To be a successful investment advisor, you need to do more than manage money. You need to be great at managing relationships. While the money part is important, it’s the people part that matters most. Relationships are the lifeblood of an effective investment advisory practice.
Being good with people is what converts prospects to clients and makes clients feel comfortable enough to refer their friends, family and colleagues to you.
Below is a list of five “people things” you can start doing today to become a better financial advisor:
1. Get to Know Your Clients, Prospects and Referral Partners
As an investment advisor, you should be familiar with the “Know Your Customer” rule, designed to protect against money laundering and to ensure the suitability of investments. While this rule only requires you to verify and maintain some pretty basic client information, it should be seen as a call to action. How well do you know your clients? How about your prospects and referral partners?
Lucky for you, it’s easier than ever to develop deep relationships with large numbers of people. If you haven’t done so already, connect with your clients, prospects and referral partners on social networks. When you connect on social media, you’ll have a window into their lives and be invited to their daily conversations. The more you know people, the better you’ll be able to serve them.
2. Stay Top of Mind
Having your clients and prospects in your address book or on your friends list is just the start. For your clients, it’s important that they hear from you regularly. They want to know that you’re tuned in and on top of things. They also want to know that you care about what’s going on in their lives.
As for your prospects, you want to make sure you stay at the top of their consideration set. Not everyone is in the market for your services right now, but eventually many of them will be. When that moment happens, you want them to think of you first.
Having a process for regularly scheduled professional emails and social media posts is one of the most efficient ways to stay top of mind with your network. Automated marketing services, like OutboundEngine, make it easy to do without requiring you to become a digital marketing whiz.
3. Focus on a Niche
Define your customer is the first rule in business. Yet few financial advisors ever take the time to develop a key target market. When asked, most investment advisors will say, “We work with wealthy families,” or “We serve high-net-worth clients.” Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to target prospects based on how much money they have. That’s not the type of information one tends to broadcast to the world.
Focusing on a particular client niche, like tech industry founders and executives or alumni of your alma mater, can have many advantages for your practice.
- It makes it easier to find and connect with prospects.
- You can tailor your marketing message to the specific needs of your target market.
- You’ll be able to serve your clients better because many of them will have things in common.
- BONUS: Serving clients in a specific niche can generate more referrals. People in the tech industry know other techies, and alumni love to help their fellow alumni.
4. Keep It Simple
Break concepts down as much as possible to be certain that all parties understand the issue or process at hand. Your job as a trusted financial advisor is to make sure your client understands the investment strategy you are recommending and feels on track to achieve their goals.
Many advisors make the mistake of attempting to wow their clients with complex charts and deep analysis. While your clients certainly want to feel confident that you know your stuff, they need to understand what you’re recommending and how it’s going to help them succeed. Make it easy for them.
5. Develop a Comforting “Bedside Manner”
Money creates anxiety for many people. Even clients you’ve had for years may feel a bit apprehensive discussing finances at times. Things get particularly challenging when the markets are volatile or there’s a stressful life event happening like a death, health scare, job loss or divorce.
Clients need you most when they’re feeling stressed. If you develop a reputation for being easy to talk to, your clients will stay with you longer, bring in more of their assets and be willing to refer new clients to you.
Integrating these five elements into your practice will pay dividends for years to come. If you need help getting started, let us know. We are happy to help.