As a financial advisor or planner, it can be challenging to build a strong rapport with clients — especially within the context of our current economic environment. If you feel like your client relationships are struggling, know that you’re not alone.
According to a 2022 report from Insider Intelligence and eMarketer, 77% of US- and Canada-based financial advisors reported losing business because they didn’t have the appropriate tools to interact with clients.
At the same time, this time of uncertainty presents a powerful opportunity to strengthen relationships. After all, financial planning expertise is valuable given the complexity of the financial system.
The good news is that levels of trust in financial services have reached an all-time high, according to the CFA Institute’s 2022 Investor Trust Study. Strong relationships are the foundation of this trust.
Why getting on the same page is so important
It’s understandable that frustrations and anxieties are high these days. Even before the pandemic, burnout was a major concern among financial advisors, with changes in client demographics being a contributing factor to stress. The nature of the business is changing.
“When most advisors first got into the business 20 to 35 years ago, their main focus was on managing investments,” explains a recent article in Financial Advisor Magazine.
“Today, more advisors primarily serve as wealth and life coaches, and many delegate investment management to another internal staff member or department, or outsource it to a third party.”
By establishing a common set of long-term goals and objectives, financial advisors and their customers can focus on working together — which ultimately deepens trust as a result.
The key to finding alignment with clients
One recommendation is to think of your role as a teacher who is sharing wisdom. As an example, Autumn K. Campbell, one of Investopedia’s Top 100 Financial Advisors from 2019-2022, credits her investment approach to her time as a teacher.
“Autumn brings her love for education to financial planning,” her biography states. “She has a passion for helping others to make confident, informed decisions to live their lives in alignment with their values.”
So how does this idea translate into tactical action items?
It’s about foundation-building
Strong relationships begin with the first point of communication. As an example, Mark Silverman of Silverman + Associates LLC guides new clients through a structured exercise at the very beginning of their partnership.
“We’ve implemented a methodology from Money Quotient, which provides tools for analyzing the emotional side of money,” says SIlverman in an interview with CircleBlack. “We’re not just using data and building financial plans — we’re looking at everyone holistically. The tools give me a feel for how they want their life to look.”
Glen Eagle Advisory takes a similar approach in establishing long-term life goals early on in the relationship. The firm continues to revisit these goals with clients over time, throughout the duration of working together.
With this approach, advisors can establish more constructive conversational dynamics with their clients and work towards shared outcomes as a result.
One of the most challenging constraints you’ll need to navigate is time management. The demand for financial planning services is higher than the availability of advisors. Communication isn’t about face time or even phone time. It’s about establishing the right channels to deliver value to your clients in the right way.
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Learn more about CircleBlack
CircleBlack is an all in one management platform for the wealth management industry. You can think of it as an operational dashboard to better connect financial advisors and their clients around a shared perspective. The outcome is better collaboration and communication for relationship-focused advisors.
To learn how our software can help you build, manage, and grow your wealth management practice, get in touch.
This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.