Advisors Are Taking

A More Consultative Approach

With all the uncertainty around the estate tax issue and the continued turbulence in the stock market, Guy Baker, managing director of BMI Consulting in Newport Beach, Calif., feels that this environment is ideal for taking a consultative approach when working with clients.

“When theres turmoil and fear, people want to understand their options and evaluate what theyre doing.”

Rather than focus on what may be an issue for a prospect one day, agents should take a broader approach. “If my approach is to show them how to save on their estate taxes, and then its not an issue, then Im dead,” Baker explains.

By taking a more consultative approach, he feels he is in a better position to help his clients evaluate more than just one issue.

Charles Brewster, a fee-based planner from Osterville, Mass., adds that by taking this type of approach agents have the opportunity to build a more valuable relationship with their clients.

“The public is looking for an advisor to hold their hand,” he says. Brewster meets with his clients every quarter and updates them on their accounts, their protection, and addresses any concerns they may have. By keeping his clients informed, he says he minimizes any panicking that may occur due to the stock markets volatility.

“Certainly theyre afraid, and the numbers look bad, but today I had an appointment with someone who had a 4% gain since our last meeting and they were pleased.”

Brewster notes that the people who panicked when the markets stumbled were the ones who didnt have a relationship with someone who could explain what was going on.

–Barry Higgins


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, December 30, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.