Fundamentally, financial advisors are “people” people. You’re in the business of guiding your clients’ financial lives, protecting their futures, and helping them accomplish their goals. Meeting these responsibilities requires that a financial advisor puts the client experience first.
But just because the intention to focus on the client experience is there doesn’t mean advisors don't get sidetracked. In order to deliver the unparalleled financial services experience that your clients deserve, it’s important to regularly and intentionally bring your attention back to the client.
The more time you spend building rapport with your clients, learning about their lives, and clarifying their goals, the more you’ll understand what matters most to them. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to adjust their financial plan to address those priorities.
Often, this kind of deep familiarity with your clients uncovers important factors that you may not have seen otherwise. For example, a client may approach you for guidance on how best to save for their child’s college education. Over the course of your engagement, you might discover that they haven’t spent much time thinking about their retirement, or that they’re struggling to manage their debts. If you come to them with solutions to these challenges, they’ll appreciate you all the more.
It could be that a client comes to you for the “big” things—their retirement, estate planning, saving for major financial goals, and so on. It’s not uncommon, however, for clients to use multiple financial advisors for different services. As an example, they may work with another advisor that just manages their riskier investments. But if they notice that you know them better than any of their other providers, a client may decide to entrust you with all of their assets instead.
It's no surprise that a satisfied client will become a source of new business. Paying attention to a client's financial services experience will both make them feel better about working with you and ensure you understand their goals better, enabling the provision of better service. Satisfied with your rapport and results, a client will likely refer any of their peers or family members in need of financial advising to you.
Often, it’s not the case that a financial advisor isn’t paying attention to the client experience so much as they focus on the wrong elements of the client experience. This is especially true during volatile market conditions. An advisor might spend all of their energy managing their client’s portfolio to ensure a high level of performance instead of managing the client themselves.
During volatile times, clients aren’t concerned about whether you sold Apple and bought Google—they want to hear that they’re going to be okay. Of course, you should be paying attention to their portfolios during volatile times to a degree, but that should come second to the client’s needs.
Particularly for advisors who are just starting out, it can be tempting to agree to work with any and all comers. Naturally, this can easily lead to an advisor being overloaded with clients and unable to devote the right amount of attention to any individual’s financial services experience.
That’s why it’s essential for advisors to set minimums; this ensures that your investors will have enough assets for you to make a real impact on their financial wellbeing—and that you’ll be able to keep the lights on.
It can be a good idea to establish ideal client profiles as well. This way, you’ll only onboard clients that are a good fit for your specialty, raising the odds of a successful relationship.
Just like onboarding too many investors, offering all of your services to all of your clientele means that you’ll be overworked, expending a lot of effort to realize few results. Ultimately, this means that you won’t have the time to devote to the clients who have placed more of their assets under your management.
Clients who contribute a small percentage to your total assets under management (AUM) deserve your services and attention, of course; but their needs will be different from your higher net-worth clients. Therefore, the services you offer them should be different, as well.
Consider estate planning—low-net-worth clients won’t have as many assets to account for in their estate plan, and may not require your help in this regard. High-net-worth clients, on the other hand, may have a highly complex portfolio of assets that will need to be appropriately managed.
An underlying theme unites all of the ways financial advisors lose track of the client experience: When an advisor tries to be everything to everybody, the client experience suffers.
Rather, an advisor interested in providing an exceptional financial services experience should focus on their specialty and target those services to the client profiles that stand to benefit the most.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore in-demand services just because you don’t have the perfect skillset. Instead, these services can easily be outsourced to professionals that do have that perfect skillset. Outsourcing your non-core services to specialists ensures that no matter what a client needs from your practice, you’ll be able to provide a consistent, quality experience, netting all of the benefits described earlier.
Every practice and financial advisor has different specialties and different needs, so it’s important to evaluate the professional or organization you’re considering outsourcing to accordingly. We’ve written about this process before in our blog, 7 Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Turnkey Asset Management Platform. Or, you can get the conversation started directly by reaching out to AssetMark.
AssetMark is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that help financial advisors meet the ever-changing needs of their clients and businesses.
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