Through many market cycles over the years, I’ve been saying that a good financial advisor is at his or her highest level of refer-ability during times of volatility. Money becomes more topical and many people start to have nagging doubts about the track they are on – both in terms of their current advisor and financial plan. As a result, friends and family members will often confide in and then bare their souls to your clients:
“Are you happy with your financial advisor, because I think I’ve just about had it with mine.”
Capitalize on this growing stage of readiness so that your clients will feel compelled to shine a light on you at that moment of truth. Trigger a moment of recognition and awareness for your value through proper positioning and imprinting.
Getting Out in Front
Call all of your favorite clients. A proactive call can serve as a mid-course correction to prevent them from drifting into a mindset where they fixate on specific products, pricing and performance, back to an enlightened philosophy, panoramic planning strategy and methodical process around financial independence.
From MORF to FORM
Be certain that you also bridge your “how” with their “why”. Transition yourself from the traditional Money, Occupation, Recreation and Family approach. Instead, focus on their Family Investment Legacy, their Occupational pursuit to a work optional lifestyle and their Recreational bucket list. This way, you can keep Money as a means to an end. The more they stay focused on why financial independence matters, the more value they will place on how you get them there - and in the process you will de-commoditize yourself. This is essential to keeping clients focused on what matters and what they can control.
Imprint Your Value
“Just before I let you go, as you can imagine, I’ve been speaking to several clients recently, many of whom have friends and family members who are a bit unsettled and are starting to look to the future with apprehension rather than anticipation. I’m telling you this because I want to remind you that, as a value added service, I will gladly be a sounding board for anyone who is looking for a voice of reason. And keep in mind, they do not need to become a client to take advantage of this service. If they’re important to you, they’re important to me.”
Act on Their Permission
Many clients will thank you for your comment. Others will give you permission to elaborate by saying:
“I wasn’t aware that you did that.”
Tell them WHY you do it – it’s because of your sense of purpose
Tell them WHO you do it for – by defining the person who fits your ideal client profile
Tell them HOW to make an introduction – by demystifying your process
You ultimately aspire to become a client’s personal CFO, ensuring total client engagement over the lifetime of the relationship. You can’t achieve that by solely being their CIO. They need to know you are a CEO who runs the business like a business, creating a solid client experience, and you need to be a CMO with a marketing, branding and communication process that ensures clients understand and appreciate your value and continually focus on what you’re worth rather than what you cost.
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson