Financial advisors generally get into the industry because they want to help people. How did you go about choosing your career path? Our reasons from planner-to-planner may vary wildly, but the majority of us have a shared wish in common…and that is to ensure the prosperity of our fellow human beings.
Perhaps some of us came to the idea because it ran in the family & we saw first-hand effects of our dad or mom’s work in someone else’s life. Perhaps we came on hard times ourselves and wanted to never feel that way again & to help others never experience it either. Perhaps we just love finance & this was a natural fit for our personalities.
Regardless of the reason, we can all agree that it isn’t an easy career choice and it comes with a lot of struggle, especially if you’re a wide-eyed graduate. The industry can make it hard to keep the ideology alive, and the reputation our career path has developed in some parts of the world is sometimes less than lovely.
Some of the challenges may not go away for a long time. New ones are bound to pop up in the changing landscape. But it’s our job as fiduciaries to always do the right thing for our client & never let the challenges we face hinder the relationship and experience we’re trying to build with them. It’s so hard to demonstrate to people that you both want to do well & will do well, so having process & systems in place will ensure you demonstrate that despite challenges that arise, and trust us, it makes a huge difference.
We’re from upstate New York, and there’s a locally-born grocery chain that continuously wins top customer and workplace awards (horray, Wegman’s!). Upon walking into one, it may just look like a grocery store. But once you’re inside and mosey throughout the isles and interact with the staff, you’ll notice something is different. The mood is palpable and it’s the same in almost every single store you enter. It’s been said that there’s a difference between service & experience, and that’s the truth.
Providing an experience that is unique to your brand is what gives you a competitive edge. Service is meeting a need. Experience is how your clients feel about it. When it comes to our beloved grocery chain as an example, experience is interacting with a genuinely sweet cashier who has her crisp branded uniform shirt covered in details that makes her unique personality shine. Experience is having a staff member walk you to your car if you feel unsafe. Experience is the feeling of community that comes from the people who genuinely care about your time in the store.
As an advisor, your duty is to make your clients feel secure in their financial choices. It’s our job to educate them, not to sell to them. Selling is a simple service anyone can do. Educating them must be part of your experience. How you choose to do it is up to you and your personality.
In fact, John says sometimes you might overall lose a bit of money because you’re spending effort doing something that must be done. But it’s always worth it if it’s in the best interest of your client. Talk is cheap. Effort is not. The most straight-forward way to show a client that you’re genuinely interested in them and their financial well-being is putting in the effort. If the by-product of your effort is profitable – GREAT!
The profit part is the bonus. But even if you end up losing money, understand that the effort you put in and illustrated to your client will often be returned to you, sometimes ten-fold, because they’ll understand how much it took out of you to do the right thing by them. Sometimes, it may come around in new introductions or other new opportunities because they were so impressed by your care. The bottom line is that we have to put the best interest of our clients first – always before ours.
Our tasks only feel hard when they become mundane. While doing the right thing does take effort, it doesn’t have to be tedious. Having systems and workflows in place to remove the minutia that weighs us down during the job. It’s easier to focus on the best interest of our clients holistically when those details are taken care of by a well-developed system. You don’t have to work 16 hour days just to take care of your clients.
Yes, you became a financial advisor because you want to help people. But part of you wanted to do it because you want to be free. You want to have the freedom to manage your own time the way you want to. You want to have the freedom to call your own shots. You want the freedom to work as many or as little days as you wish. Maybe you even want the freedom to go out completely on your own. Whatever your end-goal is for your business, developing a unique client experience that both excels and is memorable will be the cornerstone for the freedom you want for your career.
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