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Completing the Narrative of What Clients Want Most From Their Financial Advisors

Female financial advisor leaning over table pointing to paper and talking to a black couple.

In a previous blog, I talked about how financial advisors achieve exceptional client outcomes when they have a unique combination of great technical and communication skills, along with radical honesty. 

This blog will be addressing the last part that makes up a great financial advisor—radical honesty.

What Clients Most Want

Never in history has the world been more complex. 

We live in the single most information-overloaded, stimulus-saturated environment ever.

  • There are more than 3 billion internet users.
  • There are over 2.5 billion gigabytes of data used daily.
  • There are 4 billion (daily) Google searches.
  • Over 10 billion YouTube videos are watched daily.

As we navigate this incredible flow of information (but much less wisdom), where the cascade of ideas and opinions are staggering and the facts are disconnected from any context, it’s no wonder that, when asked, clients say that the number one thing they are looking for from their trusted advisors is… education. Not service, not performance, and certainly not steak dinners and birthday cards (though all are important and have their place). 

Clients want someone who can “curate” the information—someone who can synthesize data and information in a way that helps them make better decisions.

We started on this in our previous discussions on great technical skills and great communication skills.

But to complete the narrative, that is, to complete the paradigm shift necessary to be great financial advisors and have a unique value proposition that will be compelling and helpful to clients, we must add the third dimension.

Radical honesty.

This is where the alchemy takes place. 

This is where we embrace this idea that we have got to quit selling and start helping.

Radical Honesty and a Broken Dishwasher

Susanna, my wife, is an enthusiastic and accomplished cook. I am an enthusiastic and accomplished eater. This has resulted in our evening “quid pro quo.” She cooks and I clean, which is fantastic as long as the equipment works. Less fantastic when it doesn’t.

What do you think happened during the pandemic? When supply chain disruptions were at their peak? 

Our dishwasher expired. 

I immediately drove to my locally-owned and operated appliance store, that does full-service sales and installation, to buy a new one.

My sales guy immediately informed me that not only did they not have any dishwashers that fit my specs, but there would be none for at least the next six months—at best.

The sales guy:

1)   knew his product inventory and backlog

2)   communicated clearly and effectively

This was a truthful and honest interaction and he had fulfilled his obligation.

Except he didn’t stop there.

He said, “Wait one second while I check a couple of things.” 

He then returned with a printout and said, “This is the dishwasher I wanted to sell you and they have two of them at the ‘big box retailer’ down the street. I would go buy it there. And here is the name of the guy I suggest you use to haul off the old one and install the new one.”

His ”fiduciary obligation” was complete with number 1 and 2 above. 

But his decision to stop selling and start helping went the extra step—it went the step of sending me to a competitor because it was the best thing for me (and my marriage).

I am 100% certain that, when my refrigerator or washing machine have their final day, he will be my first call.

Find Success by Redefining the Sales Culture

We have been taught in all sales cultures to “close the deal,” “ask for the order,” “take control of the sale.” 

How about we just start helping people? 

I promise success will find you if you do!

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