- Technology is here to stay. Humanness is your advantage.
- The personal ways you connect to your clients, and their families, will set you apart.
- Focus on longevity and the exciting next chapter of your clients’ lives to show them your worth.
If you think relationships are maintained by greeting cards, think again.
Sure you know your clients’ anniversaries, and even their kids’ names and birthdays. But how well do you personally know the families whose finances you manage?
Could you say for certain you know how someone’s marriage is going? Are you helping a daughter save for college when dad’s health is a ticking time bomb? When it comes to showing your value in an age of Betterments and Wealthsimples, how do you set yourself apart?
It comes down to intimate relationships that dig deeper than the numbers. Here are five things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition — robotic or otherwise:
1. Really, really listen.
Good luck having a personal conversation with a robo-advisor.
As a financial professional, some of the most valuable qualities you offer are empathy, a shared human experience, and a sense of caring. Yes, it does sound a bit like a psychologist’s job, but as one advisor who works for a national firm in Indiana put it, “it’s never about the money.”
One family told him their son had an addiction problem and that they didn’t like their daughter-in-law.
“That kind of stuff is worth its weight in gold,” he said. “In all aspects of their financial world, it truly is more than money and extra return.”
What’s most important? Family? Church? Living independently? Traveling? It sounds like a cliché, but you simply must dig deeper than numbers. When it comes to understanding risk, crafting future strategies, and preparing your clients’ estates, knowing the nuances of relationships and personal values are key.
2. Embrace technology.
The only way you’ll have time to nurture human connections with your clients is if you and your team has time for one-on-one conversations.
How will technology help? Simple. Ditch the manual processes and your Rolodex. Automate as many transactions as possible. Invest and integrate a customer relationship management system (CRM). Free more time by letting the amazing technology that powers the robo-competition work for you.
The more time you have with clients, the more you will be able to uncover their values and connect with them to and secure your position as their financial professional.
3. Educate your clients.
Your clients are smart. But they hired you for your specialized skills. Show them you care by sharing that knowledge.
One method is targeted, educational seminars. Maybe some clients would benefit from learning about the new tax laws this year. Some may be business owners exploring retirement benefits for their employees.
Choose a subject and offer an in-person class or a webinar. With a focused syllabus, you’re more likely to attract the clients who will gain the most from the discussion. If you have time to offer a Q&A period at the end, maybe they could learn from each other’s shared experiences, too.
(Hint: Why not leverage your CRM system to poll your clients on topics they’re interested in, and then create segments for targeted group lists?)
4. Offer a health screening.
One of the biggest concerns Baby Boomers have for retirement is the cost of medical care. As your clients age, the sooner they know about potential health concerns, the better.
Why not host a fun outdoor event and add a station where a medical professional can measure blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar? It helps to have someone on hand to explain what the numbers mean. Sometimes clients won’t know they exhibit warning signs.
Don Brown, a senior regional vice president at Transamerica, did just that. He invited 30 of his financial professional clients to receive a heart scan that can show if someone has cardiovascular disease indicators.
One of the men did.
Another discovered he had a tumor.
“We care about them,” Brown said. “They’re not just a number to us. They’re truly a friend and they mean something to their families, and to their client base. We want to keep them around.”
Medical screens are also a great way to open a conversation with clients about health, and how it can affect their financial strategies. Your work turns into more than just a “financial service.”
5. Assemble a longevity team.
We’re living longer. Some of us can live to 100 and spend up to 30 years in retirement, according to the Stanford Center on Longevity.
So as your clients embark on the next chapter of their lives, encourage them to think about not only the numbers, but how they want to spend those dollars and years. Where they will live? Where they will work or volunteer? What will their home look like?
In an interview with Wealth Management, Dr. Joseph Coughlin from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, suggested, “Advisors will need a new set of skills and knowledge so that they can have these conversations. But really, they will need to assemble an entirely new advisory team. I want them to remain at the center of the relationship — between themselves and the client family — and it is a family, not just the client.
“But the team needs to be expanded — not just to lawyers and accountants, but geriatric care managers, for example. Aging-in-place contractors who know how to remodel a kitchen so it is cool but you can use it as you age.”
He also suggests connecting your client family to downsizing consultants and people who can help clients understand transportation when the ability to drive is no longer an option.
No two clients will want the same plan. They’ll probably enter their new chapter of retirement with excitement for many different reasons. But you can strive to give all of them a sense of comfort — the knowingness that their last act has been meticulously considered.
Things to Consider:
- Tomorrow’s clients will want to be connected with not just financial help, but professionals who can help prepare their extended life.
- Technology is here to stay, so get on board, and make it work for you.
- It’s time to shift your focus to a full-service longevity service where your clients can begin to imagine and prepare for their next chapter.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as insurance, securities, ERISA, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.