Like any good business professional, financial planners are constantly looking for ways to market themselves and expand their business. Word of mouth has long been one of the most significant ways for businesses and professionals to market their trade, and the internet in general and social media in particular have worked to make word of mouth more important than ever.
The opinions of others regarding a particular product, service, or business has always been a factor in success, but now those opinions are one of the leading factors in determining whether a business is successful or not.
Financial planners know that prospective clients select an advisor based on several factors, but perhaps none are more influential than emotions and the expectations of service. This makes the opinions of others one of the biggest factors in how a client chooses a planner. With that said, it behooves financial planners to keep some things in mind about how prospective clients think and what influences their decision in selecting who will advise them.
Arguably the most important thing for any financial planner to bear in mind is that clients place a premium on the quality of service that an advisor provides. A recent study conducted by the Association of Financial Advisors indicated that clients cited things like communications skills, empathy, caring, and an ability to listen, collectively presented as “interpersonal skills” as being more important to them than any other criterion.
Not even financial acumen or planning experience could trump these more personal elements of the job. They are quite literally the primary characteristic that client want in their advisors.
The study indicated that clients are far more likely to replace their planner when they fail to provide a certain level of service and interpersonal skill than they are if their investments are performing below expectation.