Any financial advisor entering the field will do so knowing that they will always be in a sensitive relationships with their clients. Despite how well one may do their job, many people may be wary when handing over financial information or money in hopes that they will be guided on the right path to financial solvency.
A finance industry recruiter may instruct their financial advisors to build a presence with their existing and prospective clients as a way of normalizing their presence and their work in a relaxed setting. Many would also highlight the importance of interaction in a casual way with clients to build rapport.
And while these and other suggestions a finance industry recruiter would pose to their employees are a good start, they don’t cover everything one should expect when on the job. Below, there are eight questions any financial advisor should expect to answer in order to be effective at their jobs.
1) How much do you charge?
As with any service in the financial world, the cost of products and services is at the top of any client’s list of concerns. Depending on how much your services will cost a client may sell or eliminate a prospective client looking for financial counsel.
2) What are your qualifications?
There are many tiers to the world of financial advising. Some fall under the umbrella of CFPs (certified financial planners) who have certifications from board exams and years of experience and others might be simple money managers who might be new to the field. Understanding where you fall in the world of advising is the best way to know how to sell your credentials to your clients.
3) Who do you work for?
For many, knowing what kind of advisor works with them is an important thing. Are you geared towards helping middle-aged couples prepare for retirement? First time parents preparing for their child’s college costs and establish a trust in their name? Many would try to appeal to a large swath of demographics, but other advisors work well with a select group. This is something prospective advisors should consider even before working in the financial sector.
4) What is your investment style?
Outside of the financial sector there are many opinions of what financial planning is like. Some touch a bit on reality and others are born from misinformation. Still, the idea of reckless trading and investing exists with many people, so knowing if their advisor is cautious and methodical with their investments or takes a great deal of risk in search of reward is something that may give people pause or choose you as their advisor.
5) What makes you qualified to handle my account?
Make no mistake, hiring anyone for financial services is a tough decision for someone to make irrespective of what their assets total. Knowing whether or not an advisor has been tested with the accounts of others, their successes and failures, makes the decision for a client easier to accept or deny your services.
6) Who will actually be handling my account?
It’s important to clients, when handing over money or the keys to their financial security to know who exactly will be handling their account. In small firms, its easier to make the case for a small team being essential to manage a client’s account while also tending to the others affiliated with the firm. Bigger firms may have a harder time convincing an individual that they will receive undivided attention for as long as their account remains open. This along with knowing how and when you can be reached are all important for a client to know prior to making a decision on whose services to seek.
7) What services do you and/or your firm provide?
Like with knowing where you fall in the spectrum of financial advising, knowing what you’re able to provide a client is a part of your identity as an advisor. The more complete your experience and credentials are, the more variety there will be in the services you can provide. Time on the job and licensing can make the difference between merely offering advice on what someone should do with their money to charting out a person’s entire financial life.
8) Do you have a sample plan?
For many, physically seeing what they believe–in some cases hope–will happen to their assets in your care can be the tipping point in deciding whether to pick your services over a competitor. Having sample plans may seem like an empty gesture to actual advisors, but being able to explain how you performed on previous accounts not only gives you an opportunity to relate to clients one-on-one, but it is also good practice for future clients who will very likely have the same questions.