Did it happen again? During an annual check-in with one of your clients, you’re surprised to hear about a job change, a new vacation property or inheritance money that recently got stashed away in a long-term CD.
These kinds of client decisions are certainly theirs to make. But had they known about potential financial implications and how a decision might not align with their retirement goals, they might have reconsidered.
So, why didn’t they seek your advice?
A majority of Americans — a whopping 81% — say they rely a lot on their own research when making big decisions. That’s nearly double the number (43%) who rely on friends and family for advice. Bringing up the rear, only 31% of people said they seek the counsel of professional experts when making major decisions.1
So, how can financial advisors engage with clients in these types of decisions? Consider these four strategies.
1. Provide the Resources They’re Looking For
Some clients may simply want to take things into their own hands and feel the need to do their own research. These investors are more prone to conduct online searches rather than seek the advice of friends, family or a financial advisor. Because of the vast amounts of disinformation on the internet, however, this go-it-alone attitude could lead someone down the wrong financial path.
Potential Solution: One way to help self-sufficient clients is to provide the types of go-to resources they’re looking for. Consider developing your own list — a library of sorts — of educational resources for clients to address a variety of financial issues, and make sure they know about it. This collection may contain digital guides, infographics, videos, links or articles. Many financial companies you already work with likely offer helpful and, most importantly, credible resources containing factual data, insights and guidance. Leverage their expertise and share it with others.
RELATED: Explore Our Client Resources
2. Overcome the Inconvenience Factor
A client may feel that their question or concern is simply too trivial for you to be bothered with. Or, they may believe the decision they’re contemplating won’t have an impact on their retirement goals. But as every financial advisor knows, it’s the seemingly small decisions that could have a lasting impact.
Potential Solution: When connecting with your clients, reiterate that no issue is too small and that you welcome hearing from them. Get specific, and let them know that you’re available to discuss financial considerations of a job change, 401(k) rollover, selling or buying a home, early retirement, or even family changes such as an adoption, marriage or divorce. Calling out these life events and identifying potential issues in advance may bring you to mind and make them more likely to contact you if and when opportunities arise.
3. Be Accessible and Approachable
No one likes having to dig through paperwork, computer files or Google searches to find someone’s contact information. Likewise, some investors dislike filling out impersonal contact forms without knowing whether the information will end up in your hands or how long it will take to get a response. Finances are highly personal, as are the questions surrounding them. As such, they deserve a personal touch.
Potential Solutions: Maintain consistent communication with clients and make it easy for them to reach you. Make your presence and contact information known on your website, LinkedIn page, emails and elsewhere. Try to avoid generic online contact forms. With permission, share your information via text and encourage clients to save it in their phone’s contacts app. That way, you’re accessible at the touch of a button.
4. Strengthen Client Relationships
Being accessible is important, but being approachable is even more so. If the only time your clients hear from you is when annual reviews are due, it will be difficult to build trust and be a top consideration when they’re presented with important decisions.
Potential Solution: Without trust, you’ll be hard pressed to be on the short list of people your clients turn to. Find additional ways to connect with them and ask questions that go beyond their finances. Seek to understand their needs, wants, fears, and hopes for the future. Strong relationships are a two-way street, so don’t be afraid to open up about your own life and show your human side. You may discover a shared affinity that strengthens your bond.
Your connection with clients may ultimately determine their willingness to reach out to you. These interactions may be crucial to a client’s financial future because, without proper guidance, they might face a potential retirement income shortfall. Find tips to help them avoid becoming another statistic with our guide, Are Your Clients Facing a Retirement Income Crisis? Simply click the link below.
1Pew Research, Most Americans rely on their own research to make big decisions, and that often means online searches, March 5, 2020.