In this age of immediacy, convenience and continuous distraction, today’s advisor is constantly being challenged to maintain a high-level practice that attracts qualified prospects. The expectations are constantly changing and the hurdles that financial advisors are expected to jump over are becoming more challenging to clear. Advisors today are expected to be Merlin-like they have Investment sorcerer skills whereby you consistently beat EVERY index on a regular basis. In addition, you are to keep a separate space in your frontal lobe dedicated to remembering every special event that has or will happen for your clients. Finally, you have access to EVERY major event in your demographic that you can offer admission if your clients express a desire for. For all these super human skills you are supposed to possess you’re constantly being scrutinized about the fees you charge and what services do you offer that can trump their previous advisor. Now that all the unrealistic expectations have bubbled up to the surface, it’s critical that today’s financial advisor is offering up a competitive package of services. For top skilled advisors, clients and their needs always come first. Having coached over 300 high-level practices each year for 20 years, here is what we at The Academy of Preferred Financial Advisors have observed to be four of the most impactful ways to maintain a high-level practice and attract qualified prospects.
Offer exceptional service.
What does that actually mean? This a concept that is going to be different for every advisor. Your idea of what is so called exceptional is purely based on your previous life experiences. For example, if you’ve ever stayed at a Ritz Carlton, you probably experienced exceptional service. They are known the bench mark of service in the hotel industry. Imagine if your financial practice were to be considered the benchmark for exceptional service. It offered a full menu of services that was unparalleled to any other financial practice. From the moment clients engage your services, their experience should be mapped out with your staff, so they can execute every interaction and task with exact precision. Every client experience should be consistent and pleasurable. After every meeting with your office, all clients should feel a true connection with you and your staff. These clients will then sing your praise and even refer you to all of their friends.
Demonstrate your unique skills set.
Most advisors claim to be unique, but in reality, you might not be. Today’s advisor must have skills and be able to demonstrate how these skills will set them apart. For example, one of the ways we have seen advisors at The Academy of Preferred Financial Advisors differentiate themselves is by demonstrating their extensive tax planning and estate planning knowledge. Most advisors are simply not comfortable when they assist their clients when it comes to taxes and estate planning. We are talking about tax planning and not tax preparation. Most producers are only asset locators and are not the best trained at being asset relocators. Every advisor we work with at The Academy of Preferred Financial Advisors shares that being updated on tax law changes and estate planning changes is critical to their success. That allows a successful advisor to discuss relevant and complicated information. They can then share with prospects and clients how these changes will impact each of their clients specifically. Are you confident and well versed in discussing tax law changes or estate planning changes? Do you have a list of services that you offer to clients and prospects? Has someone helped you develop an implementable specialized list? Are you strong in the critical areas of tax planning?
Provide meaningful guidance.
Today’s investor is not just looking for a financial professional to help them with the surface level of their financial concerns. They are needing a financial professional who has a specific skillset that can help dive deep into the complexities of their financial situation.
Are you capable of this?
Specifically, what do you offer? For example, do you meet with your current clients at year end to look for opportunities to harvest gains or losses? Do you share the tax implications of taking money out of an IRA rather than savings? Do you share your knowledge of estate planning changes and review recommended changes? In order to be providing meaningful guidance for your clients you need to be communicating. Meaningful communication is a needle mover! You really need to be communicating regularly with your clients and reminding them how you have a watchful eye on their behalf and are available to help. One way our advisors communicate in a meaningful way is to send out our tax and economic reports regularly to their clients and prospects. These reports cement for clients that they are knowledgeable and abreast of tax law changes and key economic events. Our tax reports share specific and implementable strategies. Remember communication without a meaningful and timely message goes in the trash. Communication with a message and meaning provides the desired guidance that clients are wanting.
Offer a personalized approach.
One of the ways today advisor is able to demonstrate their ability to personalize their interactions with clients and prospects is to listen to what their plans and goals are for their accumulated wealth. Clients are needing hand holding and patience when making decisions of what to do with their hard-earned investable assets. Helping them avoid unexpected tax consequences and providing tax solutions while keeping them on track with their investment goals adds real value. Do you offer this kind of described approach for your current clients?
In conclusion, if you are not offering your clients exceptional service, demonstrating your unique skills set, providing meaningful guidance and taking a personalized approach with your clients and prospects, at the highest and most efficient levels, then you need to review how you can. Do you have the right tools to help you keep your clients and grow your financial practice? If not then you need to elevate them! To learn about the Academy of Preferred Advisors (APFA) and how you can take your practice to the highest levels, visit us at www.theapfa.com. We are currently accepting new members into our community of exceptional practices.