May 13, 2012

3 Secrets Your Financial Planning Clients Will Never Tell You

Sadique Neelgund

We humans are intriguing in the way we behave. We are utterly complex.

We call ourselves rational animals but the truth is that we are rationalizing beings.

Look at your financial planning clients and prospects. However hard you try to satisfy them with your products and services, they are always complaining.

Have you ever realized why your clients are not completely satisfied with you, and are always on a lookout for some other advisor who can bring their financial lives to order better than you?

Well, the answer to this lies with your clients itself – in the secrets that they don’t reveal to you.

And what are those secrets?

Here are three that your clients or prospects won’t ever (ever) reveal to you. But they still expect you to know it all (like they expect you to know ‘exactly’ when they will get financially free!).

1. I’m lazier than I would ever admit

We humans love simplicity, not just for the fact that we don’t have much time to deal with complex things, but also because we are inherently lazy beings.

We hate it when someone tries to be smart with us. We hate using long and unwinding instructions. We hate when we visit a website where we need to cross several layers of information before arriving at what we have been looking for.

We don’t like someone offering us more then 2-3 options for a product or service (term plan or term plan with 5 riders, equity funds or small cap funds, free financial planning or fee-based financial planning).

This is because we don’t have time to know which one is the best for us.

Our clients are also like us. They hate it when they see something that takes them extra effort to understand.

So keep things simple when you deal with your clients. Just appeal to their emotions (that they understand naturally), and not to their logic (that is difficult to apply).

2. I’m more selfish than I would ever admit

Yes, that’s true. All your client or prospect is worried about while dealing with you is how you can help him solve his problem – like “How can you bring my financial life to order, whatever mess I’ve brought it into?”

In fact, this selfishness is clearly justified by the fact that the most important word in any business is ‘you’, which refers to the customer.

‘You’ is indeed a magic word that all entrepreneurs must use…and in abundance…to get their prospects’ attention.

It is a word that all business owners need to be worried about.

‘How can I solve your problem?’ – is the mantra you as a financial advisor must repeat twice every morning.

After all, that is the only way your customers will appreciate you.

You can call them selfish, but this is the way they have always been.

3. I’m more insecure than I would ever admit

Yeah, your client hates to tell you that he is facing a problem and fear that it is going to get him into trouble very soon. Over that, your hard-selling will make him feel even more insecure.

Remember, every customer is a worried man (or woman). There is an uneasiness that lurks in his mind.

He wants to know from you…

  • Is this the correct solution to my financial problems?
  • Is this the right way to plan my financial life?
  • Is this the right investment for me?
  • If that is the case, is your service or advice the best source of the solution for me?

That is what you, as a financial advisor, need to help him out with.

If you can do this, the client or prospect will be more than happy to eat out of your hands.

How to deal with a lazy, selfish, and insecure client?

The only way you can deal with a client who is lazy, selfish, and insecure (yes, people can get that complicated!) is to tell him a story where he is the ‘hero’.

Tell him a story that he wants to believe, not what you want him to believe.

Tell him how all his financial problem can be solved, NOT how only you can bring his financial life to order.

Don’t convince him to buy an investment product that he doesn’t want or need. Instead, help him overcome his objections to buy the product.

If you are able to do this, you can conquer your most complex and complaining customers out there.

Vishal is the Founder & Chief Tribesman of Safal Niveshak, and an independent financial analyst & blogger. He also runs a content writing & copywriting initiative called Copywriter In India.

12 Thoughts to “3 Secrets Your Financial Planning Clients Will Never Tell You”

  1. Sandip Mukherjee says:

    Nice article. Very good insight. A completely different angle to analyze clients’ mindset. It is really helpful. Thanks for writing this article and thanks Sadique for sharing this with us.

    • Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Sandip! You see, a ‘client’ tends to be the most complex and complaining person out there.

      So it’s important to first get into his mind before even making a pitch for business. 🙂

  2. Roshni Nayak says:

    Nice article Vishal, thanks, your article very aptly explains that a practicing CFP needs to apply the concept of behavioural finance to finanical planning, solid personal finance knowledge is not enough….FP goes beyond numbers…!

  3. Chenthil Iyer says:

    Hi Vishal,

    I really appreciate the insights you have developed thru your personal experiences. However I’d like to put in a word of caution. The 3 secrets seems to be a blind generalisation and I truly believe that people are much smarter than what we think they are! Most often we compare a financial planner to a doctor. Would you appreciate a doctor who gives us simple recommendations or effective recommendations even if they are complex? Would you like an advisor who calls a spade a spade irrespective of whether you feel good about it or a sycophant who is a yes man to whatever you say? Lets all pledge to be honest with ourselves and with our clients and let the right clients choose us instead of worrying about how to convert every prospect into a client. We’re here to build long term relationships and not a revolving door business..And that requires correct though complicated solutions with the right level of optimisation, straight talk and less of sales talk..

    • Hi Chenthil, I completely agree with your thoughts. In fact, the concluding part of my article conveys this very aspect. I assumed here that the financial planner is selling an honest, genuine service after understanding the needs of the client. What my post tried to capture was the consumer’s psychology.

      I, as a consumer of any service, go through the same cycle of laziness, selfishness, and insecurity.

      As I wrote in the reply to one comment above – “The client is not a moron, she’s your wife!” So treat her that way…and you’ll have a happy, fulfilling, and win-win relationship.

  4. C J GOPINATH says:

    Good article Mr.Vishal.
    As the saying goes “Life is really simple,we insist on making it complicate”

  5. premalbthakkar says:

    Hi Vishal good article …

  6. askgeo says:

    Getting to know ur client is science, he wont reveal any of the problem immediately, most of us even though so called financial planner have product selling in their mind, clients are not fools with the kind of kbowledge avaliable he takes some time to open up, he may pay you the first year fees but still he would be testing is a skill to get all the details. Trust will not happen in 2 or 3 meeting.

  7. abhinav0115 says:

    Hi Vishal

    Very nice thoughts expressed by you. It sure is every financial planners’ experience, some time or the other but the way you have brought our the same in your post is quite appreciable.

  8. Nice & informative article., Thanx for sharing.

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