When Dave and Susan visited our office for the first time, they had no idea they’d be receiving exactly what they want, and paying handsomely for it. What they wanted from me was a plan for their future.
They didn’t want a sales pitch or a product endorsement; they can get that anywhere. What they desired was clarity about how to integrate all of their assets and income streams, benefits, and insurance policies. They desired to know, without a doubt, how much they would receive from which account and for how long.
As the advisory business matures, and policymakers have their way, those who hold themselves as financial advisors better be ready to actually advise.
Gone will be the days of dinner seminars, big commissions and product-centric reps. This new era of planning will usher in, well…real planning. And even if I’m wrong about this, there’s real value in pretending I’m right.
The real value to you is to assume that the only advisors remaining in business down the road are those who build comprehensive financial plans for their clients, and charge a fair fee for those plans.
While everything has not yet changed in our industry, your end-of-year planning will certainly benefit from acting as if it has. By that, I mean you should find a way to retool your advisory practice to incorporate financial planning fees, paid by people who desperately want a real financial plan. You should reconsider your marketing, messaging and client experience.
Let me admit I wasn’t always courageous enough to charge financial planning fees. In fact, the thought of losing a potential client because they’d resist paying a fee was almost enough to send me into a panic.
In spite of that, we retooled our process, and I found the courage to charge a client for the comprehensive advice I was able to offer. Can you guess what happened next? They said, “Yes.” We built a custom financial plan for this couple and they were delighted by the process, choosing to become clients immediately after receiving their plan. Since then, I haven’t looked back. As all advisors struggle to differentiate themselves from others in a crowded marketplace, one way to do that is to simply be better at the very thing that clients want most. When I ask our prospects what that very thing is, the common response is: “We want a plan for our retirement.”