Meeting a potential client is an exciting event – it could be the start of a long and prosperous relationship. And, even though every client is an individual, you should have a protocol for how you go about securing that client. If you’re just starting out as a financial adviser, it might take some time to get this process right but it’s an essential part of creating a solid client base.
One thing’s for sure – in most cases, your client will have as many questions to ask of you as you have of them. Make sure you do your research and are prepared to answer the most likely of client questions – your answers could be the difference between ensuring your client sticks with you and losing them.
Start with answers to these three questions
1. How do you charge for your services?
Transparency when it comes to your fee structure is essential to good practice. It’s important that your clients understand what and how much you charge, as well as how often. Do you work on a commission basis? Or a monthly fee? In terms of the products you sell? Not only should you be able to give your clients the details, you will need to provide a well-thought-out explanation for why you charge the way you do.
2. Do you have qualifications that go over and above the basic requirements?
Just as there are different types of financial advisers (short-term insurance advisers, certified public accountants etc.), there are different educational paths to becoming a financial adviser. Some clients might be satisfied with an adviser with a recognised tertiary qualification while others might want the expertise of an adviser with a postgraduate degree and a Certified Financial Planner qualification. It’s also important for your clients to know that financial advisers in South Africa are required to pass a number of legislative exams, including the Financial Services Board Regulatory Exams to ensure they are compliant with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary (FAIS) Act. Proof of these qualifications must be easily accessible to your clients.
3. What is your area of focus and will it suit me?
Many advisers are generalists in financial management across numerous areas of interest. At the same time, most advisers have a speciality – an area of interest which they enjoy and in which they excel, for example, investments, social responsibility initiatives, young entrepreneur projects etc. Research shows that most advisers tend to focus on a client base within ten years of their own age as these clients are most likely to share similar interests and approaches to life. If you are targeting a specific type of client, it’s important to be able to explain why you’re a good fit for them. If the client is not in your target group but you still want their business, it’s equally important to be able to explain why you would be a good fit despite your differences.
Are you starting out as an independent financial adviser? Need advice on how to connect with clients, new and established? Talk to us – at TRG, we love being independent financial advisers and we are looking to work with energetic, talented individuals who care about success for their clients and themselves.