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The Future Client

By Ray Sclafani | May 14, 2015

The_Future_ClientAs coaches we always work in partnership with our clients. We are never, so to speak, one step ahead or guiding our client, because we are never thinking for them, only in partnership with them. There are of course times we are afforded (by our neutral perspective) the advantage of foreseeing things that our financial advisor clients might not. One such example of this is: Visualizing the future client and the impact that will have for the future of the business.


As the financial advisor you are likely in the present moment: You’re thinking about acquiring that next new client. But as your coach I am thinking about the impact you’ll have, both from a business and a generational perspective, by acquiring that client. My perspective allows me to envision how you can work in the moment to build the firm that will serve the future client, in addition to your current clients.


This article provides some insight as to how we as coaches partner with financial advisors to ensure they are taking into consideration not only their actions with current clients, but also how those will also impact their future clients.


What got you here won’t get you there: It’s always helpful to be cognizant of the natural course of change in our industry. There are certain trends that determine the actions of consumers. Those that drive our financial planning and investor relationships today are certainly different from what did ten years ago. Of course, this is true for the next ten years as well. We work with financial advisors to try to better understand what might inform these decisions for their ideal clients. We work with clients to see the bigger picture—the trends in the industry—with a different clarity because we aren’t immersed in the day-to-day of running the business and interacting with clients.


The heirs of your clients’ wealth: One of the best places to start the transition of working with a future client is by starting in the circles that already know you and your business. Your current clients have the potential to connect you with those future clients, through their heirs, or the network of their heirs. Honing the communication skills that allow you to suggest that you might be able to help this network without seeming overt is helpful. However, perhaps more helpful is the ability to do your job well enough that this naturally comes up in conversation. This is where the objectivity and accountability of a third party like a coach can help.


Understand how you will serve the future client: Your target market or current niche may have the capacity to inform the future client that you are most suited to serve. Of course, your current team members, succession planning approach, and objectives for the next five years all factor into this assessment as well. As with anything, having a well-defined picture of where your business is now, and where it is going, will help you get a clearer grasp on how you will serve the future client.


The future investor: We can already see how the tendencies of the future investor are changing. They are more involved in the day-to-day of their finances, and perhaps even more conservative as a result of their experiences with the 2008 economic downturn. And of course, there is a certain security for the younger generation in using the Internet to glean information on the market and turning to robo-advisors to plan their investments. It rings of the immediate access and instant gratification that this generation thrives on. That doesn’t make your role as a relationship advisor obsolete, however. While it might change their interaction with you, it can still require your involvement. And it will even more so as you make yourself necessary to their investment and financial planning visions.


The future advisor: Your next generation of investors may want to switch gears from what their parents have done and work with a next generation of advisors. What thought have you given to creating a team that allows for this transition? Are you working towards a succession plan that takes into account the type of advisors your future client will want to partner with? How are you accommodating for and anticipating their needs?


Always be client-wise: Regardless of what else changes between now and when you acquire your future clients, one thing will remain: The necessity to always be client-centered in your financial advisory practice. At ClientWise, our coaches are focused on helping financial advisors fully understand the situations and experiences of their investor clients, often through the same communication practices that they come to understand the advisors themselves. Advisors are then able to mirror these techniques with their investor clients.


Powerful Coaching Questions from this Article:

1. How are you working with your current clients to ensure the presence of your future clients?

2. What are you doing to structure your team now to serve that future client?

3. How are you using a partnership or an accountability structure to keep you accountable not only to your current clients, but your future clients as well?

Topics: Coaching Client Engagement ClientWise

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