Here Are More Than 200 Reasons Why Your Clients Hate You And An Unexpected But Easy Cure For This Pain


Imagine your client-to-be comes to you and says:

“I see you are the perfect financial planner for me because of your professional designation. So therefore, I would really like to work with you”

If you have experienced this, then stop reading this article.

Otherwise, you might want to continue.

Imagine if every doctor, physician, nurse, surgeon, general practitioner, physiotherapist, or every other person working in the medical industry called themselves a Medical Advisor.

Who would you turn to for your health problem and how would you know the difference?

You probably don’t know. Am I right?

So, let’s think of something to make this clearer for you. For example by giving a designation for every Medical Advisor.

Like a Medical Advisor CMA, Medical Advisor CHMA, Medical Advisor MDMA, or Medical Advisor FMA.

Do you know now which medical advisor to call for your health problem?

And do you recognize now what your client experiences when searching for a financial advisor?

In my (small) country Holland are already too much designations for financial advisors. But after reading Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen, I’m really astonished. Olen explains that there are more than 200(!) designations in the financial services industry. 

If there are 200+ designations, how on earth does your client know the difference between all this designations? This alphabet hodgepodge of titles makes it difficult, if not impossible to distinguish one from the other. While three designations is already too many, 200 is totally absurd.

What it means for your client

The effect is that your (future) client is in doubt. He has a problem and he wants the perfect financial advisor to solve it. But he doesn’t know which advisor to hire. Remember the Medical Advisor in the beginning of the article.

Your clients hate it when they don’t know. It costs time, money and energy. They are used to the fact that every piece of information is two seconds away. They don’t want to spend their precious time on finding out what your designation does or doesn’t mean.

So why are we making it so difficult for the ones who are the lifeblood of our financial planning business?

What clients expect from you is that you convince them to decide. Because otherwise he keeps hesitating and his question marks won’t go away. Smart financial planners know that they need to help their clients to decide. Actually, they see it as one of their most important tasks.

By removing doubts and appealing to the emotional right-brain. I’ll tell you in a minute how to do that.

But first, let us be honest to ourselves. Which is really hard. At least for me it is:

Our financial planning designation is meaningless to our clients.

Now, please don’t get me wrong here. I’m a financial planner myself and I’m proud to be one. I’m especially proud of my financial planning degree. Because it took me years of hard study to achieve this. And I also know that you have also done (and maybe are still doing) this hard work. Because you want to be the best educated advisor in the whole financial services industry.

And you are. Financial planners are – by far – the best educated advisors.

Your designation is precious to you. Because it was a hell of a job to achieve this feat. And it’s not only that. You also have to keep studying to keep your designation alive.

But I would like to ask you to be honest with yourself by answering this question:

Do you really believe your client knows the difference between the 200+ financial designations?

Can we make it clearer for our clients?

Yes, it can be done.

Just take a look at other professions: attorneys (JD), accountants (CPA) or doctors (MD).

CPA’s have only one designation for all 700,000+ of them and attorneys have one designation for over 1,000,000+ of them. There are several schools to attend but minimal designations or degrees.

To achieve the same “status” like these professions is not going to happen in the near future. Yet, financial planners do have two options to do something about it:

  1. We wait until the regulators are going to do something;
  2. If you do not want to wait for about a century for this to happen, there’s only one way to go: we just have to do it ourselves

So, therefore I’m going to help you change this. So that the effect will be that your client says or thinks: “I believe in the message of this financial planner. I want to hire him or her”.

What to do

In this article about the Future of Advice is described what is next to come in the next 20 years for financial planners. The article is mostly about technology.

But there’s one thing that’s pretty surprising to me. Because Spenser Segal, CEO of ActiFi, a software company quotes:

Where the advisor will increasingly add value is in helping you navigate the emotional. What won’t change is human nature. There’s going to be more visceral advice — conversations more about their clients’ lives than their buys. From the client side, that means a big change in expectations of human value-added service

Although Spenser’s business is technology, he believes in the human value-added service.

So how do you begin to add value in your client’s life?

You have to give a promise to your clients.

Giving a promise means setting your own new bar by understanding how to fill the tiniest gap in human desire. Because a promise makes your client remember you or your service.

Adding your designation is not enough. Your designation isn’t a promise, its proof of your achievement in the past.

Giving a promise doesn’t mean you have to change your financial planning service. Think about Starbucks. They didn’t change coffee-flavor. They created a whole new set of meanings that we attach to what once was a commodity. What they did was giving a promise:

Starbucks exists to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at the time

And this is exactly what people buy. People don’t buy designations or other features, they buy promises. As financial planners we often get bogged down in the features of what we are doing or have to offer. We get stuck at telling people the ‘what-part’.

But here’s the thing: deep down most people don’t care about what the features enable them to do.

Why not?

Because people don’t want to do. They want to be.

They want to be less busy and more productive, be less alone and more connected, be less fearful and more safe.

That’s why people don’t buy designations. They buy promises.

If you want to know how to make your financial planning promise highly engaging, then you’ll probably want to read about The Best (and Scientifically Proven) Strategy To Make Your Promise Far More Interesting. All you have to do is answer this question:

What Promise Do You Give To Your Clients?

Leave your answer – below – in the comment field.

You’ll receive the free PDF with The Best (and Scientifically Proven) Strategy To Make Your Promise Far More Interesting

Let’s make financial planning matter.

To Your Success,



Leave a Reply 80 comments

Robert Martinelli Reply

John, Mary, you’ve spent the last 40 years saving money for this moment, today, it’s no longer about your money, now it’s about your life…living well in retirement.

Monisha Murthy Reply

achieve financial confidence

Mark Fenton Reply

I am telling clients my goal is to help them lose less than conventional management, when markets go down.

Dave Reply

Give the feeling of calm and perspective. and minimizing risks as far as possible

Johann Maree Reply

We promise to help you align your values with your goals so that you make the right financial decisions.

Robert Campolongo Reply

to provide the highest quality personalized service

Jeff Reply

To make our clients\’ live better given the resources they have

Jeff Reply

We promise to help individuals and families live the best quality of life they can with the resources they have

Mark Reply

Helping you find Success with money and life.

John Reply

My promise is to make you better off

Marin Reply

Help them identify, achieve and maintain the life they really want, without the fear of ever running out of money (courtesy of Paul Armson)

erik Reply

To help them live the life they want to live

Mark Reply

To help them achieve their idea of financial freedom.

Jason Reply

We promise to question intently, listen carefully, and act with integrity.

Harry Koulentis Reply

Help tailor an investment strategy inspired by your tailored financial plan, one inspired by you and an expression of your personal vision.

Jeff Reply

to create a financial life that serves your real life.

Colin Drake Reply

I promise to always \”have your back.\”

Justin Reply

…to work with you to eliminate as much financial stress in your life as we can together.

Matt Nelson Reply

help you make smart decisions with you money

Isaac Reply

Financial decisions w/ intention.

Laurie Reply

To explore and consistently reflect back to them the greater potential opportunities in their lives for building and sharing wealth – for living lives of significance and real impact.

Peter Reply

To hold their hand through life

Tom Reply

To lighten the burden of financial management by providing wise counsel so that my clients can turn their time and their attention to the things in life that matter more than money.

Gary Reply

to keep them financially organized and on-track

Debbie Reply

To help them overcome money anxiety and live a life of money-ease

Marc Reply

Peace of mind and an adviser who will be with them for the long-term future

Joe Reply

To give them full clarity about their financial future and an understanding of the effects of their financial decisions.

Rein Reply

All of above are beautifull.

Wil Huizinga Reply

Dear Ronald,

They get financial insight, overview and comfort

Marc Reply

To help my clients save and invest more efficiently and more effectively, so they\’ll have more money to spend and enjoy both in retirement and throughout their working years.

Mark Reply

I Promise my clients to help them be well organized in their financial affairs.
It\’s not easy, but it is straightforward!

Glenn Brophy Reply

I promise to convince you to make the best financial decisions

Mark Reply

To help them live their one best financial life

Brian Reply make each of my clients feel that they are my most important client, and that I will commit myself to doing everything in my power to ensure they have the peace of mind they seek

Andy Reply

My commitment – is to ensure clients fully understand their goals/direction, the reality of their current position and options available to achieve their desired goals

Mike Clark Reply

Help them identify, achieve and maintain the life they really want, so they won\’t worry about money

Rutvik Pathak Reply

I define Financial achievements as : An achievement which will not make you wealthy but will surely give you pleasure and make you happy and give you emotionally high . Every human being on earth will have problems be it emotional , be it physical ,be it monetary and the list goes on …….
My promise to my client is when any problems comes ,it will affect every aspect of our life, I will try to be helpful and stand with you in that problem to face that problem. When cyclones comes either we face the situation or run away. Clients trust\’s me to achieve his goals , he needs emotional support to achieve his Goals . Promising him that I will be part of this journey towards the Goal.

Wayne Reply

I help clients make better financial and life decisions.

Ian Reply

to help clients find their meaning

Derek Reply

To make things as simple as possible.

Terry May Reply

Our promise is two fold, we promise them through our \”Definition of Financial Success\” which is:
1. To attain the maximum amount of wealth possible
2. To be able to spend and enjoy the wealth without any fear of it ever running out
3. To be able to pass on the wealth to family and charities and not to the government and financial institutions
4. To make certain the above will happen under all circumstances

And through the four promises we make to them to accomplish the true \”Definition of Financial Success\”. Which are:
1. Create more wealth
2. Create additional benefits and protection
3. No additional risk assumed
4. NO additional out of pocket cost

Lovegeet Dhuria Reply

My Promise is I am here for your Financial Goals.

James Reynolds Reply

I promise to help them realise what\’s most important, enlightening them to what should be considered and what should be set aside and work ongoing towards fulfilling what\’s important to them.

Claudia Reply

I promise to help clients see the impact of their financial decisions before they make them.

John Reply

I promise to be honest about their options and transparent about their fees.

Theo Reply

I promise them to be there guide in the dangerous financial mountains.

Klaus Reply

My promise is to be fair, honest, be available, and most of all, and act in their best interest.

Michel Metten Reply

to take care of their financial issues, so that they can do what they are good at!

Justin Reply

Inspire them

Stephen Carpenter Reply

To help them arrange their financial affairs in such a way as to enable them to better achieve what the want with their money and to constantly keep everything under review

James Reply

Confidence and trust

Angela Reply

I promise to take care of my clients so they know they are looked after year after year.

Scott Reply

Creating Financial Certainty

Pete Crabtree Reply

Clarity and confidence.

Matt Reply

peace of mind

Ed Morris Reply

I promise to help my clients understand enough to make the right decisions with confidence.

Martyn Reply

My Definite Chief Aim and Purpose is to have a substantive transformational, powerful and positive impact on the lives of People resulting from giving them access to impartial Financial Advice regardless of their financial position.

Chris Reply

Help them identify, achieve and maintain the life they really want, without the fear of ever running out of money (courtesy of Paul Armson)

John Helfgott Reply

My promise is to be honest with my clients , and fully explain the Truth about money.

Joe Reply

I promise to help them live the life they desire without the fear of running out of money

Chandan Singh Padiyar Reply

We help you manage your Money to have the right amount of Money at the right time in your Life.

Tom Feher Reply

The promise:-
Trust that I/we will always be there for you and constantly help you to realise your own financial planning objectives 24/7! Everything keeps changing but we will stay focused on whatever it may be that has to be achieved and completed within reason.

Rutvij Reply

I promise to walk with them, not only till they reach their goals. But to walk with them for many many upcoming years.

Michael Reply

I promise that what the money does for you and your family matters much more than the money itself.

Kim Reply

We promise to help people \’enjoy their financial journey\’

Dougal Reply

I promise my clients to provide them with shortcuts to becoming competent investors.

Marc Reply

My promise is to assist my clients in making their dreams a reality.

Ellen Reply

I help my clients make smart decisions about their finances so they can achieve those goals that are more important than money.

Beau Reply

We promise to remind our clients to follow the finacial plan we lay out together.

Rebecca Aldridge Reply

Take the weight off their shoulders.

Drew Browne Reply

I promise to help you make decisions today that you will not regret tomorrow.

David Wilson Reply

That i will help them understand the products they have and what they are intended to do

David Reply

We promise to help our clients get their entire financial house in order, and keep it that way year after year after year.

marc Reply

I promise to do the best I can to earn my customer\’s trust

Ken Reply

Unbiased opinion!

Rein Teune Reply

I\’ll promise my clients peace.

Wil Huizinga Reply

Helping you create expectations within the bounds of reality.

Paul Fevens Reply

My promise is also my mission statement.
\”My goal is to increase the value of others.\”
I borrowed it from a blog somewhere a long time ago.
I like it because its simple to remember and encompases the many aspects of what I do as a consultant – and naturally will generate clarifying questions. I think it should appeal to the right side of the brain.

    Marsha Odor Reply

    This is a wonderful statement! I\’d love to use it also.

Robert Blanusa Reply

To give my clients conflict free financial advice.

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