What Every Financial Planner Ought To Know About Adding Value Even When (Potential) Clients Rather Do It Themselves

empowerment

Most financial planners sell advice. Because people are willing to pay for it. It’s as simple as that.

This system worked in the old world. Because there was no alternative.

Fortunately, we now live in the age of DIY.

Do It Yourself.

Fortunately, because now, people have the (free) online tools to create their own, new financial planning experience. Which ignites innovation in our profession.

Is this a threat for your financial planning business? Yes, it can be.

Yet, there is an alternative.

You spend less than 10 hours per year with your client – and 8756 without. So does your client experiences your fee as “OK” while there is a free or low-cost-alternative available?

What if the financial planner stops selling advice? And starts selling empowerment?

Imagine if the financial planner – acting as a consultant – prescribing all of the online tools for his clients so that they’ll become the most empowered CEO of their own financial health.

Does it work?

You might think, does this work? It depends.

The financial services industry doesn’t like changes. Because changing means admitting that what you did in the past could be done better.

It also means that people might not like your new ideas. Therefore it’s hard to persuade this group to join you in your new financial planning business.

Instead, you’ll find more fertile ground among seekers, among people who desire the feeling they get when they’re part of a vibrant, growing community, but who are still looking for that feeling.

I’m not talking about disaffected outsiders. Loners who work hard not to affiliate.

I’m talking about people at the fringes, individuals who might jump from one thing to another with less fear, and people who are fed up with the status quo.

They are waiting for things to change.

Do you think that people like to see a change in the financial services industry?

If so, you might want to know what the financial planner has to do to change things. Here are 3 thoughts:

Stop managing, start leading

Managing is about manipulating resources to get a known job done. Burger King franchises hires managers. They know exactly what they need to deliver and they are given resources to do it at low cost. Managers manage a process they’ve seen before, and they react to the outside world, striving to make that process as fast and as cheap as possible.

As the word says, wealth management is managing.

The alternative is leading. So, how about wealth-leading?

Leadership is about creating change that you believe in.

Leaders have followers. Managers have employees.

Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

Change is frightening, and to many people who would be leaders, it seems more of a threat than a promise. That’s too bad, because the future belongs to our leaders, regardless of where they work or what they do.

Stop advising, start listening

What most people want from their financial planner is something that’s rare to find these days: an expert who listens.

Why is it so hard to find (financial) experts who listen?

Because most experts are eager to tell their clients what they know.

Telling what you know is a poor strategy when your competitor is Mr. Google. Because he knows a lot more than you do.

Stop selling, start empowering

No one expects that the financial planner rings the client’s doorbell or call on their birthday. It wasn’t feasible. But now, the cost of interaction has plummeted. Everyone can thank someone by texting “thnx” from their smartphone between meetings, or send an @reply on Twitter. All at minimal cost.

This means that every planner must recognize that client service and building relationships is now their primary business. That’s why content creation becomes imperative, the initial engagement. When you are transparent and engaging, people will be grateful.

People are grateful because the planner empowers them to use the best online solutions or products with his content.

He shows them the way. He guides.

First with a (free) financial plan. And then with clear and powerful instructions to the low-cost-online-solutions.

But what if you have a question?

No problem, just contact the financial planner. You can call him at each time. Because people pay the financial planner for guidance, empowerment and real value. By a monthly or annual payment.

There is a catch. The financial planner must always work to deliver real value to his clients. Because otherwise the client will wander off and leave eventually.

What if selling empowerment not only means creating great value for a better world, but also ignites a new businessmodel in our financial planning profession? Would that be innovation?

Empowerment – not advice – may very well be the best solution in the new world.

Are you afraid to change?

Do you think that empowerment won’t sell?

Then take a look at the next 11 reasons why people rather do it themselves than hiring a personal financial planner. Or shoud I say a financial empowerer:

1.

I feel secure in putting my hard-earned life savings in a mailbox and sending them to total strangers

2.

I prefer the service I receive from faceless clerks or a computer screen

3.

I have plenty of time to think of what’s really important in my life and how I want to feel

4.

I prefer being thought of as a computer entry rather than a person

5.

I feel online companies that sell to a mass market care about me and understand my specific financial goals

6.

I have nerves of steel. I don’t need a second opinion

7.

I trust my online advisor immediately. I prefer to hand over my assets with two clicks

8.

I am not willing to pay for professional services. In addition to making my own financial plan, I also diagnose and treat my own medical problems, represent myself in legal matters, and file my own taxes

9.

I don’t like probing questions. They make me think too much about what really matters to me

10.

The best solution is the cheapest solution

11.

The best solution is the fastest solution

If you’re not afraid to change, you might want to answer this question:

How are you empowering your clients?

Please, leave your answer here below in the comment field. Thank you very much.

Together we can make financial planning matter.

Ronald Sier

 

Ian Richards

Loved the I am not willing to pay for professional services line, I also diagnose my medical. some really thought provoking stuff.

Kayla

I didn’t know that most financial planners sell advice because people are willing to pay for it. My parents bought a lot of properties and don’t know how to manage it. My aunt suggested having a financial planner and shared this article with them. It says to find an expert who listens.

Lea Schodel

I love the concept of being a financial empowerer: listening to my clients and leading them to make smarter financial decisions. We all have the opportunity to position our value in any way we choose and the more we understand our clients’ needs and wants, and can align our services and communication with these, the more trust and advocacy we will gain from our clients. It’s an exciting time in this industry if you’re prepared to go your own way and do things a bit differently. An an adaption of M. Gandhi’s quote, “be the change you wish to see in the industry!”

Lea Schodel

What a fantastic article. I love the concept of being a financial empowerer: listening to my clients and leading them to make smarter financial decisions.
We all have the opportunity to position our value in any way we choose. The more we understand our clients’ needs and wants, and can align our services and communication with these, the more trust and advocacy we will gain from our clients. It’s an exciting time in this industry if you’re prepared to go your own way and do things a bit differently. An an adaption of M. Gandhi’s quote, “be the change you wish to see in the industry!”

Lea Schodel

What a fantastic article. I love the concept of being a financial empower, listening to my clients and leading them to make smarter financial decisions.
We all have the opportunity to position our value in any way we choose. The more we understand our clients\’ needs and wants, and can align our services and communication with these, the more trust and advocacy we will gain from our clients. It\’s an exciting time in this industry if you\’re prepared to go your own way and do things a bit differently. An an adaption of M. Gandhi\’s quote, \”be the change you wish to see in the industry!\”

jeff

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Marty Morua

Though I\’ve heard that analogy before, it was refreshing to hear (rather, read) it again Ron; Those who self-cure themselves rather than going to a doctor, or those who prepare their own tax-returns rather than going to an accountant.

The list can be long – Repair your own shoes, or go to a shoemaker. Fix your own car engine or go to a mechanic. Fix your leaky roof or………….. well, you get the idea.

Though the on-line (or automated) financial advisor sites do indeed have value, the human connection of being able to speak to a financial advisor is powerful.

Competition (especially newly invented concepts) forces those already on the playing field to be that much better.

Jose

Ronald,

Once again you scored high. The flood of do-it-yourself mentality and attitude is a bit down to us \”financial planners\” who many times concentrate in selling products instead of providing real value financial planning (professionally and skillfully joining the dots which must come from the customer). If we follow the meaning financial planning is about design and shape of someone\’s aims and objectives which happen to be in financial matter. This does not mean that we exonerate all other areas which directly and indirectly link or connect to this one. If I sit down with a prospect there is no way I can even recommend a plan or strategy if I am not able to listen very carefully to spoken and unspoken words, issues, concerns, dreams, drivers, etc etc. I believe the difference today, as you quite rightly pointed out, is that clients or prospects are making better use of the information available to them. We have been very good in concealing info to protect our own interest (like lawyers).
In summary, welcome to information age revolution…

Paul Fevens

Awesome summary. This will help get right to the point with the do-it-yourselfers and in particular the partial do-it-yourselfers. Refocus on relationship and service. An internet service cannot be aware of or respond to life events.

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