Put on your game face: Demonstrating your value to clients

The most successful advisors have the same mentality as top athletes and coaches. They all understand the value of preparation, but they also realize it’s meaningless unless they put their "game face" on during investor meetings and show their clients exactly how they have been adding value.

Think of your client meetings as a ‘game day’. You can work endless hours but the most important time you will spend is the time spent with your clients. That is when you can best demonstrate your value to them. Here are four factors to consider when demonstrating value to clients.

1. Listen

Building a strong relationship is key. When first meeting a client, sit back, let them talk, and listen. By listening you will understand more about what they aspire to financially and personally.

Try sitting down with a client and ask: "Tell me your story. Where did you grow up? How did you choose your career? How did you meet your spouse?" Keep quiet and take lots of notes. If you hear something interesting or something the client appears passionate about, ask additional questions if you didn't get all the details. It can be a little uncomfortable the first time, but you will learn more than you expected. If there are some gaps in the quantitative aspects of their situation, try your best to gather that information before or after the meeting. Your better clients are often your busiest clients and the last thing they want is to spend their time updating you on where all their money is and whether you have their correct postal code or e-mail address.

2. Knowledge is power

Once you really understand your clients,  the next step is to turn this knowledge into something tangible and tailored to their needs. That’s where the real value is added. What makes your clients competitor-proof and your biggest advocates is that you know more about them than anyone else. In essence, you now have an extensive scouting report on them.

That in itself demonstrates value as it shows that their advisor has delved deeply enough to make a plan tailored to their individual needs. 

You can use your new insights to provide your clients with the following benefits:

  • A financial plan to give the client clarity on how much they need to save to meet current spending needs and for retirement
  • Peace of mind that their family will be taken care of if anything were to happen to them
  • Income and tax situations have been considered
  • A will to ensure the clients wishes are followed through after they are gone

3. Go above and beyond

You can demonstrate your value to clients in many ways, but in the end, it's all about providing the personal touch. This is something clients will really appreciate and remember. When you show them that you have considered their needs and wants, your relationship will evolve and strengthen. Consider designating someone in your team the role of 'Director of First Impressions.'

"Before every meeting our advisor sends us a note thanking us for the time we are going to spend with him, along with a copy of our Roadmap, which outlines what we are going to review. When we arrive we are greeted by one of the staff and bought a copy of our favourite magazine. We always meet in a bright room with fresh flowers, cold water and a bowl of chocolates in case we missed lunch. By the time we start the meeting, we are always more relaxed than when we arrived and are ready to work on the tasks at hand."

4. Keep it simple

We need to keep reminding ourselves that most investors appreciate clear language and documentation.

Your client is not interested in looking at complicated statistics or reporting periods and benchmarks that are not relevant to them. Give them a simple health check and just make sure they are ‘on track’. Use all the knowledge you have, show your client exactly what is relevant to them, use your short period of time in your meeting to demonstrate value they will appreciate (put on your game face!)

To conclude, demonstrating your value to clients is all about helping them understand the work you do behind the scenes to protect their portfolio and put them at ease. Just as in sports, you could argue that winning over clients in this business is 30% preparation and 70% demonstration.