Baseball season is finally upon us. As many of us spend time at the ballpark or enjoy a game at home with our family and friends, we also can learn much about the way we approach the affluent market with our financial services.

Think about the pitcher on the mound. He looks to the catcher, manager and pitching coach for help in developing a winning strategy. And he knows that, during the game, he may need to let a teammate with different strengths take his spot on the mound to help win the game.

How many times have you stepped in front of a client and not only leveraged the guidance you’ve received from a manager but also asked another expert to help when you see financial needs that require the skills of a lawyer or another advanced markets professional?

Today’s financial services professional is confronted with myriad financial products and services, expertise, and specialties, not to mention an evolving client base that is more educated about his/her financial landscape. As baby boomers focus more on ensuring their retirement savings last for their lifetimes, we must position ourselves to provide the solutions they require.

These are some of the reasons why mentoring and teamwork are essential to building professionalism and relationships in financial services. In short, we need to recognize when it’s time to acknowledge the value of a seasoned veteran.

The mentor and the team

In today’s complex financial environment, the role of the mentor has evolved through the team-selling approach. The financial planner has a team of in-house financial and legal experts who can provide client support and professional guidance.

In the affluent market, financial planning solutions such as qualified, estate and business succession plans involve complexities that require not only a financial planner’s skills and professionalism but also an understanding of certain legal issues. So, a financial planner must not only build his or her own expertise and experience but also have a strong support base to ensure the quality of advice.

Batter up: the effect of team selling

What is the advantage of working with a back-office advanced markets team on upscale accounts? In the end, the answer is clear: to provide clients with the most comprehensive picture of their financial futures and an understanding of how to address their needs and goals.

To that end, the relationship between a financial planner and his/her back-office advanced markets team is significant. A financial plan must address several issues that may need the advice and strategy of a highly experienced advanced markets support organization. Working with such a team would enable you to give clients that comprehensive outlook that a financial planner should give. You should leverage all of your resources to obtain the best information to share with your clients.

The key to financial planning for upscale market clients involves addressing “advanced planning,” both from a financial and legal perspective. Some of the proposed solutions to these needs involve the use of life insurance, such as a whole life policy, or other financial services vehicles.

The seamless integration of a financial planner, an internal advanced markets support team and the product-related sales force ensures that resources are leveraged to provide a comprehensive financial plan. This approach also provides an internal system of checks and balances, ensuring consistency throughout the financial planning process.

For example, let’s say a small business owner is concerned with his retirement and seeks financial advice and guidance on how to initiate a strategy. After reviewing details with his client, the planner realizes that his client’s retirement plan must take into account a family business succession situation.

The planner’s back-office support can ensure that appropriate recommendations are based upon a thorough understanding of the legal issues involved in the succession. The team could then work with a case designer to ensure that a common message and approach to family business succession planning is integrated into the comprehensive plan.

Prior to plan delivery, the financial planner and his/her internal support base should then consolidate recommendations to convey unified and clear messages. This may also lead to follow-up implementation steps that a planner can suggest to the client. The planner thus has the benefit of consultation with professionals who are most knowledgeable on the estate and business planning issues to be presented.

Creating a winning situation

Team selling leverages expertise across disciplines to offer clients the most comprehensive financial solution. This integrated approach enables you, the planner, to expand into advanced markets with the guidance and assistance of professionals who can complement your team, give you more experience in the marketplace and will most likely lead to more than one home run for your practice.