Ever notice how people want to get as much as they possibly can? If not, you need to visit more buffet restaurants. Advisors struggle with cross selling and share of wallet. Suppose you transformed the range of products and services you offer as entitlements included in the relationship? What a great way to demonstrate your value!
Let’s talk about entitlements. The Miriam Webster dictionary offers the definition “a belief that one is deserving or entitled to certain privileges.” Two weeks paid vacation is a good example. We talk about product features and benefits. Some clients just don’t get it. Your compliance department won’t want you committing the firm by making promises, but if a client does business with you, they should have expectations.
20 Sensible Expectations (If We Do Business Together)
Let’s assume to work for a large firm owned or connected to a bank. We’ve all heard the expression: “We bring the resources of the firm into your living room.” Let’s see what someone who becomes your client should be looking forward to receiving.
1. A human on the phone when you call. You answer your own phone or the call rolls to your assistant or shared coverage. If you or your assistant answers, it’s a friendly voice who knows them. No telephone trees.
Value: Has your power or cable service ever gone out? What’s the experience like when you call the company to report the outage?
2. Dynamic financial plan. It adapts to your changing needs. This is not a document set in stone. You might decide to retire early or start a business. The plan is a working document.
Why: Sometimes “plans” are merely a vehicle to sell the product on offer. This looks at the big picture.
3. Conduct periodic reviews. Investing isn’t “set it and forget it.” It’s like crossing an ocean. Sometimes storms come up. You need to change course. You will sit down with your client regularly and show them how they are doing. This might be vs. the market indexes. It might also be towards their own goals.
Why: You are providing a report card. Clients like report cards.
4. Provide pricing transparency. There are direct and indirect costs. You will explain what they are paying, but also “How we make money.”
Why: Many people confuse “no load” with “paying nothing.” You are upfront about fees.
5. Help planning your retirement. This is often a client’s greatest concern. Will I outlive my money? This is one of the practical ways your financial plan adds value. It analyses your situation, presents options going forward and “what if” scenarios.
Why: It’s a scary issue for most people. You help make it less scary.
6. Help preparing for your children’s college educations. Setting up savings vehicles early not only allows more time for the money to grow, it also establishes a ring fenced account where grandparents, aunts and uncles can direct funds to “help with Junior’s college education.”
Why: Relatives often make lofty promises of “We’ll help,” deliverable in the distant future. You will have a way they can help now.
7. Help keeping inheritances intact. When you die, you don’t want the government as a silent partner. Although other professionals will be involved, you can help determine if there is an estate tax problem looming and outline ways to address the issue.
Why: Most people want the government to keep its hands off their money, especially once they are dead.
8. Planning charitable giving. Many Americans give generously to worthy causes. Most people thing of charitable giving as “money in the collection plate.” There are other smart ways to give. Donating appreciated securities is a good example.
Why: People want their money to stretch as far as possible.
9. Assisting parents with their money. You may have “all your client’s money” but they may advise others. Their parents may supplement their fixed incomes with interest earned on CDs. You might suggest other alternatives consistent with their desire for safety of principal.
Why: Their parents might need help, but your client doesn’t know where to turn.
10. Does a friend need help? They may know someone who had a bad experience investing on their own. Maybe they don’t have a good relationship with their advisor. You will talk with them and help them if you can. Its referrals, expressed differently.
Why: Working with you provides the client with a resource to help others.
11. The relative who is hopeless with money. This is your “pro bono” work. If they know someone who doesn’t qualify as a client, you will still sit down, learn about them and provide general advice, as a favor to your client.
Why: They would want to help them personally, but don’t know how.
12. Should they refinance their mortgage? Rates have started to rise. These things are often cyclical. Who knows when they will go down again? You can help your client determine if refinancing is in their best interest. You might be able to arrange the mortgage through your parent company, the bank.
Why: Most people think refinancing is a hassle. You make it easier.
13. Accessing equity in their home. Maybe they don’t have a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Should they? If your firm is affiliated with a bank, you can help make it happen.
Why: They may want to improve the value of their home by doing renovations.
14. Help refinancing rental or vacation property. It’s the same logic as above. If rates are rising, it may be in their best interests to refinance now.
Why: When they see low rates, the fine print often says “For primary residences.”
15. Getting a lower interest credit card. People don’t intend to carry large balances month to month. It happens. The rate might be 17%! Your firm might offer lower rates with interest free balance transfers for an introductory period.
Why: They knew that revolving charge card interest was out of control.
16. Do you need a good accountant? They might do their own taxes, but it that a good idea? They may find working with a professional is worth the money. You can suggest a few.
Why: They may simply be paying what they are told to pay.
17. Is your attorney right for your situation? Their lawyer may be skilled in litigation, but not estate planning. Maybe they don’t have a lawyer. You can suggest a few.
Why: The client sees estate planning as an issue. They need help setting up and funding trusts.
18. Do you have a good insurance agent? You might offer life insurance and annuities, but not auto, home or personal liability insurance. Have they shopped around for quotes? You can suggest a few names.
Why: People often treat insurance as “set it and forget it.” You might help them save money,
19. Where does Long Term Care insurance fit in? Many people are under the misconception Medicare covers living in an assisted living facility. It doesn’t, or only for short periods of rehabilitation. You can help find answers to their questions.
Why: It’s another fear they have, but avoid thinking about.
20. Exercising stock options. They may be a control person with restricted stock. There are rules concerning what they can and cannot do. You can help explain them.
Why: Some executives are too busy doing their jobs to think about this stuff. They want to bring in an expert to help them.
Wow! Working with you brings all these benefits! I never knew that? You mean, all I have to do is just ask?
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