The first criteria for identifying your ideal financial advice client is whether they take and act upon your advice.
It’s hard to have an effective advice relationship if your advice doesn’t consistently influence and guide the financial behaviours and actions of your clients. It would be as effective as a game of football when no players took notice of the referre’s whistle – it just wouldn’t work no matter the talent on the pitch.
In this regard, most advisers believe they are above average.
Some of these advisers are deluding themselves.
Easy financial advice…
For me, too many advisers resemble the person holding the lolly-pop stop/go sign (have you noticed how many girls are now employed to do this?) with road maintenance crews. The advice these girls give (i.e. stop/go) is pretty easy to follow and most people follow easy advice. When markets are running, most people take advice about getting into them. When self-managed super funds are the latest/greatest, most people take advice to establish one. That advice is relatively easy to take.
Before determining if your clients take and act upon your advice, you need to consider have they consistently taken not your easy advice, for most people will do that. Have they consistently take your TOUGH advice.
Tough financial advice…
Quite often the tough advice is the advice they don’t like taking.
Tough advice is when they possibly have to consider changing their spending behaviours. They may have to accept your advice to delay retirement. They may not be able to travel overseas in retirement as extensively or as often as they had hoped. They should be staying in (or getting out of) the market when everyone else might be doing the opposite. They should be considering the selling assets rather than pursuing more loans. Or they should be re-considering an existing long-standing yet poor performing relationship with their existing professionals (e.g. accountant) who has not, in your opinion, best served their interests.
These are examples of tough advice.
Like all solid long lasting relationships, it’s the tough conversations, the tough honest advice that strengthen (or ruin) them.
Ideal advice clients are those that despite the apparent discomfort, strain, or challenge your tough advice might arouse, nonetheless they still embrace and commit to it. Maybe not every time, but more often than not. They will only do this because your firm can consistently, methodically and specifically articulate that it is delivered in their best interests.
Long term professional advice relationships will inevitable come under strain as surely as booms follow busts.
The first criteria of recognising ideal advice clients upon whom you can build a great advice business, is whether they consistently take your advice and recommendations – especially the tough ones.
What do you think?
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About Jim Stackpool
For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.