5 Ways Education Deepens Client Relationships

The American College of Financial Services
August 9, 2017

Today’s clients want financial advisors to do more than just assist with investment and asset management. They also seek advisors who can help them learn to use financial planning to achieve short- and long-term goals.

Some advisors may shy away from the role of coach and educator, but adding financial wellness and management coaching to a practice may benefit advisors. This educational element helps advisors differentiate themselves from competitors, deepen relationships with clients, and demonstrate the positive value they add to financial decision-making.

When seeking to provide the highest value to clients through educational guidance, consider the following:

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Tailor educational initiatives to client needs

If developing an educational component for a planning practice, always consider client needs, demographics, and finances. For example, an advisor working primarily with pre-retirees would not serve clients well by offering workshops on how to pay for college. Make sure client concerns and interests are the starting point for any educational initiative.

Cultivate a reputation for being a reliable, highly visible source of information

Social media has simplified the task of communicating with large groups of people. Consider using social media channels to speak directly with current and prospective clients. Pass along useful, instructive news and ideas on Facebook or Twitter. Comment and interact online appropriately, per the appropriate compliance guidelines. Learn more about safe and responsible social media use for financial advisors in this blog.

Create a library of pertinent educational resources

Offer clients an appealing library of educational material based on their interests, demographics, and finances. Articles from online and print publications (with legal permissions) can be used. Webinars/webcasts, YouTube, and live stream events on financial topics also have strong appeal to clients.

Video is so dominant that four times as many people would prefer to watch a video about a product instead of read about it. Building a website that contains valuable resources enhances an advisor’s reputation for expertise and leadership.

Showing clients how financial concepts connect to their real lives

Some financial concepts are so complex that clients may find themselves struggling to understand terms like cost per use, compounding, diversification, and liquidity. Whenever possible, use concrete examples to show the impact of real-life decisions. For example, discuss how buying a home or having children will directly affect a client’s current and future finances instead of speaking in generalizations. An informed client will be better at making decisions that increase their chances for successful financial outcomes.

Understand and prepare for learning differences

Some clients learn best with verbal explanations. Some need diagrams and charts. Others prefer to learn using interactive tools. When unsure about a client’s learning preferences, ask. Choosing the right format and media is important, and providing information in several different formats can increase the likelihood that clients will retain the information you share.

By offering educational initiatives, financial advisors can shift from transaction-oriented relationships with clients towards collaborative, relationship-based ones. When advisors present clients with vitally important information, it demonstrates their concern and their desire to see them reach their goals.

When financial advisors earn the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation, they gain the skills to develop comprehensive financial plans and provide higher value to clients. Discover how obtaining a ChFC® deepens advisor-client relationships and increases career opportunities for ambitious advisors by reading the guide, How the ChFC® is a Game Changer in Advancing Your Financial Planning Career, for insights on retaining a loyal customer base, acquiring new high-net-worth clients, increasing earnings, and strengthening your reputation as a financial expert in a shortened time frame.