9 High Value Intangibles Prospects Want From Their Advisor

It’s not all about pricing, but pricing does matter. Plenty has been written about “What clients want,” but here are nine common sense requests that prospects want and you yourself want when shopping for a provider.

  1. An advisor who cares about them. They want someone who is emotionally invested in their success. They want someone who knows them personally and remembers details about their life. They want an advisor who will tell them things they might not want to hear, but is the advice they need to heed.

  2. A firm that will survive. Although there are insurance programs in place, clients do not ever want firsthand experience in testing them. They want a firm with deep pockets and a strong credit rating. They have seen bank failures. They feel their advisor is an agent of the firm, so they want a strong firm standing behind them.

  3. Continuity. Years ago, people had a family doctor. They aged in place, caring for the parents, then their children and their children’s children. Today, our family medical practice seems to employ doctors on contracts. They are here for a few years, then they move and a new doctor takes on their patient load. You need to get to know a new doctor. In the financial advisory world, the client wants an advisor who loves their job, loves the firm and is staying put for the long haul.

  4. Responsiveness. Everyone wants to feel they are an important client. If they have a problem (I need a statement copy), a need (Lets transfer money) or an emergency (I am in France and my wallet was stolen) they want someone who knows them to jump on the problem, move it to the top of the pile and get it solved.

  5. Protection. Clients want to make money, yet the desire not to lose money is stronger. Most can accept volatility as a fact of life, but they do not want to take excessive risk for uncertain rewards unless they chose that risk profile. They want an advisor who will explain and help moderate risk.

  6. Confidentiality. The British have an expression: “No man is a hero to his valet.” You have financially undressed for your financial advisor. They know how much debt you carry and how you spend your money. They know some of the same people as you. They want to know you would never reveal any of their personal information.

  7. Fair pricing. People talk about transparency. Yes, it’s important, but you can be both transparent and overpriced. The client wants to feel they are getting value for money. They understand personal attention and concierge services have a price. They also know pricing in the financial services industry can be opaque and “free” things are rarely “free.” They want you to be upfront about pricing. You might not be the cheapest. You aren’t the most expensive. You are probably in the middle.

  8. Leadership and direction. The stock market is impossible to accurately predict. It is full of surprises. It is said to go up like an escalator and down like an elevator. TV news commentators are masters at creating hysteria. They worry “This time it’s different.” They want an advisor who puts things into perspective, focuses on the long term and will point out opportunities others are missing.

  9. Relatability. You’ve heard the expression “Someone who looks like me.” That is not a requirement, but people prefer to work with someone they can open up to in conversation, someone who understands them and their concerns. Age and wealth disparity can be barriers, but they are surmountable.

Other factors like knowledge and referrals are important, but these are common sense traits we look for when we are buying a product or service from a person, not a website.

Related: Social Networking and the Art of Not Talking Too Much