by Tony Vidler
Is it time for financial advisers to re-think what they think they know about clients?
Insurance is sold, it isn’t bought, right?
People don’t value advice, right?
I know from personal experience – both as an adviser and a coach working with advisers – that clients WILL pay for advice. But much of what the advisers think is “the magic” they weave and which consumers should pay for is not especially valued by consumers either.
Let’s be honest about it: consumers have never much cared for the financial products themselves. And our process of delivering best practice compliant advice?
Far too many financial advisers (of all specialist areas) fall into the trap of believing that the product or the process is valuable to the consumer when in reality these things are incidental as far as most consumers are concerned. They are a “means to an end” – no more and no less most of the time. They are the painful parts of the business in reality.
As a professional who lives only by selling advice (as I have no “products”) I know for a certainty that people will pay for advice. I know for a certainty that people place a value upon sound advice that helps them achieve the outcome that they desire. They will pay more if it gets them the outcome they desire more quickly, more conveniently or at a lower cost than they believed might otherwise be involved. In other words they will share the value that can be created through good advice with the adviser providing it.
The focus for the adviser therefore must be upon understanding what it is that clients truly value and desire. Understanding the outcome that the consumer really wants and outlinging how you can make that happen for them is the opportunity for fees-for-expertise or project management fees.
Look beyond the standard fact-finding questionnaires and compliant advice processes and really find out what clients want to achieve. It definitely takes longer to find out of course than gathering demographic and financial details, however it is the key to unlocking greater value and stronger professional positioning.
Do it with your top dozen or so clients to begin with: spend the time with them that is necessary to find out what it is that they value. Then spend a bit more time figuring out how your expertise can help deliver the outcome for them. Then put a plan to them, with a value-based cost….when I say “a plan” I really mean put a proposal to them abut what you can and will do that will help them achieve what it is that they really want in a fast, lessy risky and more convenient way.
People will pay for that.
Re-think what you think you know about your clients and get onboard with what they value most, and you will find significant new opportunities in the years ahead to be valued well for what you do best. Be prepared to spend MORE time on the ideal clients and understand them better and they will ultimately be worth a lot more to you than a product sale ever could be, because you will be more valuable to them.