Since most advisors have no way of knowing why their client is behaving they way they do, they will pick an interpretation—because that’s what our brains do.
The way we see one another can be irrational, incomplete and inflexible—and largely automatic. And it is a two-way street: both from an advisor’s and a client’s perspective.
Mike has been a successful wholesaler in the Financial Services industry for over 15 years. He had assembled a solid portfolio that he felt was well diversified and positioned for his future goals. But things changed after he was married for a few years. His wife, Abby, started asking him questions about their investments and Mike felt a bit attacked. Additionally, he found himself answering most of her questions with “That’s just the way it is” or “You’ll just have to trust me because I can’t explain it to your required level of detail.”
You might imagine that didn’t go over very well with Abby. Mike had to come to terms with admitting that his expertise in this industry did not incorporate every aspect of the financial planning process that his clients (financial advisors) dealt with on a daily basis: cash flow projections, creating objective portfolios and LTC insurance. He realized it was time to hire a financial advisor.
While Mike had a short list of names, Abby had a healthy skepticism of most financial professionals.
Their initial interviews were quite interesting. The technical competence of an advisor was fairly easy to ascertain. They could tell whether an advisor was intelligent, skilled and effective.
What was far more difficult to know about an advisor was how they would understand them at a deeper level. As Abby said, “We have to be able to connect with this advisor”. The advisor Mike and Abby selected used a combination of an objective profile and reflective questions. They could tell he would be able to navigate their differences very effectively and keep each of them happy in their own way!
In retrospect, what surprised Mike the most was that the financial selection process of their financial advisor was based completely on trust. Both Abby and Mike trusted this advisor to create a unique plan and manage their hard earned money to reach their goals. And to have honest and direct conversations at their annual reviews to be sure they continued on track without unknowingly derailing their efforts.
Over the ten years of working with this advisor and his team, they have never been disappointed. Each team member has a different personality and area of expertise and addresses both Mike and Abby in a unique way.
With Mike, it’s a combination of light-hearted fun and getting to the bottom line of progressing towards our goals. For Abby, it is about fun and family but equally important are the details and market overviews. Now Mike can rest easy knowing that she is happy getting all that information and he does not have to be accountable for any answers.
There are many reasons to hire a financial advisor. As this couple demonstrated, it was about finding the person whom they could trust to successfully navigate their differences.
Technical competence is a “check-box” item in today’s world. Digging deep beneath the surface is what most clients really want from their trusted advisors.
Are you prepared for this deeper discovery journey with your clients?