Passing the client sniff test

Passing the client sniff test

Passing the client sniff test A leading author and financial planner provides advisors with an interesting, but possibly controversial way to attract new clients.

Forbes contributor Joel Johnson has eight factors he believes all prospective clients should explore when choosing a financial advisor. In the financial services industry for more than 25 years, the Connecticut-based investment advisor believes the advisor search should be a methodical process that incorporates all of these factors and any others an individual deems important.

The sixth factor in Johnson’s search process is “Respected Authority”, the idea that an advisor should be competent and qualified in his or her position. I think most advisors would agree with this simple proposition.

Where things go off the rails ever so slightly is what Johnson says about gauging an advisor’s respected authority.

“Does your advisor have the expertise and the independence to write about subjects that are relevant to you? Do they have a website that includes well-written, thoughtful articles or books (or both) that outline their attitudes, perspectives and viewpoints on the financial matters that are important to you?”

While the push into social media has forced advisors to step up their game when it comes to written communication, the fact that a financial advisor has written one or more books shouldn’t matter a whit to anyone looking for a competent advisor. Warren Buffett’s never written a book yet most would welcome his wisdom and advice.

What truly matters are the satisfied clients presently being served by that advisor. Testimonials from real people who’ve actually benefited financially from an advisor’s advice and actions.

Johnson goes on to suggest an established media presence is a leading indicator that an advisor has a good reputation.

“It is also a plus if that advisor has an established media presence, indicating they’ve earned the media’s trust and respect for the knowledge and advice they can provide,” says Johnson. “Television and radio turn to people in the community who can speak authoritatively on a range of subjects. Has your advisor been the local expert that media turn to?”

Ottawa advisor Kash Pashootan appears regularly on BNN and other media outlets to talk about the markets. He’s very good at it; as a result media outlets are always asking him back. But don’t for a second think that every advisor can or should be spending time on TV or the radio.

Earlier this week we discussed advisors outsourcing their marketing communications to firms specifically set up to handle content creation for the financial services industry. The idea being that advisors focus on what they do best which usually is the nuts and bolts financial planning stuff leaving the written commentaries, etc., to the pros.

Is Johnson’s sixth factor controversial in nature?

Perhaps not.

But it certainly shouldn’t be anywhere near the deciding factor for anyone looking to hire a financial advisor. If you want to put yourself out there, have at it. However, at the end of the day people are counting on you to make them money – not to look good on TV.