Giving you the right track to run on

A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success

CHRISISM #23 - Your Primary Role

22 August 2016

Your Primary Role

I remember when I first joined the business (back in the days when selling wasn’t a dirty word!), I was told “If you position yourself as an adviser, then people will thank you for your advice and leave but if you position yourself as a salesperson, then people will expect to be sold to and, more often than not, they will be disappointed if they are not!”

Now I know times have changed somewhat, especially in our industry, but let’s be honest – the only person out there who isn’t “selling” something (even if it’s only themselves) is a newscaster, and now with the competition for TV news ratings, even that’s not true! What I do know is that most people will not become your client because of your products and services, but because of the person you are and the role you are going to play in their lives.

So, as a financial planner, what is your primary role for your clients? When I ask this question at workshops, the most common answers I get are coach and educator, both of which are fine but they open the door for lots of good ideas in theory but not in practice, and that is exactly why there are so many educated derelicts out there.

I believe the 2 key words when describing our primary role for our clients are facilitator and disciplinarian. Since my very early days in the business, I have believed that my primary role for my clients is to make it as easy as possible for them to make the right decisions for their financial future. Let’s face it – financial planning isn’t rocket science, is it? As the infamous Billy Connolly once said when questioning the need for all the books and DVDs that have been produced around diet and exercise:- “It’s called eat less and move more – what more do you need to know?!” I have a similar view on financial planning:- “It’s called spend less, save more and protect your income along the way – that’s financial planning!”.

Because the right decisions for our clients in relation to their financial future are not normally rocket science, we need to keep things as simple as possible for our clients, but let’s also have a look at the disciplinarian role that we need to play for our clients. Back in the 1990s I shared a unit with a guy who was a personal fitness trainer and over a few years I came to realise how similar the roles we played for our clients were, the only difference being that a fitness trainer is in charge of their clients’ physical fitness, whereas a financial planner is on charge of their clients’ financial fitness, and the main reason why clients are happy to pay for a quality service in both fields is because they all lack self discipline, and whether it be getting a client out of bed at 6.00am to go running in the rain or making a client commit to allocating money to their future or to protecting their income that they would much rather be spending, we are there to make sure people are doing what they know they should be doing and sooner rather than later, as that way it’s easier.

The Risk Workshop by Chris Unwin

Are you a financial adviser who would like all of your clients to have appropriate types and levels of personal protection? But perhaps you feel you need a more structured and client friendly engagement process?