What is the No. 1 Attraction for Prospective Clients?

4/1/2020

What attracted you to the financial advisor with whom you currently work? 

If you are in search mode for a new financial advisor, what trait would get that advisor into the door to pitch you on his or her services? 

One might think proven knowledge about the investment environment, including proof of performance in stock market investments and a detailed description of service offerings (with costs attached), would be the top selling point for all investors. While such expertise does in fact lead the league in attracting new clients, it is not the only aspect of an advisor’s representation which is the most appealing trait. 

Spectrem’s study on successful sales techniques – Preferred Sales Approach: Capturing The Wealthy Investor – asked investors to detail the maneuvers taken by advisors that they feel would be the most successful way to attract new business. The study also asks investors to describe the personal traits as well as the sales traits they appreciate in advisors, and those they dislike or disregard entirely.   

The investors were asked to name the No. 1 aspect for choosing a new financial advisor and expertise was the most popular choice. However, only 37 percent of investors responded with that answer, meaning almost two-thirds of all investors said there was another most important aspect of an advisor’s initial sales pitch. 

Expertise can be displayed through experience and credentials. Not all investors are impressed with credentials, but an advisor can provide information on their experience to demonstrate their knowledge and past successes in the areas an investor has the greatest interest in.  

The second-most popular response, selected by 25 percent of investors, was that the advisor should be ethical. Again, it is difficult for an advisor to exhibit this trait in an initial meeting. Perspective clients will judge an advisor on impressions, and investors who are concerned about the ethics of the advisor will be judged by the words an advisor speaks. “Transparency’’ is a very active buzzword these days, but investors are looking for as much specific information as they can get that would indicate ethical behavior and intentions from an advisor. 

Between those two choices, almost two-thirds of all investors are represented. The remaining one-third-plus of investors scatter their answers between several other choices, including “being accountable” (9 percent), “being well-organized” (8 percent) and “follow-through” (6 percent). Those investors looking for “follow-through’’ obviously want to be wooed beyond the initial meeting. 

With that in mind, the Spectrem study also asks how often and how frequently an investor wants to be bothered with a sales call. How do you feel about that? If you turn down an advisor in January, do you want to hear again from him or her in June? Should advisors learn to take “no’’ for an answer? 

Other choices selected by investors for the No. 1 aspect of an advisor’s presentation included “being punctual”, “consistency”, “confidence”, “politeness” and “appearance”. 

Searching for an advisor is different for those who already have one they are not happy with versus those who are looking for their first advisor. Many investors have multiple advisors with whom they work. Advisors who are pitching themselves are just doing what is necessary to be successful, and for them to be successful, they must do what they can to make you successful. 

So, a sales pitch from an advisor should not be considered an intrusion as much as an opportunity for investors.