Salesmanship vs Professionalism

salesmanship-vs-professionalismIn the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the financial services industry was largely transactional in nature with most advisors focused on selling as many products as possible to as many people as possible.  It was a time when advisors with polished sales skills ruled the roost and long term client relationships were the exception, not the rule.

Extinction-Level Financial Events

One constant in life is change and that adage is especially true in the financial advisory profession.  The Black Monday crash in 1987, the Dotcom bubble of 1999-2000 and the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 were watershed events that disrupted many traditional financial models and forced a monumental shift in client expectations.  A new breed of investor appeared that wanted more than just small talk and product pitches from their advisors.  They wanted consultative, problem-solving advisors who could not only interpret the economy, but empathize with them on a more human, emotional level.  They demanded advisors who valued their feelings, goals and aspirations as much if not more than their assets.

Enter The New Breed Of Financial Advisor

The value proposition of today’s new breed of advisor is totally client centric.  It is no longer about the products they sell but rather the information and services they provide that help clients reach their ultimate financial objectives.  Today’s professional advisors recognize the importance of behavioral finance and engage in more intimate relationships with their clients to better understand them as individuals and the things they value most.  Top advisors adjust their vision to see the world through their clients’ eyes which allows them to identify and proactively react to the cognitive and emotional biases that impact their clients’ decision-making processes.  The best advisors are more than just “good shepherds of assets.”  They are trusted confidants who have earned that right by forging client relationships focused more on the dynamics of the people they serve than the money they manage.

The Advisor Of The Future

The product peddling solo advisor of yesteryear is outmoded.  The requirements of today’s financial markets are accelerating beyond the capabilities of many of today’s best advisors which is the catalyst for yet another change now impacting the profession – the formation of advisory teams.  Studies have revealed that advisor teams are out performing solo advisors in key metric areas including client retention, acquisition of new assets and enhanced levels of client service.  Next month’s Coach’s Corner will explore this teaming trend with valuable insights on how to build a powerful advisor team.

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