In today’s competitive environment, it is critical to benchmark yourself against the opposition. Is your behavior in line with some of the most successful practices? In a JPMorgan-conducted study of 300 advisors with average assets under management of more than $250 million, we found four common behaviors that are critical to success. These top advisors:
- Take an integrated approach to meet their clients’ financial needs
- Develop deep and personal client relationships through a client segmentation system
- Have consistent and meaningful client contact
- Implement a proactive system for receiving referrals
According to the JPMorgan survey, 86% of top advisors integrate a variety of solutions for their clients as part of a comprehensive, holistic approach. They want their clients to see them as solution providers, not simply product implementers.
Top advisors can articulate a variety of wealth management solutions in each of these areas: wealth enhancement, wealth transfer, asset protection, and charitable planning. Furthermore, they develop strong networks–internally and externally–to leverage the expertise of other professionals, so they can further counsel their clients and be the center of their clients’ integrated financial planning needs. By definition, wealth managers have to be experts at what they do. Clients want to learn from, as well as do business with, experts.
You may wonder if it’s possible to be a true expert in all the wealth management issues that your clients face. The answer is, most likely, no. What you can do is identify issues, discuss possible solutions at a high level, and, most importantly, know when to add other experts to your team.
Building a team has become a necessity as client needs have become more complex. The financial services industry has become more complicated and moves too quickly for any one person to master all of the tasks and issues necessary to grow and maintain a successful wealth management practice.
To form your team, think about what resources are needed, your strengths and weaknesses, your clients’ personalities, and who would work well with them.
Top wealth managers must connect with their clients beyond establishing an investment strategy or executing a financial plan. According to research by Spectrem, clients want a relationship with an advisor who understands them and cares about their financial goals and personal preferences. To progress toward this knowledge, start by segmenting your clients.
According to the JPMorgan survey, more than half of top advisors segment their clients into groups with similar characteristics. Of those advisors, 47% segment clients by values, behaviors, aspirations, and communication styles.
Always keep in mind that clients are not looking to purchase products, but rather, what the product reflects. Are clients looking to purchase performance, or something more emotional–such as security, or financial independence–and the freedom to do what they want, whenever they choose?
Keep in Touch
Top advisors maintain strong relationships through clear communication and consistent contact. An advisor should know how each client communicates and processes information. In our survey, 67% of top advisors said that they conduct in-person meetings. In preparing for these meetings, they consider the approaches that will result in positive client behavior.