It’s been said that those who get great results do so because they have a clearly defined purpose. Do you know yours?

I believe clients deserve a wealth manager who has a clearly defined sense of purpose.  But I also believe that most wealth managers don’t discuss what their purpose is on a regular basis, if ever.

Now, when I say purpose, I’m not talking about things like I want to be the best financial advisor, I want to qualify for an awards trip, or even something like I want to be the wealth manager to CEOs.

What I mean by purpose is the why you do what you do. For example, how would you feel if you could say to yourself:  My clients took my advice and followed their financial plan and now their son will have the money he needs for his college education.  Or My clients took my advice and followed their financial plan and they can finally take that getaway vacation they’ve always dreamed about.

Now, to me that’s purpose.  

Most advisors unintentionally build relationships with their clients based on investments, stock market averages, performance, etc.  But talking only about these things does not touch clients emotionally. I’m not suggesting that you should not talk about stock market performance, but don’t make that the focus of your conversations with your clients. 

Think about your recent meetings with clients. Were you just talking about performance or were you also telling stories about clients who recently bought their vacation home because of the plan they built with you? Trust me, those kinds of conversations build stronger relationships than only talking about market performance or portfolio allocation, although both are important.

So, if you haven’t already, identify and document your purpose. Here’s an example to help you get started:

My purpose is in helping my clients decide what is most important to them,  and then creating a plan to help them achieve it—whether it entails educating their children or grandchildren, retirement without running out of money, starting a new business or nonprofit, caring for aging parents, supporting charitable causes, traveling or some other meaningful goal.

Once you have defined your purpose, share it with your team. A clear purpose gives everyone something to believe in and take pride in. It’s much more meaningful to believe that your job is to help people reach their most important goals than to believe that you are an investment analyst or customer service specialist. Everyone on the team plays a part in fulfilling your purpose.

In addition, definitely share your purpose with your clients. I would even encourage you to frame it and display it.  How would your clients feel if they read that what drives you is actually all about helping them succeed?

It’s worth taking some time to reflect on why you do what you do. Remember that a sense of purpose is critical to success.

Steve Atkinson is EVP and Head of Advisor Relations at Loring Ward, His team is dedicated to helping the independent advisors who partner with Loring Ward to grow their businesses through ongoing support and coaching.