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Financial Advisers: Why You Should Know Your Clients Better Than They Know Themselves


Financial Advisers: Why You Should Know Your Clients Better Than They Know Themselves

A recent visit to my bank manager highlighted the need for me to open an account with a higher % interest rate. Just one catch (as far as I could see) I couldn’t access these funds via an ATM; however if I needed to transfer money from the new account to my account attached to the ATM I could do so by downloading an App onto my cell. As explained to me, I would then be able to use this App to transfer funds from one account to another ‘even while standing in line at the ATM’.

I was somewhat skeptical to say the least and visualized lines behind me at the ATM becoming frustrated as I tried to move funds from my high interest account to my ATM account. But in reality it took no time at all; nobody was held up in a line; I transferred funds from one account to another using my cell, withdrew my cash and went on my way.

The moral of this story for financial advisers – know your clients better than they know themselves. 

Bree McDonough as part of the FSC Deloitte Future Leaders Program writes in the following article titled The Digital Revolution of Wealth Management:

Evident from changes in legislation, technology and customer expectations the traditional wealth management model is not sustainable to service today and tomorrows connected customers. The Australian wealth management industry is urged to invest in building their digital intelligence and implementing a connect customer centric business model.

It is recommended that the industry implements the strategic enablers explored in this paper to increase digital intelligence and re‐engineer their businesses around today’s connected customer:

Know your customers better than they know themselves

  1. Redefine service and value
  2. Plan for the future and remove barriers.
  3. By implementing these strategic enablers, the wealth management industry can leverage the digital revolution to build sustainable and valuable relationships, build trust and a deeper customer understanding. Successful businesses will counter disruption by constantly evaluating their business model and position themselves with a strategic advantage. The longer the industry waits to leverage the digital revolution the more difficult the challenge will become, and the more ground they risk ceding to competitors.
  4. This article raises an important issue around the need for advisers to understand their clients behaviors and how best to engage with them in a way that they are open to new ideas around managing their finances. It also presents a wider issue for consideration raised by the current digital revolution and the need for the industry to plan for meeting this challenge.

My bank manager knows I am risk averse, time poor, reasonably IT savvy but transferring funds as described while standing in a line seemed to me a step too far. Not so as it transpired.  I took this step because I trust my adviser.

So what are the takeaways for advisers from this scenario?

  1. There is power in getting to know your clients better than they know themselves
  2. Becoming a behaviorally smart adviser will enable you to get below the surface to the real issues much quicker
  3. By building a framework to communicate with clients on their terms you will increase engagement
  4. You will be able to customize the financial planning process for each client

Make it a priority to develop deeper relationships with clients to build trust. Doing so will set the stage for introducing the kinds of change needed in the financial industry to continue to win clients and stay ahead of the competition.

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