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Guest Column 11 key attributes that define an effective financial advisor

11 key attributes that define an effective financial advisor

How you can boost your business and develop long-lasting client relationships.
Dilshad Billimoria May 1, 2012

How you can boost your business and develop long-lasting client relationships. 


Over the last 14 years of managing client relationships, I have noticed that certain values and actions lead to long term success. Much of this is based on what I learned myself from observing successful advisors.

  1. Listen to your clients more than you talk. Often, patient listening will reveal a client’s family history, approach to investing and to life enabling you to formulate more effective plans.  
     
  2. Never be product-centric. Your client’s needs are paramount and all your focus and effort should be directed towards helping him or her achieve their goals.
     
  3. Say NO to clients who don’t understand your value or what you do for them.
     
  4. Be goal-oriented rather than transaction-oriented. You should understand that as an advisor, you are in it for the long term. Do not exhibit short-term behaviour towards investing or look at making quick money.
     
  5. There is never a standard solution for meeting a client’s goals. Each client is unique and every action plan has to be tailor made. That’s what makes this profession exciting!
     
  6. Be honest. If you promise something, that should be delivered. The client should not get ultimately get something that he does not really need.
     
  7. Earn the trust of a prospect in a few seconds so that he becomes a client for a lifetime.
     
  8. Be open, blunt and to the point in your advice. It might hurt initially but if the client understands what he can achieve and cannot (and in what timeframe), he can alter his priorities or you can alter your advice for the plan to be realistic and practical.
     
  9. Keep your clients focused on what is important for them. Confront the client’s fears and emotions. It will help you formulate your plan.
     
  10. Cut the jargon. Make it clear you have done your research and that’s why you are making recommendations or changes in a client’s portfolio for his benefit. You need to reach a stage where your client accepts what you recommend because it is in his best interest, after considering his goals.
     
  11. What role risk plays, and how the perception of risk changes, is very important for different people and in different situations. Understand the risk level, and more importantly, the risk tolerance of every client and communicate the equivalent reward or return expectation in advance.

(Dilshad Billimoria is a BBM, LUTCF CFPCM, Certified Financial Planner and Investment Advisor)

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