What Clients Really Want from a Financial Professional

As a financial professional, do you think you know what your clients value in your working relationship, or do you actually know with certainty?

Of course, certainty in the financial services industry is elusive, but there are principles to consider when meeting with prospective clients. The approach an advisor takes with a prospective client typically needs to leverage different skills and strategies than when working with established clients.

Navigating the Prospecting Phase

What do your initial meetings with prospective clients look like? Does your conversation revolve around a checklist of income strategies, estate plans, tax implications, risk tolerances and insurance recommendations? 

While these issues are an important part of any investor’s financial strategy, they may not be top of mind during an initial meeting. Taking a formulaic approach to onboarding clients may leave them feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about whether to proceed with your services, and that could result in lower retention rates. 

In trying to win over prospective clients, advisors may have a tendency to focus too much on the trees and not enough on the forest. In the end, what most investors want is to feel confident that you have the skills and know-how to help them reach their overall financial goals. They may not be as concerned with the tactical steps it takes to get there as you are.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be prepared to discuss granular details, as some more savvy or experienced investors might want to focus their attention there. However, the average advisor would probably agree that those initial interactions with prospective clients are more about building trust and demonstrating value than they are about recommending specific products or services. 

Demonstrating Value

If an advisor wants to deliver true value, then they first need to discover what their clients value most. You can’t skip to the solution if you don’t know what you’re trying to solve. Do they value guaranteed income? Do they want to retire early? Do they want to leave a legacy? Spend more time with grandchildren? Knowing what a client values will drive their financial goals and priorities. Without knowing the underlying drivers of what brought someone to your door, it’s just a guessing game.

We’ve written before on the importance of building strong relationships with clients and the means for helping foster them. No doubt, a strong foundation of trust and understanding is critical, as is learning about a client's unique circumstances and needs. That said, a strong relationship won’t necessarily translate to strong results, and that is ultimately what prospective clients are looking for.

How can you demonstrate your value in this regard? It may require venturing into an uncomfortable arena; that of having to sell your services, skills and the value you bring. In reality, earning a prospect's business will likely require a delicate balance that combines both building rapport and demonstrating value. 

So, should you focus on understanding your prospective client and their unique needs, or focus on your skills and how you can help them reach their financial goals? The answer is yes. Both aspects are critically important, and finding the balance is key.

Do you tend to lean one way or the other? If so, it’s prudent to consider ways you can strengthen areas of communication and connection that could be a liability. Advisors can bolster their skills by using our Acceleration Resources, including six modules focused on building your book of business through behavioral finance principles, social media, client referrals, webinars and more. Be sure to check them out by clicking the link below.

Acceleration Resources


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