As a financial advisor, you have one job and one job only—to help your clients achieve their financial goals. At least, that’s how your clients see it. That’s according to a research study by Morningstar, which revealed what clients value most in an advisor. Advisors would be well-served to keep that in mind in their efforts to win over more prospects.
Next on the list of what clients value most from an advisor is “skills and knowledge,” followed by “maximizing returns.” Unquestionably those are essential attributes. However, the study indicates that prospects may put less weight on them if you fail to check off the one they deem most important—helping them to achieve their goals.
So, from a marketing perspective, if that’s what clients want most, isn’t that what advisors should be selling? The challenge for advisors is avoiding the instinct to delve into the mechanics of how to get their prospects from point A to point B and instead focusing their discussions on the big picture of what it means to them when they get there.
You can’t convince prospects that you’re the best advisor for the job until you get their rapt attention, which you do when you focus exclusively on their goals at the outset. When you can demonstrate to your prospects that you truly understand their goals and why they’re important to them, they become much more engaged.
How to position yourself as the goals-centric Advisor clients want
#1. Emphasize goal attainment in your value proposition
It starts with your messaging—how you communicate who you are and what you do—on your website, in email campaigns, and in your elevator pitch. If goal attainment is your prospects’ focus, your stated mission should be laser-focused on helping them achieve their life ambitions, fully understanding their most important goals, and developing custom plans to achieve them. Anything else muddies the waters.
#2. Focus initial conversations on the prospect’s goals
If clients hire advisors to achieve their goals, the primary job of advisors is to help them understand what their goals are. That requires advisors to ask the right questions and probe their vision of how their lives would look if they could achieve everything they wanted and then prioritize their importance. Start with their long-term vision and follow with their mid-range and short-term goals.
When you’ve finished probing them about their goals, you must replay what you heard and confirm your understanding of them with your prospect. This will demonstrate two essentials to your prospect—that they were heard and that what they had to say was important to you. That’s their first opportunity to feel a connection with you and a big step to building trust.
Throughout this initial meeting, make the entire conversation about them. You can assume your prospects already know about you, having Googled your name, reviewed your website, and searched your social media. This is not the time to talk about your technical expertise—that will come out in practice. However, this would be a good time to tell your “Why I’m Here” story, allowing you to emphasize again your commitment to helping clients achieve their goals.
#3. Transition your goals discussion to engagement
If your prospect was an enthusiastic participant in your goals discussion and they reacted positively to your confirmation of your understanding of their goals, they are ready to engage you, but you need to lead them in that conversation as well. I like the way Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, approaches this:
“If we were having this discussion three years from today, and you were to look back over those three years to today, what has to have happened for you to feel happy about this relationship?”
Then shut up and let the prospect talk. They will tell you exactly what it will take to sign them up. Again, you can replay the salient points they made to demonstrate you were listening and understood what they told you. Then offer,
“Mr. Prospect, if you allow us to partner with you, I can assure you our sole focus will be to make that happen for you. How would you like to proceed?”
From that point forward, the attainment of your client’s goals should remain front and center in all subsequent meetings, understanding that they will typically care less about how they get from point A to point B, just that you will help them get there.