There’s no denying it: the financial landscape is changing day by day. These changes make it all the more difficult for clients looking to understand how to pick a financial advisor. Everyday, cash flow, retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, protection planning,and college prices, – among other factors – fluctuate. Many people choose to work with a financial advisor to navigate this complicated landscape.
It’s always been important for financial advisors to provide value to their clients. One of the most exciting decisions of a client’s life will be to decide who becomes their financial professional. When it comes down to how to pick a financial advisor, clients want to engage with someone they can trust – and someone that will act in their best interests.
What’s going to help build that trusted, long-standing relationship with you and your clients? It’s not as simple as it may seem. Clients want to be able to count on your expertise, learn from your skills, and understand your perspective.
The following are some of the best ways to become a trusted financial advisor and gain your clients’ trust.
How to become a trusted financial advisor
Be transparent with clients
You hear it all the time: honesty is the best policy. But are you truly implementing this in your financial practices? Being a trusted financial advisor comes down to conviction – and for many people, one of the key foundations of trust is honesty.
How does honesty work? Well, trusted financial advisors will often explain exactly what they do – and how they do it – to prospective and current clients. You can never be too thorough when you explain your practice to your clients, especially because they often come from a different background.
Trusted financial advisors should also plan to explain their methods and their day-to-day activities. How often will you actively work on your client’s portfolio? How often will you check in? Being up front about these activities will help you build confidence and rapport.
Be sure to explain your services in depth, too. Most financial advisors will provide services such as:
- Investment Advice
- Debt Management
- Saving for College
- Retirement Planning
- Estate Planning
- Long-Term Healthcare Insurance
- Tax Planning
But do your clients really understand what all of these entail? That is why it is so important to explain exactly what you mean when you say you offer “budgeting” services or “estate planning” services. Your services may include deeper knowledge and support than your competitors, giving you a leg up over the competition. The more open and accessible you are the more likely prospective clients are to understand – and truly connect with – your approach.
Fulfill the emotional needs of your client
Client trust is multifaceted and complex. But ask any client or financial advisor, and they will agree: client trust is key to a successful financial advisor relationship.
What makes a client trust their financial advisor? One study found that clients are more likely to trust their advisors if they feel like their functional, emotional and ethical needs are met. More specifically, this research found that clients will trust an advisor who follows through on their to-do list, acts in their client’s best interests, and makes decisions that helps their clients sleep better at night knowing everything is under control. Providing that safety net is key.
Moreover, the road to trust starts early. From the first phone call or email with you, potential clients will already start assessing whether you’re trustworthy material. Returning emails in a timely manner will help in starting off the relationship on the right foot,
So how can you build trust? It all starts with dedicating time and attention to them, so that it becomes clear that they are a priority. “The best financial advice I can give to someone who’s overwhelmed with their finances is “ask for help!,” David Angway says.
Client trust can pay, too. As every financial advisor knows, referrals are important for growing your client base. In fact, most clients have found their current advisors through a referral from a trusted source. Clients will be much more likely to refer you to a friend if you’ve made it clear that you value the relationship and are committed to helping them reach their goals in a transparent and honest fashion.
Listen to the client – and understand their goals
As we just discussed, relationships with clients are crucial. They’re the foundation of your business! That’s why communication is absolutely key to building and maintaining client trust.
It’s important that you check in with your clients on a regular basis. Ask them questions like, “does this make sense to you?” or “Would you like me to explain anything further?” These types of questions facilitate collaboration. Getting confirmation from clients indicating they are comfortable to proceed will also help develop trust – your clients know you won’t move forward without their thoughts on the process. Learning about their personal lives and future goals will further help in creating a financial plan that aligns with them.
Keep things simple
There’s nothing more important than ensuring your clients are on the same page as you.
How can you keep things simple? How can you explain everything? Well, first off, start with explaining what you do as a trusted financial advisor. Clients want to feel like they understand you, your mission, and your pricing structure. Sharing this information, as well as your own educational and employment background and your values, helps clients feel comfortable with you – and understand what to expect from you.
Explaining your fee structure is a great place to start for many potential clients, because money remains a common concern. Is your practice fee-based or is your business structure based on commission? No matter your chosen fee structure, it’s crucial to be transparent and spend time explaining this element of your work – both so your clients understand the pricing and so they can be confident engaging with your services. Keeping things simple brings comfort and builds trust.
Commit to ongoing education and training
Being a trusted financial advisor is more than just working with clients. Education and training for both you and your clients plays a big role in how much your clients value your opinion and expertise.
How can you further your own education? You should always strive to improve your techniques and your practices to better help your clients. Consider shadowing top financial advisors or simply sitting down and having a conversation with them. You would be surprised how much you can learn from your peers.
In addition, look into financial advisor training programs and certifications. You can learn valuable skills like analytical thinking, people skills, sales skills, and more. Your ability to explain financial terms to a layman is an important part of developing trust with your clients.
Earning trust in both personal and professional settings can be difficult, especially if your clients have had bad experiences with financial advisors in the past. Following these guidelines can help build a strong, trusted relationship between you and your clients.
Are you a financial advisor committed to building trust and lasting relationships with your current and future clients? Are you interested in partnering with a firm who values trust, collaboration and long term growth? Click here to start the conversation!
Approval Code & Disclaimer
For Educational Purposes Only. Not to be relied upon as financial, tax, or legal advice. The views expressed are those of the author/presenter and all data is derived from sources believed to be reliable.
Securities and investment advisory services offered through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC (HTK), Registered Investment Adviser, Member FINRA/SIPC, 600 Dresher Rd., Horsham, PA 19044, USA. 800-873-7637, www.htk.com HTK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Empire Wealth Strategies is unaffiliated with HTK. HTK does not provide legal and tax advice.