At our recent Advisor Symposium, nationally recognized speaker Maria Quinn from Vanguard Financial Advisor Services shared her best tips for talking to clients and breaking some conscious and unconscious habits. She laid out Vanguard’s three Ps of good advisor behaviors – Planning, Proactivity and Positivity. While the future is uncertain for everyone, it’s the way that clients and advisors deal with uncertainty that leads to mutually beneficial outcomes. These are ideas you can use with your clients not only in difficult and volatile times, but in everyday interactions:
1. Acknowledge your clients story and fears
Clients are human, just like you and want to be seen and heard. Storytelling is an important part of being an advisor, but just as important is listening to the stories of your client. The advice and solutions will come, but first, just listen.
2. Be humble – Admit your mistakes
Building trust is important; you are human, acknowledge it. That doesn’t mean give the client a laundry list of your failures, but rather frame your past mistakes as a tool for learning. So you bought Amazon in 1997, but then sold it in 2001 – it’s ok. You reexamined your buy/hold strategy and have committed to it since then. Those are the kind of stories that resonate with clients and build trust.
3. Empowerment – Be an advocate for your clients
Walk your clients through their goals and values. Make sure they are clear, defined and in a written financial plan—an invaluable tool for asset management as well as relationship management. The planning process creates the opportunity to explore emotional motives behind a client’s goal prioritization. Empower them to know that you are a trusted advisor and together, you will meet their goals.
4. Be proactive – Return calls and emails in a timely manner!
This one goes without saying but bears repeating. Repeated surveys have shown that the number one reason clients fire advisors is because they didn’t return their calls in a timely manner. You don’t have to have all the answers in order to call them back; just call and reassure them that you will find the answers or the solutions they need.
5. Goals change – Graph your clients’ goals every time your meet
It’s important to show your client the steps you have taken together to meet their goals and expectations. Graph their college savings goals or their savings for a home and show them how far they have come. Keep their eyes on their particular prize. Being an advisor isn’t just about performance numbers; it’s about the journey you take with your clients.
6. Reframing the performance review
It’s all about their goals. Are they closer to retirement or paying for their grandchildren’s education? Keep those in mind every time you schedule a review. Reframing the meeting as a progress review gets to the heart of what matters most to the clients.
7. What’s important to your client?
Revisit your clients’ goals on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis, whatever you think is appropriate. The headlines of clients’ lives should motivate changes to investments; not the headlines in the news.
For the entire report on the 3 Ps, download The Vanguard Advisor’s Alpha® guide to proactive behavioral coaching.
For more information about Beacon portfolios or the many educational resources we have available for you and your clients, contact your wholesaler today!