Do you have a company philosophy?
Well, of course I do. It’s on my website.
But do you really abide by this philosophy? Have all your advisers internalised this philosophy?
Financial planning as we know is guided by a standardised process but there is a significant amount of freedom in precisely what financial planning recommendations are crafted and implemented for your clients. Regardless of whether it is health insurance or a savings plan or a purely investment-based plan, every adviser has his or her own way of meeting the client’s needs. So how then will a client know if you’re the right adviser for them?
In a hyper-competitive, often saturated world of financial advisers, there is no room for complacency. Crafting a financial planning philosophy that perfectly articulates your beliefs will help clients understand the perspective of the adviser they might potentially work with. The aim here is not to write a sensitive, politically correct statement, but it is to show clients that the kind of recommendations you provide directly correlates with your philosophy.
When you explain your choice of recommendation, reiterate your financial planning philosophy allowing your client to make the link and think, ‘Alright, this bloke might just know what he’s doing.’ To find people who have the same beliefs as you is a pivotal fundamental step in forming a positive long-term relationship.
The two important things to keep in mind when crafting a financial philosophy are customer satisfaction and transparency.
Customer satisfaction can only be derived when we are customer-centric in everything that we do. Customer-centric means placing customers at the centre of our culture, products and value proposition. Not only is customer satisfaction a leading indicator to measure client loyalty, identify unhappy clients and increase revenue, but it is also a key point of differentiation that allows your firm to attract more clients in this competitive industry.
“CUFFS (customer-centric, useful, fast, friendly and simple) is part of our corporate value system, to get all our staff moving towards our vision of providing consistent customer-centric services and experiences. Since then, we have seen our satisfaction scores move up, so we know our efforts are paying off as we continuously strive to deliver the best for our customers.” – Mr Tan
“We can never be perfect, but it is when our intentions are true, and when our customers sense that we are being truthful, transparent and have their interests at heart – that’s when we create lifelong customer relationships.” – Mr Tan
The best approach to maintain transparency with clients is to step outside of the business realm and into the human realm. Transparency is a key tool in pulling back the curtain of your firm. When you stop putting up a charade to cover tracks, or stop providing vague answers, clients are able to trust you more.
Making mistakes is part of being human, and others can recognise and empathise with that. Given that every client is different, you as an adviser are required to take the effort to understand the financial situation and aspirations to accurately recommend relevant products. You also need to regularly review the policies openly and make changes to ensure that your clients are on the right track to achieving their goals.
Establishing an overall vision and philosophy in a company is the easiest way for advisers to ensure alignment of values between them and clients, and also, to avoid a mismatch that can result in a lot of wasted time and effort. When you clearly articulate your philosophy, and make it known to everyone, you will start to attract like-minded people. Since we all like to do business with those who share our fundamental beliefs, this is an absolute win!