Making Your Advisory Indispensable Can Drive More Value to Your Bottom Line

5 ways financial advisors can build better relationships with clients and prospects

In studying the interactions between successful businesspeople and those they serve, a few common traits become quite apparent. The most successful folks listen more than speak. They’re interested and engaged in both the conversation and the needs expressed. And, most importantly, they build relationships based on mutual respect and trust—not opportunity. And in building relationships upon trust over opportunity comes a transformation—that is, the point where you become the “go-to” resource. In other words, you become “indispensable.” As a recruiter, I hold myself and my team to the highest of standards. Those “standards” are based on a proverbial bar that we continually raise to ensure that all of our interactions serve our clients’ needs in the best way possible, always focusing on ways to provide value and form bonds of trust—the foundation of becoming “indispensable.” Making yourself indispensable does the following:
  • It develops a relationship rooted in mutual respect—a strong bond that’s not easily broken.
  • It’s disarming—and defuses any defenses and preconceived beliefs about what your intent might be.
  • It is efficient—neither party feels they are wasting their time because they know the information they are receiving is valuable.
  • It almost always leads to referrals—because people are likely to recommend someone they respect and trust.
  • It sets you apart—in a highly competitive marketplace, as the one shining star amongst many.
  • And ultimately, it creates a relationship for life.
As an advisor, I believe that holding yourself to the high standard of indispensability is akin to being a fiduciary—the notion of always putting the best interests of your clients first. Adopting this behavior should come quite easily. You can start by doing the following:
  1. Ask smart questions: To gain a deep understanding of your client’s or prospect’s needs, “ask” your way towards what’s most important—and listen carefully to the answers. By doing so, you automatically create trust, because the individual feels heard and understood.
  2. Have the courage to go against the grain: Sometimes you need to step up and make bold statements that may not be in keeping with popular opinion or what someone expects to hear from you. It’s honest and disarming—and tells them that you are unique and not just about personal financial gain.
  3. Share insights and perspective not reported in the news: Simply parroting the headlines limits the depth of a conversation. Instead, synthesize and explain how it will impact him or her.
  4. Remind them that you are an expert: It’s not boastful to share how you’ve helped others just like him or her—so long as you can relate another’s story in a way that is meaningful.
  5. Go above and beyond: Always exceed expectations, adding value even if you aren’t getting paid for it—thoughtful outreach and unexpected acts of kindness can go a long way.
While a successful business may be built upon a foundation of strong leadership, smart and talented team members and finely-tuned operational processes, continual growth is based on something far more intrinsic. In a world where investment performance is a moving target, becoming indispensable can be far more valuable in boosting your bottom line—and is certainly something more within your control. Related: Age Does Not Limit Options for an Advisor’s Business Life