May 4, 2018

Why your Professional Competence Matters very Little to the Clients?

Sanjeev Govila
CEO, Hum Fauji Initiatives

Why your Professional Competence Matters very Little to the Clients?

A prospect comes and sits right in front of you and you feel you’re doing a great job of converting him as a client by telling him about your financial acumen, stock picking capabilities and how you’ve made great money for your existing clients. But it worries you that he still seems to be frequently going into a ‘power-saver mode’.

Every advisor faces this dilemma especially in the early years of his profession. The natural impulse is to impress with all the superlatives about your prowess as a financial planner. But truthfully, the client doesn’t seem to care about them. What is it he cares about?

If we just keep our egos, our ‘big daddy’ attitude aside and think back on what kind of medical doctor did we like when we had an ailment, the answer would be right there staring at us. We went to reputed doctors who took a lot of money to give a crisp, cold audience and disposed us off in few minutes. Did we like them? Then, we came across doctors less reputed but talked to us, were humane, spent time listening to our real and imaginary fears. Would we go back to them? Obviously, we would all like to go to the latter breed.

Financial planning profession is not much different. Since the criticality of expertise is not as great as dealing with the human body, the tools available are almost similar. With all planners unlike in medical science, the client also has some knowledge of the financial field. It boils down to the relationship one can build with the client.

So how does relationship start, continue and strengthen over time? Its simply like developing a friendship with somebody you instantly liked:-

  1. Put yourself in the client’s shoes – See where it pinches and what is the most financially logical thing to do to ameliorate it. Clients want to talk to someone who attempts to understand their situation and genuinely empathises with them.
  2. Listen to the clients – Generally, planners are in a hurry to ‘say their piece’. Their monologue starts at the very first opportunity. The client doesn’t get to say much in front of the all-knowing Planner. Such relationships are generally doomed from the start.
  3. Admit that you don’t know some things – Who said that you’re the next Warren Buffet? Probably only you believe so – the client neither assumes nor wants that. ‘You are human and not a robo-advisor’ is a plus point and not minus. Read Patrick Lencioni’s ‘Getting Naked’ first.
  4. Aim to educate the clients without intimidating them – Clients want to know where we’re taking them and why. They don’t want to be Ph.D. in financial management but they aren’t naïve or stupid too. Tell them financial things in simple words and don’t intimidate them with jargons – the more complex how you convey it to them, the further away they move from you. Nobody wants such planner.
  5. Clients want solutions and not products – Few clients do initially talk about portfolio returns and product choices and market movements. They do so due to their previous experience. Actually, they care about how their financial problems can be solved by you. You address it from the beginning and you’ll find the jigsaw puzzle falling in place by itself.
  6. For God’s sake, keep in touch and provide good service – Nothing irks people more than being taken for granted. Pay them back with good service for the trust they have in you. And they will pay with furthermore trust and years of patronage.

Did you notice I haven’t spoken about your financial prowess anywhere? If a client comes to you, he’s already done groundwork, he knows you know more about money management than him. He’s basically come to check whether you are a good human to go ahead with, entrust with his hard-earned money and have a long relationship! Prove to him that you’re that guy…

This article was published in Network FP ThinkTank Magzine 2018 Edition “50 Ideas to implement by 50 Thought Leaders”

12 Thoughts to “Why your Professional Competence Matters very Little to the Clients?”

  1. Col Kamat says:

    True I have been with HFI & that’s the hallmark of Col Sanjeev Govila

  2. Vinod Vashisht says:

    Nice….what is more I find it being implemented by the author…..As a client I can not but endorse all that is said……Patience of Financial Professionals is always under test….and this is important…

  3. Col Jagdishsh Chandra says:

    Human touch is the most important thing that a client need. It’s sound business sense also.

  4. Capt. Asha Shinde Alagappa says:

    Wow, true to heart and genuine feeling put down in words be Col Sanjeev Govila. I am thankful that he understands what it means going to finance advisor. Actually, i personally would approach the 2nd breed of advisor only. Thanks for putting the real thought in black and white Sir. Look forward for more such clear cut advices.
    With Regards,
    Capt. Asha Alagappa.

  5. Shailendra shukla says:

    Well written article..
    Bottom line is not professinal competence…but NEED..of the client who have surplus funds and needs them to provide him returns keeping goals in mind…
    Thus requirement is of a wholistic advise and guide..who could assisst in doing so..atleast..70percent blind means rely 100percent..on the guide as one pics up the doc for ailment cure.
    NEED pulls a person for alternatives and action there on.

  6. Ajay Shukla says:

    Good Approach liked the Article

  7. col m g chary says:

    Correctly brought out


    Very simple and natural.

  9. Col JB Singh says:

    My personal experience with Col Govila’s professional acumen…. indeed very good and his financial planning is magnificent
    A trustworthy officer with poised heart helped me a lot

  10. Col H N Kaushal says:

    Dear Govila,
    Congrats; a very true and practical advice.
    Keep it up.
    col Kaushal

  11. Completely agree, all valid points.

    Thank you

  12. Mitesh says:

    I agree,

    I was thinking how will we strive in competition to Direct Plans, and Online Selling but a person to person meeting if very effective

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