December 10, 2013How Much Do You Need to Know About Behavioral Finance?
Many advisors seem to think insights gleaned from behavioral finance can help them keep clients from making infamous mistakes like buying high and selling low, and not saving enough when they can to make retirement more pleasant. What’s your take on behavioral finance?
The more I can learn about specific biases and “behavioral” investor types, the more effective I am as an advisor.11% I get the gist of it, and that’s plenty to remind me that clients need cajoling to stay out of trouble.5% Theories of why people think and act the way they do don’t help me preserve or make money for my clients.
November 26, 2013Do You Use Holiday-Themed Marketing?
Some advisors write heartwarming client letters at year-end or reach out to prospects with suggestions for financial New Year’s resolutions. Do you use the festive season as a touch point?
Yes. Every year we lay the holiday cheer on thick, and our clients love it.71% We might refer to the holidays in outreach materials, but we don’t make a point of it.14% No. We feel it’s a stressful season for many, so we let it pass without comment.
November 19, 2013How Do You Feel About Finding Prospects Through Chance Encounters?
The person chatting with you in the coffee shop or at the train station might make a perfect client for your practice. Would you suggest an exploratory meeting?
I’m reluctant. There are a lot of wackos out there, so I prefer referrals and networking.50% I’m open, but I’d do some homework on the person before following up.50% It’s a great technique because the relationship starts on an easy footing.0% I wouldn’t dream of imposing on a stranger — and I don’t need the business that much.
November 12, 2013What Motivates You Most at Work?
Financial advisors go into the business for all kinds of reasons. What keeps you motivated to do your best, day after day?
Money. It’s important to me to make a good living.65% Satisfaction. It’s great to help clients achieve their financial goals.8% Excitement. It’s fun to try to stay a step ahead of the markets.4% Fear. In an uncertain economy, my job performance is all I can control.
November 5, 2013How Do You Like to Spend Your Time at Work?
The day has only 24 hours, and advisors’ tasks can feel limitless. Among possible productive activities, which do you prefer?
Enhancing marketing to bring in new clients.43% Doing more for existing clients.9% Improving technology to streamline operations.4% Making sure compliance i's are dotted and t's are crossed.9% Expanding our investment options for clients.
October 29, 2013Do You Have Clients You Just Can’t Stand?
Some advisors say they don’t work with clients who are jerks. What’s your tolerance for tough customers?
I send prospects who give me the heebie-jeebies to some other lucky advisor.15% I’ll work with almost any client. Getting along with everybody is a point of pride for me.8% Unfortunately, I can’t afford to turn prospects away; though I wish I could.77% Taking on clients who are a bad fit never works in the long run, so I don’t try.
October 22, 2013How Many Industry Conferences Do You Attend Per Year?
It’s peak meeting season, and advisors are jetting around the country to enjoy breakfast buffets and one another’s sage company. How many meetings do you get to?
As many as I can fit into my schedule — they’re great for learning and networking.7% Only those sponsored by organizations I belong to, like the FPA or Napfa.57% I’m choosy; I go where the agenda and speakers look most relevant to my practice.36% Frankly, most aren’t very good, so I attend them only if my firm requires it or I need CE credits.
October 15, 2013Will Poor Consumer Confidence Keep New Clients Away?
The government shutdown is depressing consumers, according to the latest reports, and that’s a bad omen for retailers in the crucial holiday season. Do you think faltering economic confidence will affect your business this quarter and into 2014?
Yes. Belt-tightening is natural at a time like this, and I expect fewer prospects to walk in the door.100% No. Hiring a financial advisor isn’t like buying a sweater. I’m forecasting growth at its usual pace.0% My business may see an impact this quarter, but I predict that things will return to normal by 2014.
October 8, 2013Should Poorer Clients Get Different Services?
The advice industry increasingly segregates mass-affluent clients from HNW and UHNW individuals, in some cases creating a separate platform for the less wealthy. Is that as it should be?
Sure. It stands to reason that people at different wealth levels have different needs.25% No. Clients deserve the same attention and thoroughness regardless of net worth.5% Right or wrong, it's what the industry has to do to stay profitable.
October 1, 2013What Are You Telling Clients About the Government Shutdown?
The standoff between President Obama and House Republicans over health care reform came close to shutting Washington down. What does it mean for clients?
I don’t mention it — and if they bring it up, I tell them it’s irrelevant to their financial plan.15% I quote Raymond James’s Jeff Saut: After 11 of the 17 shutdowns since 1970, the market rose.55% Once this game of chicken ends, the market will refocus on economic recovery and other good news.0% I tell them it’s not great for bonds, but the bond market wasn’t exactly going gangbusters anyway.