Why Fiduciaries Need to Embrace Sales

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Fiduciary and sales are two words that you don’t hear in the same sentence in the independent advisory space. What do you think of when you hear the term “salesperson”? Insincere smiles? Over-the-top handshakes? If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Over the years, salespeople have gotten quite a negative reputation.

But we’re all salespeople in some sense, fiduciary financial advisors included.

In the day and age of the fiduciary standard of care, many investment advisors shrink away from the word “sales.” Seeing as advisors were historically a part of the commission-based model, which almost always put the best interest of the client second, it’s understandable that being salesy no longer feels aligned with their role and responsibilities. While the shift from salesperson to fiduciary is ultimately an extremely positive thing for the investor/client, the planning profession has not come to terms with the necessity of prospecting to build a client base and grow a business – a new and modern form of sales.

As we near the end of another year and begin to map out goals and priorities for 2022, take the time to critically think about the role of sales in your business. While we may have shied away from being salesy in the past, sales means being able to recognize a need and offer a solution. That means being able to identify your clients’ needs and objectives and follow up with a plan and/or solution that is better than those of your competitors. There is nothing shameful in striving to solve a client’s problem or achieve a client’s goal.

How can fiduciaries warm up to the concept of sales? Here are some lessons.