6 Things Wealthy Clients Expect of Advisors: IMCA Conference

Advisor services are ‘commoditized,’ but the mold can be broken

Richard Weylman took the stage at IMCA’s annual conference Monday afternoon to talk about creating an exceptional client experience.

Richard WeylmanWeylman (left), of The Weylman Center for Excellence in Practice Management, told the audience that a superior client experience is central to effective wealth management. He focused the interactive presentation on highly effective client communications, understanding the client’s needs and tailoring the wealth management team's approach to fulfill those needs. His central theme was “What do affluent and wealthy clients really want from their financial ‘team?’”

Through his research, he has identified six “must-haves” for an advisor in order to have a successful client relationship:

1) Warmth

There must be chemistry between advisor and client. The client is determining the “presence” you bring to the relationship from the very first meeting.

2) Friendliness

“Well, you might say, ‘of course, anyone would want their advisor to be friendly,’” Weylman said. “It goes far beyond that. They want you to personalize and humanize the experience. If you bring economic security, that’s good. If you bring emotional security, even better. But what they really want you to do is to effectively address their fear, uncertainty and doubt about their future.”

3) Personal interest

Advisors might know their clients hobbies, like playing golf and tennis. But do they know where their clients play golf and tennis? What are their special interests? Does the advisor know about the charitable, cultural or religious organizations to which the client belongs?

4) Undivided attention

Clients do not want an advisor to be all things to all people, Weylman said. They want the advisor’s undivided attention. However, they want the advisor to be able to grow his practice and not be bogged down in day-to-day administrative tasks. Weylman's research shows advisors spend just three hours each week on marketing and new client relationships. Successful advisors typically spend 19 hours a week on such tasks.

5) Responsiveness

Wealthy and affluent clients want 12 contacts per year. The want them to be scheduled contacts, not “ad hoc” contacts.

6) Direction and Guidance

“The cliché in the industry is ‘he who builds the plan owns the plan,’” Weylman said. “I just read it in Registered Rep magazine, probably from a failed advisor that wants you to fail as well. The cliché is plain wrong. He who executes on the plan owns the plan. The client wants you to provide next steps. By providing next steps you elevate the conversation.”

“My research shows 71% of households with $1 million in investible assets are actively looking for sources of new information to help them invest,” he said. “It’s not a great leap to go from looking for sources of new information to looking for a new advisor.”

Weylman then asked the audience to circle the correct answer in his “self-analytic instrument” about the service platform the advisor provides. The choices were:

  • Exceptional or acceptable
  • Structured or spontaneous
  • Personalized or institutionalized
  • Proactive or reactive
  • Definable or debatable
  • Distinct or “just different”

“People will compare you to what they already have,” he added. “By identifying what makes you distinct, rather than different, you immediately remove the comparison from the client’s mind. If you build a distinct practice, you will close the door on client attrition.”

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