themselves, so I try to make sure they never forget how important they are.

That’s a brief overview of what I believe and teach about how clients determine the value of a Financial Advisor.

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On-Site Presentations: keynote presentations to half/full day workshops
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