As technology plays an increasingly integral role and regulations continue to tighten, advisors are under more pressure than ever before to prove their value to every single client. Simply analyzing numbers and making suggestions is no longer enough for an advisor to remain competitive or even relevant. In order to excel in the current marketplace, advisors need to be true all-rounders who are able to offer valuable financial advice as well as make meaningful human connections.
“Planners have to understand that they’re not just managing numbers, they’re managing human beings who have feelings, emotions, fears, pessimism, optimism - all of which impact their decisions as consumers and investors,” says leadership and performance expert, Scott Greenberg. “Markets are driven by emotion, so if a financial planner wants to remain relevant and competitive they need to be willing to go to that emotional place with their clients.”
The unfortunate truth is that modern advisors have to prove they have more to offer than a robo-advisor or algorithm. If a client can’t see the value an advisor brings they’re going to find it difficult to justify paying the fee, especially with CRM2 shaking up the cost landscape.
“The market place is just like any type of business: human connection is the number one priority,” Greenberg says. “Financial planners have to provide the services people are paying for whilst also understanding the need to connect human-to-human in order to maintain loyalty and serve clients to the highest degree possible.”
In times of market uncertainty, Greenberg believes advisors must up their game. “Advisors need to use their technical expertise in order to provide emotional support,” he says. “If I’m a consumer and I don’t understand the markets – but I know something is going on that could impact values - I might panic. A planner has to use their technical know-how and understanding of the markets to provide guidance; not just on what to buy and sell, but the timing of that and how to feel. They need to be that objective outside party who can talk emotional investors off of the ledge.”
In order to create these connections and, as a result, build better client relationships, advisors shouldn’t think that they suddenly need to become psychologists or social workers. They simply need to show more awareness around how each of their clients responds in certain situations. “Clients want to walk away from meetings and phone calls with a sense of confidence not just information,” Greenberg says. “In times of uncertainty, planners need to be aware that they’re dealing with a human being and their transactions have some kind of emotional resonance. Even if there are reasons to be concerned, a client should leave a meeting or call with the confidence that they’re in the right hands.”
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