NEW YORK -- What makes top advisors different from everyone else? “They go deeper,” David Richman, national director of Eaton Vance Advisor Institute, told advisors here at the IMCA Consultants Conference.

These advisors go deeper in all aspects of structuring their businesses, but most importantly, in their client conversations, Richman said.

Richman outlined eight ways top advisors create a better client experience. According to Richman, the most successful advisors:

1.  Understand what the HNW buyer is really buying. The wealthy investor is buying two things: trust and wisdom. The challenge is to create trust between the client and the advisor. “Do you make the client feel good?” Richman asked.

2. Have a keen sensitivity to “mindset.” “Don’t get sucker-punched by the bravado or façade,” he said. When it comes to difficult or first-time clients don’t judge them, instead work with them. “If you try to make them feel stupid, you are unlikely to move anywhere,” said Richman.

3. Are empathic communicators. Though it can be difficult to be empathic the first time you meet someone, it’s important to try to see problems through a client’s perspective. When walking into a meeting he advises planners to think: “I leave myself behind.”

4. Understand and clearly articulate “why me”? It is critical that an advisor figure out what they are passionate about and make it clear to the client. “The best identify ‘What is my unique brand,’” said Richman.

5. Position themselves deeply in the lives of clients. Richman asked every advisor to ask this question: “How does it feel to be your client? Does it feel like it’s a cold night out?” Advisors are in charge of what it feels like to be their client and they must strive to be a significant part of their clients’ lives.

6. Focus on the deeper question of purpose. Instead of simply pushing a client to make a decision, determine what their mindset is behind that decision. A top advisor will work with the client on figuring out why decisions are made.

7. Are present when not in the room. Successful advisors make sure that their clients understand them. When clients give financial advice to their friends, they will make reference to their advisor because of how clear he or she is.

8. Are NOT concerned about connecting to next-gen clients -- because they already are. “It is better to be discovered than announced,” Richman told advisors. Unfortunately, many advisors wait until it is too late to include the children of their clients in their firm. He joked that planners shouldn’t wait until the funeral of their clients to be introduced to their children. 

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