How an Advisor’s ‘Why’ Story Turned Into a $1.5 Million Client

Jul 6, 2022 / By Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE
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Telling prospects early on why you are committed to being an advisor can help you win new clients and make you more referable sooner.

I’d like to tell you a very short story about an advisor who used his ‘client-focused why’ to land a $1.5 million client.

While I’ve changed the name of the advisor to protect that person from his compliance department (smile!), all aspects of this story are true.

What is a ‘client-focused why’?

Your ‘client-focused why’ is, essentially, why you believe in your value—and how that is a benefit to your clients. It’s your emotional connection to your value, translated into a benefit to your client. In my 30 years of teaching this concept, I’ve found that the ‘whys’ that come with a little story are the most effective.

You may have entered this business because you like working with financial matters (maybe you have a finance degree), you can make good money, and you can have flexibility with your schedule. Those are all valid reasons for entering this profession, but that’s not the ‘why’ I’m talking about.

Your ‘client-focused why’ comes from that aha moment you had at some point when you realized your work is important and valuable to others—when you realized that you can have a meaningful impact on your clients, their families and sometimes their businesses. And you’re able to convey this in a manner where the client sees this as a benefit to them.

Your ‘client-focused why’ might stem from why you came into this business or something that happened to your parents, your grandparents, yourself or a good friend. Or it might come from observing the significant impact of your work on your clients. Your ‘client-focused why’ could involve why you moved from one firm to another or why after 20+ years in business, you believe in the importance of your work more now than ever before.

Why do the best ‘client-focused whys’ usually involve a short story or anecdote? Because people listen to stories differently, more intently, than the more logical things you discuss with them. That means this short story can impact how a prospect or client feels about you—hopefully in a positive way.

This is a 100% absolutely true story

Ted was meeting with two sisters who were interviewing several advisors to help them with their investments and overall financial planning.

As I had coached Ted, he introduced his ‘client-focused why’ to the sisters in the very first appointment. It went something like this:

In the beginning of my career, I worked for both regional and Wall Street brokerage firms where they would push the product of the day and impose stressful monthly sales quotas on the brokers.

This emphasis pushed the needs of the client into the backseat, often leaving the client exposed to a multitude of risks—and their ability to retire successfully up to chance.

This attitude and culture did not sit well with me. I believed at that time, and still do today, that both my clients and I deserved to sleep well at night and enjoy the peace of mind that came from a more holistic, client-centered approach. So, in 2005, I decided to break away from these greedy, self-serving companies to create true independence.

This move has allowed me to focus 100% on the specific needs and goals of my clients. I have designed and developed a process of conducting a thorough needs analysis to help clients determine and correct inefficiencies, unnecessary risks and missing components from their current planning. This process allows me to make sure that my clients have the greatest chance of achieving their best possible retirement.

After he finished, the first sister said, “That’s perfect!”

And the second sister said, “That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.”

They hired Ted as their advisor, had him develop their financial plan, and transferred $1.5 million to him, with more to come.

Your ‘client-focused why’ is a powerful and genuine tool

If someone is going to give you the responsibility of exercising influence over their current and future financial life, they want to get a sense of who you are—not just what you do. Your ‘client-focused why’ will do this for you.

It’s not uncommon for advisors to develop more than one ‘client-focused why,’ choosing the one that’s most relevant to the prospect’s situation.

I recommend you introduce this element of your story in your very first meeting with a prospect. It will help you win the business and make you more referable more quickly in a new relationship.

Bill Cates, president of Referral Coach International, works with financial professionals who want to build their practices by fully mastering the referral process and tapping into the lifetime value of their clients. You can connect with him on LinkedIn. Bill is offering Horsesmouth readers his latest Strategic Guide that focuses on the important topic of cloning your best clients, which you can get here.

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