How would you like to be branded as the financial professional of choice in your community? Only an elite few currently are functioning in such a capacity, but you could be one of them!
We probably all know advisors who are part of the elite minority. But the affluent research we completed in June 2004 leads us to believe that many more advisors can increase significantly their affluent market share. In fact, these three statistically significant insights surfaced in our research:
o The affluent need a primary financial advisor to provide solutions for the multidimensional aspects of their financial affairs.
o The affluent are aware of this need for a primary financial advisor.
o High levels of dissatisfaction exist with current financial professionals.
These facts present an ideal environment for affluent prospecting, especially for financial professionals with an insurance background. Why? Who better to serve as a primary financial advisor, with regular out-of-the-office meetings as a must?
This face-to-face game requires highly refined sales skills, patience, persistence and a wide knowledge of financial solutions. From my vantage point, this fits the profile of the high level insurance professional.
As you ponder this advantage, it might help to know that 51% of our June 2004 respondents use a primary financial advisor, but they also reported serious gaps between expectations and performance. What contributes to this dissatisfaction? Our research also helped to shed more light on that issue.
When looking for financial guidance, survey respondents lent the highest credibility to the opinions and suggestions of immediate family and trusted friends. However, if the answer they gave is a qualified, “I have a financial advisor, but…,” the opportunity for that advisor is lost.
Marketing of financial services has become a billion-dollar industry, with many dollars targeting the affluent and raising both awareness and expectations. The result, according to our respondents, is sobering. They said: “The gap between my expectations and the performance of my primary financial advisor is wider than ever.” Too many financial professionals are not congruent with the marketing messages.
In June 2004 The Oechsli Institute commissioned an independent study to determine how the affluent make major purchase decisions. Included were decisions relating to the selection of their financial advisor. Drawing from a sampling across the United States, the survey polled 400 individuals with annual incomes ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million.
The study followed our 2000 research project that surveyed affluent perceptions of financial professionals; and, despite a slightly different focus, a simple and consistent truth emerged. The affluent desperately need competent financial advisors who can integrate and coordinate multidimensional financial needs.
Our research confirms that these advisors remain in short supply. We also uncovered “7 truths” that advisors must address if they expect to excel at attracting, servicing and retaining affluent clients. They include:
o Dissatisfaction is the breeding ground for opportunity. That’s especially true if you know the source of that dissatisfaction. Since dissatisfaction and skepticism are at record highs, the opportunity is also greater than ever!
o Reputation only can be earned one client at a time. Affluent prospects will select a primary financial advisor only when they are convinced that a particular professional can deliver exactly what they need. This is the essence of branding. Eventually they will refer but only after complete satisfaction.
Ask yourself: “If my key clients were talking to a family member, trusted friend or colleague, how would they articulate my value? How would they describe what I do?”
o The best way to attract affluent prospects is to become one with them. Advisors to the affluent must go where the affluent go and become involved in the activities, events and causes that interest them. Select organizations with activities and events that attract wealthy people and provide opportunities to meet new people (at least monthly), and that also have purposes and goals that capture your interest.
The affluent must know an advisor on a personal level and they must like what they see. Each advisor is his or her product and is always on display.