Are You in the Business of Advice as a Financial Advisor?

What is your experience with an accountant or lawyer? Is it about advice and counsel or is it about buying a product or service? Think about the last meeting you had with your accountant. Was your accountant going through an agenda to try to convince you to do something on their agenda, or were they listening to your story, your situation, and giving you advice on what you should do? Or did they give you options and let you choose? They gave you advice, which is what you hired them to do. The process is completely different than what average financial advisors do when they meet a client. Only the elite financial advisors who focus on planning and advice deliver a process that is all-around planning, goals, and advice.

What needs to change in your process?

Think of the annual revenue you generate with your best clients. Your job is to deliver more and more value every year for that ever-increasing fee you charge. What value add did you deliver in the last three years for a higher fee? Yes higher fees, as most portfolios are up in value due to strong performance. Revenue is up and value delivered to clients is flat. Why do you think that most of the clients that you acquired over the last three years left their current financial advisor? Is it communication? Is it performance or is it that a new advisor articulated more value than you have delivered in the last ten years? This is what I call a fee audit. It is not about fees, it is about lack of value, and advice, including written advice. Fee audit checklist for ideal prospects, click here

Advice in writing

I ask advisors to share with me their implementation or advice schedule for their best clients, hiding the names and confidentiality of course. Most of the advisors I work with share with me what the advice in writing looks like. Average Financial Advisors struggle to share their advice in writing. They ask me how they should do it? How do you deliver advice in writing, from a client's perspective, an accountant or lawyer's perspective, and from your firms' compliance perspective? The less you provide, the less trust you are building with ideal clients. They trust you to give them advice. They are wondering why they stay with their current financial advisor until they meet someone who provides more advice, more value in writing. How will you deliver more value in writing to your ideal clients and prospects?  

Sample plans and advice

Every advisor and firm I work with, I ask for a few sample plans. I am not looking to pick the plan apart, sell them some other software, I simply look at their process. What is your process, and as a result what is the output of your process? Is it emotionally engaging or logical? Most financial plans are dull and don’t have great graphics and design. But what if it did? What if your plan had great emotional appeal and was exciting to look at? What if it had pictures of peoples goals in an emotionally appealing way? The best advisors use data driven software that is all logical. Elite advisors create emotionally appealing plans and combine it with the logical data behind it. What if you were so excited to share your written advice, in a meaningful way that people were inspired by it, making it a positive experience, emotionally and logically? What is the outcome for me as a client? A very positive repeatable process that engages people in an emotional and logical way. 

How can I do it better?

How can you engage more planning and more advice from ideal clients? You have their trust, get a deeper understanding of their goals and values that drives them forward. Redo the goals conversations and their values discussions with your best clients and update their goals or priorities on paper for them. You are paid for advice, and they are looking for more advice to help them accomplish more. However, the problem for most financial advisors, is they do not have a process to consistently and repeatably go back to existing clients and deliver more advice unless the client brings it up. The conversation goes something like this” I just sold my (boat, business, home, etc) and now I need to figure out what to do with the money”. The client has money in motion and calls their advisor. The elite advisors already have had the discussion and once the item is sold, they call the advisor to activate the plan. This is the difference between an advisor who delivers advice and an advisor who doesn’t. That is why clients have money elsewhere.

Practice management is about process, process, process

Do you have a proven scripted process for ideal clients? Do you have a proven scripted progress update process for ideal clients? Do you have a sample comprehensive financial and investment plan covering all 7 areas of your financial life? Share this sample with everyone you know. Then ask people to share their plan with you, which usually doesn’t exist. Your plan is better than no plan, no advice in writing. Deliver more value to your ideal clients, and double your revenue per client this fall, with fewer clients. This plan will give you more time and money as well as your client! 

Related: Mistakes Financial Advisors Make When Delivering Webinars