While 51% of respondents to a newstudy by Northstar/Sullivan reported they were very satisfied with their financial advisor, 36% with $100,000 or more invested are considering moving. A quarter of them would drop their current advisor for better investment options or a higher level of service. Since most advisors have most investment options available to them, your opportunity is in elevating your service.
This brings up the paradox of loyalty and satisfaction – that one does not reliably follow the other. It takes more than simple satisfaction to make for a committed client. One who will stay with you and provide you referrals. And referral opportunities abound – the study found that 25% of investors without a current advisor are actively looking for one and hope to secure an advisor within a year.
Of course, you probably believe you work as hard as you can to provide the highest level of service possible. Most advisors I speak to believe this. So, what can you do? Ask. Implement some form of structured feedback process about yourclients’ experience. It is possible, even likely, that your vision of the best client experience differs from yourclients’.
I frequently find that some things advisors consider important in their service offering is not considered very important by clients. And, there are other things, sometimes small things, that clients wish they got from their advisor that would significantly improve their experience.
Engage yourclients in a conversation about the service they receive, involve them in upgrading or customizing your processes, and you will solidify your relationships and attract more.
Many financial advisors tell me that they suffer from sleep disorders. I have experienced disruptive sleep patterns since my childhood. Often, I will wake up at 3 or 4 AM and have difficulty getting back to sleep. My mind kicks in and will not rest. I think about my business and the challenges we face. Like many high achievers, I am driven to achieve business goals and my focus is on what we need to do to accomplish our objectives. At times, my desire to achieve those goals gets in the way of my performance.
My wife, Wendy, is a Marital and Sex Therapist. One of the things she has taught me is that anxiety is blocked excitement. Whenever we experience anxiety, it is a result of losing touch with our excitement. Many successful financial advisors have difficulty in differentiating between goals and working to the best of their abilities. They don’t wake up in the morning and say “I’m going to work to the highest level of my capability today.” They start out with a goal. It is the goal that motivates them. The profound point of difference is in the pursuit of doing your best versus needing to achieve an outcome. You learn to give up your attachments to results. If you are true to your purpose, what will happen is meant to be. If you do your best and do not achieve your goal, it is the right outcome. This is a powerful insight and, yet, we are often left with the question, what do we do about it?
For many financial advisors, the drive is to reach a desired revenue goal e.g. $150,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, etc., not to be the best they can be. You change the inner game when you pursue your goals as a means of fulfilling your capability. The paradox is that pursuing a goal often gets in the way of peak performance, especially when anxiety comes into play. We begin to obsess and worry about the achievement of the goal. As a result, we lose touch with our excitement about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
One of the best ways to achieve better output is to let go of your attachment to results. If you are doing your best, then being attached to outcomes can only reduce your output, let alone quality of life. Goals are useful in that they give us a target to pursue. When we convert those goals into objectives i.e. specific measurable results within a stated timeframe, we can track our progress.
What is important is to keep the end game in perspective. Our work is not about reaching a goal. At its best, work makes us whole. It is a means of expressing what is important to us and gives us meaning. We spend more time at work than in any other area of our lives. If we are not enjoying our work, it takes a toll on the rest of our lives. So, next time you wake up at 4 AM and find yourself obsessing about work, take a minute to re-connect with your excitement about what you are doing and why you are doing it. This will allow you to fall back into a pleasant and restful sleep.
Norm Trainor is the founder of The Covenant Group, a company specializing in practice development for advisors. For further information, visit his Web site at www.covenantgroup.com.
Here, below, we share with you this thought provoking presentation made by Psychologist Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice. As an advisor, you may have encountered the problem of potential clients taking a very long time to decide on a course of action that you have proposed to them.
As a former advisor, there were times (in hindsight, of course), in fact, I’m positive, that I overwhelmed potential clients (and they stayed that way) because I was trying too hard to impress them by laying the (investing) world at their feet. In a nutshell, keep it simple. That makes for much easier decision making.
Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.