Integrity – Keeping clients interest at the centre
Integrity is an indispensable quality for an advisor. For a client to trust an advisor with his hard-earned money, he needs to have an irreproachable reputation of keeping the client’s interest first. Only happy clients who trust their advisor are likely to retain them over a long-time and give referrals. Thus, integrity is of paramount importance for having a long and fruitful relationship with a client.
Good listener – Tuning in the client
While developing a financial plan you may be tempted to focus on numerical data about their current investments, monetary value of their goals. However, the approach may not yield the most accurate results. To be the best financial guide to your clients you need to ask thoughtful questions, rather than sticking to the standardised risk-return profile script. This help you understand their desires, aspirations, fears, family dynamics and identify likely goals and expenses, which your client may have missed. Overall it equips you to offer them a more personalised and through advice. One way to be a good listener is to focus on the client completely (keep your phone aside) during client meeting.
Expertise – Master of all trades, jack of none
Another pre-requisite to be a good advisor is to have deep understanding of the entire bouquet of financial products. This will enable you to provide them with a holistic financial solution, which caters to their investment, tax, insurance and expenditure needs. You may wonder what is the need for providing such a comprehensive and elaborate financial solution. The fact is that all these financial transactions are interlinked. By offering customised tax solutions, you may help your clients save more and thereby invest more. In the same vein, opting for an inappropriate mediclaim policy may require your client to withdraw from his investments in case of a health emergency.
Flexibility – Being open to change
While you may give your client the best possible advice, he may still not be comfortable with your recommendations. This requires you to be flexible in terms of giving him alternate recommendations. You should never be affronted if a client rejects your advice because sometimes it may be due to some deep routed beliefs of the client. However, you need to ensure that this does not become a norm as in that case it may be in the best interest to let go of the client.
In addition, you also need to be flexible in terms of your schedule, as you need to arrange meetings keeping the client’s availability in mind rather than your own schedule.
Salesmanship – You are your best promotor
To grow his client base an advisor needs to be able to sell himself. To elaborate, he should be able to describe succinctly what he brings to the table. How his clients have benefitted from his advice. An advisor who can promote himself well will find it easier to acquire new clients.
Empathy – Understanding their point of view
As advisors, you may need to recommend some difficult financial decisions to your clients. Be it redeeming their retirement corpus to pay off a credit card debt or informing them that their past investment decisions were erroneous. You need to be kind and understanding and ensure that the client does not feel cornered. This will allow you to guide him without him getting defensive.
Analytical chops – Be the king of numbers
Be it structuring an investment plan, or analysing the best risk adjusted investment options, you need to have a sound analytical background to effectively understand and analyse the data. Thus, when it comes to investments, having understanding of numbers is mandatory.