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Take a leap of faith and appreciate your value

25 July 2019 Jonathan Faurie

Analysis paralysis is a debilitating thought process that not only affects clients, but it can also affect financial planners, no matter how qualified or successful they are. There are a lot of people that financial planners can turn into potential clients. However, in an economic and social climate where trust is a currency that is in short supply, how do financial planners separate the wheat from the chaff and target people who they will be able to convert into guaranteed clients?

Speaking at the recently held 2019 Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) Convention, Sandro Forte – Financial Planner, Professional Speaker and Strategic and Personal Development Coach – pointed out that success in the industry can be as easy as shifting focus and changing one’s mindset. 

To motivate, be motivated

“The basis of financial planning is your ability to motivate people. In order to motivate people, you need to be motivated. Life and circumstances change; therefore, we need to adapt. However, although we need to adapt, we need to overcome a paradigm of making specific excuses when it comes to recommending products that can benefit our clients,” said Forte. 

One of the biggest industry beliefs – which is currently very relevant – is that financial planners should not sell products or offer advice when the economy is in a downturn. However, Forte said that there is literally no better time to sell products that can offer financial protection than during these times. 

“Success in this industry is not easy and financial advisers/planners can find themselves in a mental space where they hare happy with the clients that they have. This is limiting your growth. Don’t be scared to approach other clients even if they say no. Understand where things go wrong, focus on the process and not the outcome; this is the bit that you can control,” said Forte. 

Position your advice
The world does not exist without context. One of the major criticisms of the financial services industry is that clients are sold products without fully understanding why they need the particular product or what the product does. 

“Positioning is vitally important and is something that is often overlooked by advisers and financial planners. Position yourself and your advice with your clients so that they know who they are dealing with. You need to like, trust and be able to work with each other,” said Forte. 

However, talking about finances is not something that comes naturally to people, particularly when it comes to having these conversations with a stranger who they have possibly only met over the phone. These conversations can often be tense and getting clients to open up about their finances can be very difficult. 

“This is a common problem advisers and financial planners face. What you need to point out to clients is that your advice to them is only as good (or as bad) as the quality of the information that is supplied to you. Bad information will lead to bad advice,” said Forte. 

Be bold

In addition to positioning your advice, Forte pointed out that advisers and financial planners need to position themselves and how they will be able to help their clients. 

“Be bold and value the advice that you provide to clients. Stop asking for referrals, how much success have you had with getting referrals that are generated at the point of sale? There is a direct correlation between activity and success in this industry, so do not be afraid to insist on speaking to family members or friends of your clients because they are likely to be key decisionmakers when it comes to financial decisions,” said Forte.

He added that by doing this, advisers and financial planners demonstrate their value and the fact that they are serious about helping the client reach financial security.  

Handle objections effectively

Humans are naturally predisposed to avoid rejection because it causes a certain level of discomfort. There is a reason why people are happiest when they are successful. 

However, when it comes to advice and financial planning, Forte pointed out that failure is one of the key learning elements that every adviser and financial planner needs to experience. 

“Financial planners will face a lot of objections when it comes to their product offering. Objections can turn into rejections. Some people just don’t immediately see the value of the financial planning process. When an objection is made, welcome the objection and do not cause conflict. If you cause conflict, clients will dig their heels in. Rather, create empathy, it is a basic building block of human interactions. Asking a logical question about why a client objects to a product will result in a positive outcome,” said Forte. 

Give great service

“There is a reason why McDonald’s, Starbucks and Apple are popular companies, and it has nothing to do with the product that they are offering. What makes these companies successful is that they offer unique experiences. Advisers and financial planners should do the same,” said Forte. 

Forte added that advisers and financial planners should get client service right and they would become an icon in the industry. 

“Your value is not based on the products that you sell, the price that you charge for them or the knowledge that you have about the industry. Create a valuable experience, nothing else matters,” said Forte. 

Editor’s Thoughts:
We may be living in a tough economic climate, and there may be a lot of advisers in the industry who are more qualified than you. But you have the advantage of being able to offer a unique experience that will entice clients to come back for more. The world is your oyster. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

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