Investors select their financial advisor for a variety of reasons. Rarely does a single advisor attribute land new clients. Advisors need to consider multiple needs and demands of prospective clients in order to present the most appealing service model that will get an investor to come aboard.
All of the advisor traits and investor desires are considered in Spectrem’s new study Preferred Sales Approach: Capturing the Wealthy Investor.
“The topic of attracting new clients requires both a broad and a specific approach,’’ said Spectrem President George H. Walper Jr. “Investors examine many details of the services an advisor can provide as well as the fees involved in providing those services, but they also judge advisors on a broader list of attributes which may ultimately decide which advisor they choose.”
From a service and product standpoint, many advisors and providers offer similar packages, and differentiation comes from outside the menu of services offered.
The study asked investors the simple question “How would a potential advisor best gain your business?” and the most popular response (55 percent) was also probably the one most difficult to define: “Get me to trust them”.
That’s a fair request from investors and a fair demand upon advisors, but it is difficult to define. Of course investors want to be able to trust their advisor, and advisors want their clients to trust them. But how can an advisor build trust before a relationship begins?
When it comes to relationships built upon financial matters, trust is best achieved by direct responses to investor inquiries. There should be no wiggle room in terms of services provided, and advisors need to be able to speak specifically to their expertise regarding those services. Trust can also be established by being fully attentive to the prospective client rather than have their attention diverted by other responsibilities.
Some investors are also going to make decisions based upon first impressions, which again makes attentiveness and people skills vital to obtaining new clients. Complete and considerate responses are more likely to build trust than a nod of the head.
Forty-six percent of investors said an advisor must “have expertise in topics I do not” as a way to complete the sale and establish a business relationship. Advisors must be able to determine what investment topics fit the bill as one in which prospective clients have an interest and also have little knowledge about. This response is a call for help; investors want to know their inexperience and lack of knowledge will be covered by an advisor who understands that topic completely and knows how to alleviate investor concerns that they are making the best decisions in an area unfamiliar to them.
Forty percent of investors said a key selling point would be for an advisor to offer a service or services that the investor does not think he or she can receive elsewhere. This may be call for a long laundry list of services that goes beyond the service offerings of other providers, or it might be a specific service that is unique to your firm’s list of services offered or is packaged in a unique way to lower the cost of services to clients.
The goal for advisors who are selling their services to prospective clients is to find ways to differentiate themselves from others in the field. Understanding how investors conduct their search for advisors, how they react to initial contact, and how they make the ultimate decision will lead advisors to greater success and less wasted time searching for a new client.
Keywords: communication, selling, sales, investors, advisors, Spectrem, gender