SAN DIEGO -- If you're a career changer or just starting out, it can be challenging to find the best way to show clients you're the right advisor to work with. From elevator pitches to setting the scene, a pair of advisors from AIG Advisor Group network offered new advisors at the network's W Forum here several tips on appealing to new prospects and clients.

"We have to constantly remind clients what our value is," Judy Rubin, vice president at Plaza Advisory Group in St. Louis, told attendees. "If you're new to the business or if you're struggling right now, you just need to keep going and figure it out," she said

Both she and Patti Brennan, president of Key Financial in West Chester, Pa., became advisors late in life, they said. Rubin joked that she was "fired as a housewife" and joined the industry following a divorce; Brennan started her career as a registered nurse.

Get extra help by "using the resources that your broker dealer has and just keep at it," Rubin said. "It's really worth it once you get the ball rolling."

The pair offered a few ideas for advisors struggling to connect with clients.


Think about your elevator pitch -- the first way you present yourself to clients, Rubin said.

Rubin said she sometimes starts by comparing herself to Mary Poppins, noting that she wants to "swoop in with the magical umbrella and carpet bag of tricks" to help clients. But she then shifts gears to present a pitch that "is a bit more formal."

Rubin's clients see a detailed PowerPoint presentation that shows clients each member of the team, the services they offer, the firm's investment offerings and a breakdown of the research reports they make available to their clients.


Brennan, by contrast, said she starts by asking clients to describe their needs in general -- and then dives in to get a deeper understanding of any assets that a client is bringing with them.

"What was it that led you to this portfolio? Was there anything that happened to you in the past with a prior advisor?" Brennan said. "It's so important when we recognize we can't solve internal issues with external solutions. Make sure you understand your clients and let them know that that's really important to you."

It's also important to recognize the importance of a client's choice to confide in you, she added.

"When people come in and they begin to express their deepest fears, talk about the things they really want to accomplish, they're exposing themselves. There's a vulnerability to that," Brennan said.


Brennan also urged advisors to consider the nonverbal ways they communicate: The vibe of their office, the appearance of the team, and the way their staff operates.

Also remember that when communicating remotely, tone of voice and written communications are particularly important, she said.

Brennan recalled a time that she had a "cranky call," where she noticed her tone of voice on the phone was sending the wrong message. "It wasn't necessarily the message that I wanted him to receive," said Brennan. "Be conscious of the messages and how you come across."

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