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Practice Management > Building Your Business

How an Advisor’s Time Translates Into Value

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Time is money. Everyone who has sat in a taxi stuck in traffic would agree. The meter moves, even when you don’t. Prospects often don’t understand the value of training and experience. Both take time.

Cut to the Chase, Please

Before I lay out my carefully thought-out argument, I’ll recount a great expression I heard a financial advisor use. The prospect laid out their situation. The advisor responded with their solution. The prospect, looking at the fees connected to the product, asked: “I don’t understand why I should be paying you so much. It only took you 15 minutes to give me a solution.”

The advisor remarked: “It took 15 minutes to explain the solution. It took 15 years of experience, working with many people with different problems, to learn the solution to your problem.”

So, What’s the Logic?

To many people, New York City is the center of the universe. Manhattan specifically. According to The New York Times, 65 million people visited NYC in 2018.

Everyone has heard of factory outlets, but the jewel in the crown is warehouse or showroom sample sales. They usually aren’t advertised. They take place in the tri-state area, where the massive warehouses (or designer showrooms) are located. But, if you are in the right place at the right time, you can get stuff you want at maybe as much as 85%-90% off list price.

You attend one of those sales. You get a great deal. You tell a friend. They are upset you didn’t lay out your own money and get one for them, too.

Here’s what they don’t understand. You spent months researching the sales. You drove to the warehouse. You stood in line with 1,000 other people. This might have taken two hours. (FYI: At NYC’s showroom sales, hiring “professional line sitters” to stand in line for you until they get to the front, is not unheard of.)

You fought the crowds. You found the deals. You stood in another long line to pay. You took another long car ride home. You ironed and cleaned your find.

The actual item might have cost 10 cents on the dollar. It’s really desirable. The value was in the research, time spent driving, standing in line, shopping, paying, driving back and cleaning your find. The money you handed over was only a minor part of the shopping expedition.

The friend who said: “Why didn’t you buy me one?” might as well be saying: “My time is valuable. Yours is not.”

Back to Financial Services

You meet with a prospect. You learn about them. Gather data. Develop a financial plan. Select appropriate investments where you have prior experience. Develop a proposal. Present the proposal. Consider the tax consequences. Explain the costs. Ask for the order.

The actual transaction to place the order is a small part of the overall process. Wouldn’t you think the fees from placing the order (and starting the long-term relationship) pay for the previous process?

Will prospects understand the entire process has value? Maybe. Maybe not. Some still don’t get why you didn’t buy them something at the sample sale.

— Check out 10 Mistakes Investors Make Without Advisors on ThinkAdvisor.


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