Whatever aspirations clients have with their finances, they can likely boil down to two simple goals: growing their wealth and feeling confident about retirement. However, many people might feel that financial planning is overly complicated. They’re looking for an advisor to handle the responsibility of deciphering the complexities on their behalf.
Clients generally know their limits, and they rely on your expertise and knowledge to help them invest in various platforms while shielding them against risk as best you can. They may have certain expectations of you — some you can fulfill and some that may not be possible.
Either way, when you set reasonable expectations, you can establish a foundation of confidence on which you can build a relationship. Take a look at these three tips you can use to manage expectations and keep clients satisfied.
1. Deliver on Your Claims
It’s human nature to promote success stories and minimize shortcomings, and self-marketing is part of the territory of working in client service. But, while you can talk about previous performance, be careful about linking past results with future returns and painting a picture full of rainbows and sunshine that leaves out the occasional storm clouds and uncertainties.
It’s not unheard of for financial advisors to be sued for misleading claims, so not only is it ideal for your clients to keep their expectations realistic, it’s in your best interest, too.
There are some investment options, like annuities, that provide opportunities for you to discuss how much risk your client is taking on each year. Clients often appreciate straight talk from their advisor, and that can help with setting the right expectations from the start.
2. Speak Their Language
Many investors may be overwhelmed by the complexities of investment portfolios, especially when regulatory changes occur, key performance indicators are assessed, tax implications are realized or the stock market goes through turbulent times. Throw in financial industry jargon, and even the most seasoned investor could be perplexed.
For some, simple distinctions such as the difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA can be unclear. If you’re meeting with a married couple, for example, one spouse may fully grasp the intricacies of a platform, while the other stares blankly at the colorful graph placed before them.
Remember how you felt when you first stepped into the financial world. You didn’t know it all right away, either. Take the opportunity to educate clients using easy-to-understand language, practical examples and relatable scenarios.
3. Practice Active Communication
There’s more to effective communication than speaking clearly and understandably. Perhaps an even greater attribute of communication is listening. Rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak, active listening involves receiving, understanding, evaluating, remembering and providing feedback on the information you just heard.
Active communication may also involve probing deeper with questions that get at the root of an investor’s fears or help you better understand their future ambitions.
Checking in is also key to effective communication with clients. When possible, schedule a designated time each day to respond to inquiries or even send them a message to see how things are going. Ask some status update questions, such as:
- Have they changed jobs?
- Did they receive an inheritance?
- Did they downsize their home?
- Have they finished paying off a student loan or mortgage?
Let them know you’re working hard to help build their future. If you receive frantic calls every time there’s hype concerning the latest economic turmoil, consider ways to proactively coach your clients and nurture the relationships so they know you’re on top of things.
Life can change quickly, and so can a person’s financial standing. Even if you don’t have a particular reason, meeting regularly with clients may help them feel informed and cared for. It also could help them know they’re not just another account on the books, but rather, a valued client with unique circumstances, needs and goals.
Help Investors Navigate Emotionally Charged Financial Decisions
There’s more to being a successful advisor than helping manage money; you also must help manage client expectations and relationships. Building relationships based on these principles can help you create realistic expectations, set attainable goals and keep clients satisfied with your services.
When you became an advisor, maybe you didn’t realize you’d have to grasp various psychology competencies. But when it comes to a client’s money, the emotional connection and anxiety surrounding their investments should be handled with care. Our award-winning Behavioral Finance Advice program offers guidance on doing just that. Click the link below to learn more.