Successful Financial Advising and the Importance of Preparation

First impressions make all the difference, and the key to a good first impression is preparation. There are no shortcuts; you have to do your due diligence. Forgetting a name, or suggesting an investment that does not match your client’s goals in the least…these are all easy mistakes, but they could sour the initial encounters and jeopardize your ongoing relationship of trust.

Why Preparation Pays Off

Ultimately, proper preparation shows that you care and are interested in a prospective client. Whether you know a client personally–or they were referred to you by someone you trust–there’s no guarantee that they will sign on as your client. You also need to do the proper research to lay the groundwork of trust.

While confidence and personality can get you a long way toward engaging some clients, they won’t be enough to carry the day. When you start a meeting or a phone call, if you haven’t done your homework, it could cost you a client.

For referrals, don’t forget to double-check the names of the potential client and the mutual acquaintance who referred them. Be sure to research your potential prospect’s background and basic work information. Doing the requisite research will help you avoid tripping up on basic information that could cause you to lose credibility with them. It is the details that can make or break a deal.

Proper planning doesn’t just help acquire contacts. It also helps you begin and retain a business relationship. It shows that you respect your client and that you have their best interest in mind. While clients will eventually share useful details about their personal and financial lives during the onboarding process and beyond, it is still important that you come into your first meeting with a solid idea of who they are.

With a basic understanding of your client, you can tailor your services to them. This way, you can develop a useful strategy that will prove your professionalism as well as begin building mutual trust from the get-go.

What Are Some Ways that You Can Prepare?

In addition to learning about your client, you should learn about the market that your potential client operates. This will steer your financial advice. Here’s how you can learn more:

Social Media

While there is no need to cyberstalk, social media offers lots of valuable information and resources about potential clients. If it’s someone that you have mutual contacts with, you can double check names of spouses or businesses to help you be more personable.

Social media can also offer information as to personality, mutual interests, or industry trends. It can help you get into similar online circles and make relevant conversations. There isn’t any need to get too personal, just enough to get a basic understanding of the person that you are looking to work with as well as information about the industry that they work in. This will give you a leg up in building a good relationship and tailoring what services you have to give.

Industry Reports

Take some time to get to know the industry that your client works in as a whole. Take a look at recent research, recent changes, and developments, as well as trends and points of interest. This can help you begin a conversation smoothly and inform your efforts to put together a sound investment plan.

Account Analysis

If you have access to public records for a company’s financials or other access to a client’s account, then you can take some time to look into it before the first call or meeting.

If there are public company financials, you might look at the company’s growth or other service offerings, then you might put together a packet of research materials to present at your meeting. This tells the client you’ve taken them seriously–even before they stepped into the room–and will continue to do so.

Doing the upfront work will ultimately help you craft an effective approach to each client, show that you care about them and their goals, and get your relationship off on the right foot.

Need advice on how to market yourself as a financial advisor? As a life coach for financial planners, I offer independent coaching to help you grow your business and build the life that you want.

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