Learning how to be a good financial advisor
is about more than investment returns

Believe it or not, investment results aren’t the only thing prospective clients consider when choosing a financial advisor. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, many investors don’t even ask for proven track records when evaluating advisors, a surprising statistic since numbers are essentially the product an advisement firm sells. But if not numbers, then what criteria determine how to be a good financial advisor?

How to be a good financial advisor: Trust and rapport

The relationship between investor and advisor is no different than any other relationship in that it requires a particular foundation built on more than superficial footing. That’s not to say that an advisor’s numbers aren’t important—they are—but numbers alone don’t always determine where people put their money. No matter the price, you wouldn’t buy a house or a car or an insurance policy if you didn’t trust the salesperson, and that trust has little to do with track records and everything to do with how salespeople conduct themselves.

How do you establish trust? By building rapport through activities and behaviors that demonstrate not only your expertise with investments but also your commitment to your clients as people instead of dollar signs.

lead-managerlead-managerWhen you are ready to turn those potential leads into new customers, schedule a free demo of our lead management software to put it into practice. 

How to be a good financial advisor: Knowledge with integrity

First and foremost, it’s important that a prospective client believes you have the knowledge it takes to handle their investments responsibly. But that knowledge has limits. You can follow trends and world events that will help you predict market behavior and subsequently base your investment decisions on that, but at the end of the day, a prediction is just that—an educated guess.

If you claim to have a brand of knowledge that goes beyond prediction, it may come across to a client as a red flag. Financial advisors are not omniscient, and clients will have more respect for advisors who admit fallibility than those who claim to have mastered the markets beyond the point of reason. Vulnerability shows integrity, and integrity builds character, which in turn creates trust.

How to be a good financial advisor: Pay attention to more than the markets

It goes without saying that a good financial advisor always has a pulse on market activity so he or she can make the best investments on behalf of their clients. But a good advisor also has a pulse on the clients themselves. It’s human nature for people to want to feel cared for and that’s not going to happen if you’re neglecting e-mails, failing to return phone calls, and otherwise treating a client as a number instead of a person.

At the very minimum, meet with your clients once a quarter (more often for heavier investors). In between meetings, check in from time to time, even if it’s only to say hello. If you have trouble keeping track of all your clients, purchase CRM software that will help you to stay on top of each portfolio you manage. The rate of return on happy customers will be well worth the investment.

How to be a good financial advisor: Demonstrate objectivity and independence

One of the reasons many clients start out skeptical is because there have been plenty of financial advisors in the past who’ve served their own interests before the interests of their customers. But being a good financial advisor means managing a client’s wealth the way they want it managed. If that means less risky investments with slightly lower returns, then that’s what you should do. Discuss each investment decision with your clients, empower them to be the ones ultimately making the decisions. Make them the money they’re looking for and you’ll end up with a client for life, and that’s far more valuable than a one-time heavyweight return.

How to be a good financial advisor: Personal touches

Do things for your clients that other advisors don’t do. Take early morning and late night meetings to accommodate busy schedules. Teach them something about the craft of investing. Take them out to a networking event and introduce them to other clients and investors. Do whatever you can to show them that you are more invested in them as people than you are in their portfolios (although the portfolios should be a close second).

lead-managerlead-managerWhen you are ready to turn those potential leads into new customers, schedule a free demo of our lead management software to put it into practice. 

What steps do you take to go above and beyond as a financial advisor? Share your ideas in the comments.