Many advisors would like to serve as financial advisors to members of their family or family members of their clients, but do not know how. This process takes time, effort and careful nurturing of relationships. The following suggestions will help you break into this lucrative, but often difficult-to-penetrate market.
- Get noticed. Meet with family members of your clients and ask them who they are, and what they do for a living, their interests, etc. Some of them might attend the same church, temple or another faith-based organization as your client, and it is a good first step to attend these institutions regularly to meet them informally.
- If they are your family members, make it a point to raise your visibility by attending and fully participating in family functions like weddings, reunions and anniversary and birthday parties.
- Get to know them. Once you know some family members of your clients, show them respect and try to build a relationship with them. Include them on the list of people you send birthday and holiday cards. Remember details about them and help them whenever possible.
- Give them a story to tell others. After you have done a spectacular job for your client, explain what you did in simple terms and ask them who else among their friends and family has a similar problem.
- Look for opportunities to help. As a financial advisor, you have knowledge they don’t, such as what a future financial need looks like for them. Find out who is retiring soon, just had a baby, or is the proud parent of a child who sincerely wants to be a surgeon. Once you have this information, tell them how your products and services can help them address their issues or achieve their financial goals.
- Keep it in the family. Never mention the name of a client you are working with to other family members. People often need help, but may not want other family members to know. Be that discreet resource for financial matters.
- Be transparent. Everyone wants a good deal, but they should understand that they must pay for your services--no one works for free. Explain what they pay in direct and indirect costs, and if you think it is necessary, discount your prices slightly.
- Provide report cards. In any relationship, it is rare for everything to go smoothly. Remember that many people get nervous when the financial markets become volatile. They often buy on trust. Sit each family member down for regular portfolio reviews even if they tell you that they are not necessary.
- Be simple. Trusting people often buy things they don’t understand. This can blow up later. So explain everything you do for them in simple terms. Families have needs and need trusted advisors who can help them address the issues created by these needs. You can position yourself in the role of a trusted advisor to your family members and those of your clients. It takes time, but it’s time well spent.
By Bryce Sanders
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" is available on Amazon.com.