Advisors: Nobody Cares About Your Process

If you want to attract new clients, spend time talking about the benefits that people will have by working with you. Too many advisors talk mostly about their process. The problem with that is people don't care about your process.

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Comments (9)
Good points Steve. While I mostly agree, I think there is a time and a place for describing HOW advisors achieve the benefits they deliver. If they are delivering great returns but their process involves taking risky bets, that is something most clients will want to know (or at least SHOULD want to know). By allowing some space to describe their methodology, advisors can also make sure that potential new clients are on board with their approach and not likely to jump ship the first time things get rocky. I don't think advisors should lead with this information, but it should be a part of the mix.

Neil Rhein
Bull's-eye Financial Communications
Posted by Neil R | Thursday, September 27 2012 at 9:09AM ET
Hi Steve -

I agree with your point in principle, but do you have any research or surveys that back up your argument?
Posted by mike m | Thursday, September 27 2012 at 9:12AM ET
I certainly don't want clients hiring me because of performance. This author states what a prospect wants is to be shown is results. (And yes our firm outperforms), those prospects are the first to leave at any sign of underperformance.

If I tell a prospect 'why they should hire us' and only say: because we are independent, fee only, use stocks and etf's, use a 3rd party custodian; we have experience, available for meetings, return calls promptly, look at my beautiful shingles on the wall; member fpa, cfa and we will reduce your stress = how does this differentiate me from the competition?

I think you have to explain your process. I don't think you need to go into every detail of the chef's preparation (slaughter house to the plate), but I think it is ok to discuss the highlights. This way the prospect will have an understanding of what you are doing and how you are different. They can understand some of the risk in your strategy. Part of why a prospect hires you is for your strategy. For a stereotypical 90 year old widow, keep it brief, for a pitch to a CFO, this person may want more detail.
Posted by bryan s | Thursday, September 27 2012 at 9:29AM ET
I agree with your point if generating new business without considering whether the prospect will be a good fit for our services is my objective. But no advisor can be all things to all people. Over time, as a practice grows, advisors discover they work very well with certain types of clients irrespective of net worth. In my experience, my brightest and best clients ask me about our process, our security checks, our privacy policies, and many other hard questions that go to substance rather than form. I find that people who desire bottom line outcomes, solutions, and a better life typically lack staying power during downturns and indulge in magic thinking rather than jumping in to do the hard work they need to do to change their process so they can maximize their resources. Discussing process can be an effective way to uncover behavior characteristics in a prospect that will ultimately eat up staff time and result eventualy firing the client. I would rather disqualify a prospect rather than terminate a client.
Posted by Bedda D | Thursday, September 27 2012 at 9:37AM ET
Steve , may be I have not correctly understood your thought....but I PARTIALLY agree with your opinion ...and I have one question for you:
you say "I want to know what he(the advisor) is going to cook for me "..but me , as an advisor , do not know what I will cook for you, simply because I do not know what you need, what you want and what you like ...I have not already ready "dishes" in my mind/pockets.....if I will cook anything I will begin to cook only after I (and , often, the Client) will have discovered what the client prefers and known what can hit his "stomach" . I totally agree when you say : no technical discussions . So, what to promise? I have not a solution good for all . I do not make miracles , I only can try to know you and to help you to know what you want before buying any "dish"...as usual this is a personal opinion.
Posted by Giorgio C | Thursday, September 27 2012 at 10:28AM ET
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