Why Do Advice Clients Buy? – Part 1

Why do your advice clients engage?

For greater returns or greater certainty?

I was reminded of this question looking at Google’s headlines last week with their ‘driver-less’ car? Did you see them?

Google are making big promises about “changing our world” – what do you reckon? For me, there’s no short term returns on that project – it’s all about long term. It’s creating a perception that doing business with Google is doing business with a firm making some exciting bets surrounding our futures. (Quartz had some interesting things to say about it).

Back to why advice clients buy from you – the question of returns v certainty. What is your first choice when you consider the question – for example, what do you want for your children?  

Great returns or great certainty?

I mean, what do you most hope for your kids? To achieve great returns or achieve great certainty in their lives?

What comes first?

What comes first for you? What comes first for your clients?

Is your focus to deliver a good return or good result on their investment, tax, insurance, structuring work? Like get them into today’s best SMSF structure? or get them into the best insurance for their needs? or give them the best tax advice? Is it?

Do you believe you have to earn their trust by doing the immediate job giving your best return in as short a time possible, and then you’ll be in a better position with their bigger jobs handling the bigger issues? How do you handle the situation when due the client’s position, the chance of good short-term returns are slim, how do you position longer term greater certainty with shorter term lesser returns?

Do you forgo the short-term returns engagement and your priority is always on providing a direction or path that aims to deliver your advice clients with greater on-going certainty? Even if it means losing the short-term opportunities for transaction seeker, return-seekers? (even if they are a ‘high net worth’?)

Are the returns or certainty sought always purely financial for financial advisers? Seems logical, but is it?

Are we just talking about financial returns & certainty?

If you’re meeting with a couple that have divergent views (or undisclosed views) as to what their long term financial certainty might mean, is the advisers job just to focus on greatest possible returns? Are you happy to let them resolve the complexities surrounding their divergent (or undisclosed) individual ambitions?

Or is it your job to provide them as much certainty as possible so their individual and joint future aspirations  will be achieved EVEN IF it might mean the sacrificing of some individual returns for greater certainty as a couple?

What if your ‘returns’ conversations have been focused on only one member of a couple. Are your assumptions of ‘delivering returns’ for the family valid? In fact, could the other member who hasn’t participated in your advice conversations have even less certainty that her/his individual aspirations are being catered for? Should we care, that one member of the couple might have clearer idea of the returns they’ll achieve, but the other partner might have even less certainty how they will achieve their own and potentially differing individual aspirations?

Returns v Certainty – I reckon it’s time for the advice profession to re-think about why advice clients buy?

What do you reckon?


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.

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