4 Things Clients (Really) Need in Their Advisor
What do clients really need from you? Do they need your alpha potential, your superior stock-picking skills, or your heavy-lifting on fund strategies? Maybe. And certainly, no client is going to complain when you beat the market (as long as you can do it again). But there may be some things you can do for your clients that they need desperately but may not be as tangible as your outperformance skills.
1. A Coach
Your clients need your expertise to navigate the financial landscape, but they also need a coach to help them navigate themselves. Behavioral finance is a big topic that deserves a lifetime of study, to be sure. But for the sake of simplicity, behavioral finance helps develop strategies so we can help our clients avoid the age-old mistake of buying high and selling low. Behavioral finance studies why such results are often typical of human behavior – why people make irrational financial decisions. It’s not a knock on anyone. It’s a regretful fact of life. But it doesn’t have to cause harm. A good financial advisor should have a working knowledge of behavioral finance to put a disciplined process in place to help clients avoid common pitfalls of investing.
2. Peace of Mind
A friend of mine always says, “Peace of mind is the most valuable thing in the world, especially when you don’t have it.” A good advisor offloads the inevitable burden of responsibility for investing one’s own portfolio. An advisor doesn’t guarantee that a client will end up a millionaire, but a client should experience some level of assurance knowing that someone else owns the duty of deciding how to invest the account.
3. Accountability toward Goals
Even the most gym-obsessed fitness nuts hire personal trainers. A good financial advisor will help clients think through what realistic financial goals are, encourage them stay on track, and point out when they start veering off course. It can be uncomfortable, but so is pumping iron at the gym at 6am. #worthit
4. A Partnership
We are not meant to attempt life alone. There is power in joining forces. A good advisor doesn’t go on autopilot, act like a robot, or passively accept any behavior a client may display. A healthy advisor/client relationship looks more like a dynamic partnership. Together, the advisor and client can achieve a better outcome than either could on their own.
You may not get the same thanks from your clients for providing peace of mind as you do for beating the S&P. But you might find your relationships with your clients growing deeper, stickier, and with more referrals. And that’s something that money can’t buy.