Money is the biggest source of stress in clients’ lives, above marriage, religion, politics, and others, according to a survey from the American Psychological Association.
Dave Nadig, financial futurist at ETF Trends and ETF Database, sat down with thought leader Brian Portnoy, founder and CEO of Shaping Wealth, today at Exchange: An ETF Experience to discuss how advisors can guide clients to success, build deeper relationships, and win referrals and new business.
Nadig asked Portnoy how an advisor can get a client to focus on what is actually important and put aside the noise that distracts from the true goal.
“You do it from your own authentic lens,” Portnoy said. “Have a conversation with the client about what’s truly important to them, and in the context of, ’What are those deeper sources of fulfillment and contentment and happiness?’”
Portnoy added, “you can then ask important — sometimes easy, sometimes awkward — questions about ‘How can I afford the things that are really meaningful to me?’”
Nadig said many clients will come into the room closed-off, embarrassed, or ashamed of their financial position, leading to unproductive and unfulfilling conversations, asking Portnoy how advisors can help them open up.
Portnoy said that advisors — or coaches — should consider the idea of permission and validation.
“So the power of permission is something that I believe… we undervalue [as an industry],” Portnoy said. “I think one of the unsung powers of the modern advisor is just creating an environment in which an individual, a couple, or a family has the permission to talk about what they really want to talk about…They want to answer the simple question, ‘Am I going to be okay?’”
Portnoy said that financial planners often live by scripts that are inherited and not meaningfully questioned — and they could benefit from breaking away from the expectations.
“There’s sort of this staged experience where the planner is a market expert and economist. The client pretends like she cares and understands what is being discussed, and ultimately, it’s not particularly fulfilling,” Portnoy said.
Portnoy suggests stepping way back in the process and telling clients, “number one, we’re allowed to talk about the hard things. Number two, and this is the validation part, you’re not alone. There are other people just like you who ask the same questions and struggle with the same decisions. So you’re not alone, and you’re also not just a face in a crowd. We call it cohort-based advice.”
For more news, information, and strategy, visit ETF Trends.