The financial services industry has made a lot of progress since the days of 2008 when a dark cloud hung over the reputation of a business that, at its true core, was really trying to help clients improve their relationships with money. While this feeling has shifted over the past 6 years, and financial professionals are seen in an increasingly positive light, there is still incredible opportunity to raise the awareness of the general population regarding how much financial advisors bring to the table.
Financial advisors are increasingly becoming true partners in the eyes of investors. The most dedicated ones are not “stock jockeys” at all, but rather crucial components to a healthy and productive financial life. ClientWise has made it its mission to not only help advisors better their businesses through proven practice management and sustainability techniques, but to increase their impact and image within the industry, by continually striving to improve how they’re perceived in the minds of investors.
Reframing themselves: In working with financial professionals, ClientWise addresses client perception and client engagement, and breaks down the ways in which advisors are pigeonholed by previous conceptions of their practice and misguided assumptions about the financial services industry overall. It highlights crucial questions financial professionals should be asking clients and maps out specific next steps for client engagement based on assessments, what is working well, areas for change or improvement, resources required, and people involved.
Understanding the unique value they provide: We believe that every advisor, because of her background, her passion, her professional experience, etc. is uniquely suited to serve a specific kind of investor. While we never pigeonhole our clients, we do encourage them to discover what it is about them that makes them a certain fit for a specific type of client. Honing in on a niche not only helps these advisors streamline their approach (in everything from client acquisition and client engagement to marketing and operations) it also helps them become expert in serving a specific niche.
Creating true connections: By honing in on their unique value set, advisors are much more likely to provide the type of care investors need, and not just on a financial level. These advisors who really become expert in serving a specific niche have the opportunity to go way deeper than the surface level of providing basic advice on a strictly financial level. This not only benefits the individual relationship between advisor and client, it reinforces the more comprehensive, planning-based approach that many advisors are practicing today, which really delves deeper into the relationship between the investor and their money, and sets a precedent for others to do the same. Each advisors target markets are guaranteed to get the best care from that advisor, which reflects well on the service provided by advisors, and improves the image of the care provided by the industry overall.
Understanding the true value of communication: While many advisors have no trouble talking to a room, or understanding the importance of communication when it comes to their clients, many have never actually been formally trained in the skills of active listening and powerful questioning, some of the very same techniques our executive coaches at ClientWise use to better understand the financial professionals with whom they work. These skills are critical especially when it comes to understanding, and having open conversations about, people’s relationship with something as personal as their money.
Perfecting their process: We believe that while each client/advisor interaction is, and should be treated as, unique, that a certain standard approach should be taken across the board. Being formulaic about a process is very different than being formulaic about a relationship. Creating processes around client acquisition and client engagement will not only help you be more organized in your practice, it will also give your clients a sense of what to expect and provide reassurance as a result.
Raising the expectations of investors: The hope is that, as the tendency for advisors to reframe themselves, understand the value they provide, and create true connections through improved communication and standard processes increases, this will come to be what investors expect from the industry. In turn, those advisors who aren’t fulfilling that level of commitment to their clients will be inclined to adjust their ways to meet the expectation of the marketplace.
Focusing on sustainability: ClientWise is also committed to helping advisors keep this vision growing into the future. Our increasing focus on team building and sustainability with our clients ensures that this vision will be maintained as younger generations of professionals move into leadership roles. Tactics such as co-creating and co-authoring, and developing Total Team Leadership™, are intended to maintain this client-centered focus throughout all generations of financial professionals.
The true goal behind establishing these practices is the hope that they will continually build on themselves: First impacting each advisors’ individual practices, and eventually the industry overall. At ClientWise, we see ourselves as a catalyst in this process.