You Provide More Value than You Realize
This is the latest installment of a regular column to answer questions from advisors who are considering transitioning to an RIA model. To see Brad’s previous articles, click here. To submit your question, please email Brad here.
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
I am not a practice management guru, but the value proposition I provide parallels the value being provided by advisors. Many don’t give themselves credit for the value they’re providing.
You do not need a diagnosed case of imposter syndrome to be selling your value short.
Imposter syndrome is the well-known condition roughly defined as an internal fear you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.
Do you fear that your knowledge and experience don’t provide enough value to your clients and prospects? Do you fear that your fees are too high for the value you (allegedly) deliver?
Even if you fall short of this level of concern, I challenge you to consider the full extent of your value. Equally important – and I will leave it to the marketing gurus to opine on – is communicating that value to your clients.
Consider my business and its parallels to the value you deliver as an advisor.
I help financial advisors learn everything there is to know about why and how to transition their practice to the RIA model. Here are three examples of where I add intangible value, which you likely do as well:
The power of your network
There are hundreds of solution providers supporting the RIA ecosystem. Part of my value proposition is to not only know who the providers are and how they compare but the key contacts. I’ve built countless relationships over the years, which by extension my clients benefit from. Being able to identify and connect my clients to industry participants is not something that can be replicated via a Google search. It takes considerable time and energy to build those relationships. There is immense value in that.
Consider the network you’ve built.
If your client wants to buy or sell a house, do you know quality realtors you can introduce them to?
If your client needs new car insurance, do you have insurance contacts?
If your client needs a trust created, do you have attorneys to refer them?
Mortgages, estate documents, home renovations. Anything with a meaningful financial impact on your clients’ lives, do you have trusted people you can refer them to?
You likely have many of these contacts. You might view this simply as people you know, and perhaps it seems no big deal to make those connections. Never underestimate the value in having that Rolodex.
The conversations you’ve had with clients
Consider an advisor who reaches out to me because they want to leave their broker/dealer and move into the RIA model. From the array of conversations I’ve had with advisors over 20+ years, I’ve spoken to many advisors who have made that exact move. I have a unique perspective and context I wouldn’t be able to provide without those prior conversations. Hence, my clients benefit accordingly.
Consider the client stories you can share as well.
Assume one of your clients is concerned they haven’t saved enough for their children’s education. While walking them through planning projections will be helpful, sharing a first-hand recollection of similar scenarios you’ve helped other clients with will likely add much-needed peace of mind.
You likely have not considered how often you can reference prior occurrences from your tenure in the profession. Not only does that provide you with unique expertise on the matter, but it also provides your clients with peace of mind that, again, cannot be obtained via a Google search. There is value in that.
Your tenure in the profession
Related to the prior point are the experiences you’ve built up by being “in the game.”
In a recent article in Advisor Perspectives, I opined on my experience going through the ’08-’09 downturn. I was in a business development role at a large independent broker/dealer at the time and saw firsthand the resulting movement of advisors changing firms and affiliation models. Having “lived it” gives me a more valuable perspective that anyone that has only read or been told about what happened. I was in the trenches during it and can relay those experiences accordingly.
As we are now in another market downturn, there is value in me sharing how such conditions impact advisors.
This resonates perfectly with those of you around during the market cycles of the last few decades. Reassuring your clients by sharing your firsthand experiences has significant value. For anxious clients, hearing your stories and knowing you “have seen this before” is very reassuring.
Consider how often you have referenced a market occurrence from the past, a period of changing interest rates, or uncertain political turmoil. A firsthand story is often more valuable to a client than any projection a financial planning tool can spit out. There is value in the stories you have to share.
Never underestimate the value you provide. Stories from the past, people you have added to your network along the way, having lived in the trenches of years gone by, all might seem like no big deal to you. Heck, many of your advisor peers have seemingly similar experiences. But for clients with none of it, there is tremendous value to be had.
Brad Wales is the founder of Transition To RIA, a consulting firm uniquely focused on helping established financial advisors understand everything there is to know about WHY and HOW to transition their practice to the RIA model. Brad utilizes his nearly 20 years of industry experience, including direct RIA related roles in compliance, finance and business development, to provide independent advice regarding how advisors can benefit from the advantages of the RIA model.