LAS VEGAS - Although when investors are surveyed almost all say they are satisfied with their advisors, the reality is that loyalty to an advisor is different than satisfaction, said Matt Oechsli of The Oechsli Institute at the IMCA annual conference Monday.

Those same investors that say they are happy with their advisors, also say that if there is one area they can change about their primary advisor it would be communication. “Investors were asked in the survey if they would entertain a second opinion on their family finances from a financial advisor they trust and respect professionally and almost all would ask for a second opinion. If they were loyal they would not be entertaining a second opinion.”

It’s a four lane advisor highway, explained Oechsli. Most advisors are in the first three lanes, where they have lost confidence in themselves, lost personal wealth, are paralyzed or are using an outdated mode of working with clients. Even those advisors who realize this is a new world and they recognize there has been a crisis that fundamentally changes the advisor-client relationship, don’t necessarily have the skills to improve their business. “They have guarded optimism. They talk too much about the markets or their investment acumen and they come across sounding like a salesman,” he explained.

Lane number four is where the action is, but only 1.5% of advisors are in this lane. The rainmakers, who are successful, are working closely with their affluent clients making sure they are relevant in today’s world. They are not just a broker or an insurance agent- they are re-branding themselves. “They are also simultaneously penetrating their clients’ center of influence bringing in ten new clients per month with $1 million or more,” he said.

In this new world, what are your clients’ biggest concerns? Surprisingly, said Oechsli, they are healthcare and outliving their assets.

And what do clients want? They want communication, quick resolution to their problems, focus on overseeing their family’s financial affairs, investment performance that meets their expectations, possession of a comprehensive breath and depth of industry knowledge, and always having their family’s best interests behind every financial recommendation.

The advisors that are ready to tackle this new world are those who are face to face with clients through frequent, intimate social events, such as golf outings, cookouts, and dinner parties, said Oechsli. “Social events strengthen the loyalty of clients and help us move into their centers of influence,” he said. Brochures he added will not gain you clients. It’s the surprise touches that will win them over: If you know your client is going to the Amalfi Coast, send them a travel book. This is not just about sending holiday cards. “Clients expect you know what you’re doing and you are a good advisor. It’s about service.”

A no-no that Oechsli pointed out is something the industry has always told advisors to do: ask their clients for referrals. Eighty-three percent of clients feel uncomfortable in this situation, he explained. Instead source a name yourself and then ask your client for an introduction. Eight out of ten clients are happy to make an introduction, he said.  

“This is not a young persons industry,” Oechsli explained. “It’s an active persons industry. Likeability and trust are two-thirds of what you need. You need to be the brand. You’re the product.”

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