What Advisors Need to Do to Help Set Client Goals

What Advisors Need to Do to Help Set Client Goals

According to a Morningstar study, what clients want most from their financial advisors is to help them reach their financial goals. That should be good news for financial advisors because, generally, people with clearly defined goals and ambitions for the future have the conviction to adhere to a long-term plan to achieve them.

However, it could also spell disaster for advisors who fall short in helping their clients articulate their most important goals and fail to gain their commitment to achieving them. To inspire action, client goals must be well-defined and quantifiable with genuine intrinsic value. Anything less is a hopeful aspiration, and hope is not a strategy.

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Keep Your Clients Focused on What’s Knowable and Important

Keep Your Clients Focused on What’s Knowable and Important

The media has always run rampant with scary headlines. That’s how they increase readership or website traffic. However, in this period of increased market volatility, economic uncertainty, geopolitical upheaval, mixed COVID signals, and deepening political divisions, the headlines can be incredibly overwhelming or, at the very least, extremely distracting.

Trying to consume all the news coming at us 24/7 is like trying to drink from a firehose. It’s critical to understand that the barrage of bad news and hype around market events can trigger emotional reactions that often lead to making costly decisions around their finances.

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When Presenting Clients with Options, Less Is More

When Presenting Clients with Options, Less Is More

We live at a time when people like to have choices. The internet affords people a seemingly unlimited number of choices for anything they desire, and they will surf the Web for hours searching for the perfect option. That may be fine when searching for consumer products, vacation options, or the best roads to take to their destination. But, when it comes to finding the right financial solutions, too many options often lead to “analysis paralysis.” In the financial realm, where the stakes are often high, too many choices can make people fearful of choosing the wrong one, increasing the likelihood they’ll choose to do nothing.

Financial advisors are sometimes complicit in creating analysis by paralysis by offering their clients too many options. It’s not intentional. There very well could be several good options for addressing a particular situation they feel their clients need to consider in many cases. Sometimes, advisors think it’s necessary to present multiple options to let their clients know they’ve covered all the bases. And in some cases, advisors have the impression that clients like to have options.

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The Slippery Slope from Empathy to Role Reversal, and How to Avoid It

The Slippery Slope from Empathy to Role Reversal, and How to Avoid It

Successful financial advisors know that expressing empathy is critical in helping them to connect with clients and solidify their relationships. Clients need to know you understand their circumstances and what they may be going through at any given time. However, empathy taken too far can backfire when advisors find themselves sharing the same emotional distress as their clients, which can threaten their objectivity and compromise sound planning advice.

At the extreme, this can lead to advisors relinquishing control of the relationship to their clients and acquiescing to their desire “to fix the problem” in the short-term at the expense of their long-term plan. This type of role reversal is not uncommon for advisors who become emotionally vested in their clients, wanting to do what they can to ease their pain. Suddenly, the relationship is no longer being guided by rational, objective advice; but rather the behavioral impulses advisors are supposed to prevent, such as selling into a steep market decline, or abandoning the long-term strategy just to alleviate the immediate suffering.

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4 Things Clients Need to Know about Volatility

When markets are volatile investors can get spooked and start to question their investment strategies. Especially if they’re new to the process of investing. This could prompt them to withdraw from the market and wait on the sidelines until things get better.

As their financial advisor you’re there to help them see things in perspective. By helping them understand the nature of volatility they will find it easier to stick to their plan.

Here are four things about volatility you need to explain to them right away.

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5 Steps to Improve Your Sales Skills

5 Steps to Improve Your Sales Skills

Advisors often dislike being known as ‘sales people’ – they see the act of selling as somehow disreputable. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Selling is essentially the art of persuasion. If you are to get people to open accounts with you, you need to convince them it’s the right thing to do. You need to become proficient at selling if you want to grow your business.

Top advisors are inevitably skilled salespeople. Make it your aim to become great at selling by taking the following steps.

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You Need both Hard and Soft Skills to Succeed as a Financial Advisor

You Need both Hard and Soft Skills to Succeed as a Financial Advisor

You can’t offer financial advice until you have the necessary training and education under your belt. Learning the technical side is fundamental to your career, so that you can recommend appropriate products as well as adhere to the increasingly strict industry regulations.

But hard skills alone won’t secure you success. Even if you’re highly competent with technical information and product knowledge, unless you also possess the right soft skills, you won’t get your message across. Without excellent communication and interpersonal skills, you won’t get past the first post. That’s because prospects won’t understand what you’re saying or see why they should do business with you.

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Getting Clients to Talk about Money

Getting Clients to Talk about Money

As financial advisors we’re comfortable talking about money, it’s what we’re trained to do. But for everyone else it’s a different story. Most people feel uncomfortable talking about money, so you need to consider how to introduce the topic in a relaxed way.

Don’t dive into the numbers at the initial meeting. Instead focus on building rapport with clients; then ask them what it is they want money for. The goals must come first – then the money. Once you understand your client’s vision of the future you can start doing the math on how to get there.

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How to Connect with Clients Emotionally

How to Connect with Clients Emotionally

As financial advisors we’re objective thinkers. We use the left, logical, side of our brains, to work out the technical aspects of financial planning. But simply being able to do the math won’t differentiate you from the competition – even robo-advisors are pretty good with interest rates and algorithms. The way to stand out is to make an emotional connection with people.

Your clients won’t make big decisions based on the numbers. They will base them on how they feel about you, using the right (emotional) part of the brain. To form a connection with clients you need to work out what it is you have to offer them on an emotional level.

Here are three suggestions to help you connect with clients emotionally.

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