Every failed meeting with a prospective new client starts with the advisor hearing the prospect describe his or her needs, yet somehow the advisor’s response was inadequate to the occasion.
What is that intangible quality keeping even an articulate and knowledgeable advisor from connecting with a potential client?
For an answer to one of the most common and frustrating advisor challenges, AdvisorOne turned to the veteran financial services marketer Jay Nagdeman, president of Suasion Resources and author of “The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing.”
“The tendency of an advisor is to say, ‘I hear you, now let me tell you what the answer is,’” he said.
So while an advisor and prospect are ostensibly discussing investing and retirement, it is the deeper, beneath-the-surface qualities that really must get communicated, says the Roseland, N.J.-based consultant.
“What advisors tend to think about is how to articulate the products or services that they can offer to their prospect or their client; whereas I’m not sure that is what the prospect or client is really thinking about,” Nagdeman says. “What it all boils down to is the advisor is not selling products and services; they’re selling trust.”
Nagdeman offered three critical ways a financial advisor communicates that intangible quality. “First, the advisor must show that he or she cares about the client and wants them to succeed—and really understands their concerns. Above all what they’re expressing is the care that they have for that client.”
In other words, the advisor should not be trying to sell, and it is not enough to hear what the client or prospect is saying. Rather, the advisor should actively listen, and respond on a human level.
The second critical factor that builds trust is transparency.
“It’s important that advisors really communicate all the information necessary so that the client can evaluate all the options, to make sure the client knows what’s being recommended and why it’s being recommended, and when fees come up, to really discuss all aspects of advisor compensation in a thoroughly forthright manner,” Nagdeman says.