How Do Clients Choose a Financial Advisor?
If you don’t know what’s going on in a client’s mind when they’re choosing a financial advisor, you won’t be able to present yourself in a way that meets their needs. And you won’t get selected.
So let’s take a look at some of the things likely to be on a client’s mind when they’re looking for an advisor…
Clients are looking for someone who cares
Prospects won’t base their choice on numbers. They will base their decision on you. They will be looking for the telltale signs that indicate you ‘get’ them. In that first meeting with prospects you need to break the ice and build rapport. Clients need to see you as enthusiastic, caring and honest, so put your effort into illustrating that you are the ‘real deal.’ Clients want to know, “Are you one of them or are you one of us?”
To help you get this across develop a ‘who I am’ story, based on your own personal experiences. What life lessons have you learned that maybe you had to learn the hard way? Why did you become a financial advisor in the first place? Was it seeing a family member or friend struggle with their finances?
Keep your story short and practice it until you’re word perfect – then tell it with passion.
Clients aren’t interested in the numbers
Clients don’t want to buy ‘securities’ – they want to retire ‘securely’. Or they want to educate their kids. They don’t care whether it’s annuities or mutual funds that gets them there. That’s for you to care about, not them.
When you’re talking to prospects, remember to look at things from their point of view – it’s all about ‘what’s in it for the clients?”
Clients are looking for an advisor who can lead from the front
Clients are looking for an advisor who they feel will actively and aggressively pursue the fulfilment of their goals. They need their prospective advisor to show leadership skills. Assure prospects and clients that you’ll be there to steer them through stormy financial weather, bad news and bad markets. This is your designated role.
A prospect’s thought process when picking an advisor is generally ‘Tell me what to do. Don’t ask me what I think’.
Clients need someone who understands their goals
When you first meet with prospective clients, you need to find out what they are attempting to achieve and understand their pain points.
Be aware that there can often be a discrepancy between what an advisor thinks a client wants and what they actually want. Clients generally just want to beat the bank but it’s your job to find out what lets them sleep at night, so you can set the tone of the conversation.
Prospects need to know you’re on the same page regarding expectations
Ask prospective clients whether they have hired other advisors in the past. If they have, then it obviously didn’t turn out as they wanted. Find out what it was that disappointed them about their previous advisor. Then tell them how you are going to do things differently. Tell them what they can expect from you.
What else may be on a prospect’s mind?
Prospective clients want to know you’re free of the pressure to promote your firm’s products. They want to know you are acting independently and offering them solutions based on what’s right for them.
Prospects also want to know if your business is stable and reliable. What happens if something happens to you? What’s your succession plan?
Transparency is another issue that can make or break the first meeting. Don’t ignore this elephant in the room – be clear about what you’re compensated for. It’s not the fees that bother clients, it’s the mystery surrounding them.
When someone buys an expensive watch, they don’t care what the sales person’s name is. But when someone hires an advisor they’re buying into a relationship that will involve a huge ongoing commitment. So, make sure you make the right first impression.
See your first meeting with a prospect as a job interview. Dress the part, act the part, demonstrate empathy and show prospects your products are right for them. If clients walk out of your office liking you and trusting that you will do the right thing by them, there’s every chance they will choose to do business with you.