Detroit: Toward the end of dinner a CEO of Broker-Dealer XYZ looked at me and said, “I’m convinced that there is one trait missing from every financial advisor who doesn’t reach their potential in this wonderful business that’s so full of opportunity, and rarely does anyone talk about it – and it’s belief.”
He then shared his definition of belief – “A financial advisor knowing that he or she is playing an important role in the lives of their clients, they are making their clients lives better, providing families a financial roadmap to follow. And they must love the role they play in their client’s lives.”
Wow! Now that was quite profound, especially after a nice glass of Cabernet, or maybe because of it. Regardless, I couldn’t agree more with those sentiments.
As I keep replaying that belief dissertation in my mind, I found myself segmenting the broad concept of belief into three core beliefs financial advisors need to address.
1. Financial Advisor Self – This is similar to the CEO’s dissertation rattling around in my brain, but it goes a step further. Yes, you have to believe in the value you’re delivering to clients, and this goes far beyond the superficiality of the “value proposition” and to the heart of the matter; the role you play in the lives of your clients. However, accompanying this deep-seeded belief in your value is the hard work necessary to deliver on all promises. In essence, you have to be able to believe without proof.
What do I mean? Three things; First, you must believe that you deserve to be the “one” -- that go-to financial advisor of choice amongst the affluent in your community. Second, you must believe that you have the capability. Third, you must truly believe that you are making a difference in the lives of your clients. You know that your clients are much better with you as the steward of their family’s financial affairs.
2. Financial Advisor Clients – Not only is it crucial for to care for your clients, to be an integral part of their lives, but you need to love your clients as though they are a member of your extended family. And in a way, they are – they’re part of your business family. It seems like a lot of lip-service has been given about financial advisors being “client centric” – yet many advisors still focus on their paycheck rather than how to best serve their clients.
Today’s affluent clientele know when a financial advisor is going through the motions. It’s those little things that count; following through on promises, returning phone calls promptly, spending personal time with clients outside the office, all coupled with a Ritz Carlton quality of service that’s delivered with FedEx efficiency by everyone on your team.
3. Financial Advisor Team Members – Elite financial advisors care as much about the members of their team as they do themselves. After all, this is their “business family.” They care about each individual’s personal life and, professional goals. These financial advisors belief in their people is exhibited in a number of ways; delegating important responsibilities, scheduling periodic training (workshops, online training, etc.) for professional development, allowing a degree of flexibility to deal with family issues, and so on.
In return, the belief a financial advisor displays to a team member becomes internalized into a personal belief in the value he or she is playing in the lives of clients.
This is such a powerful concept – the power of belief and how it is transferred from self, to clients, to team members. This level of financial advisor belief guarantees execution – doing whatever it takes.
You gotta believe!
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com