One of the most challenging (and potentially profitable) things a financial advisor may have to deal with is how to successfully manage assigned clients.
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For those considering a career as an investment advisor or stock broker, the capacity to effectively placate and impress assigned clients may mean the difference between success and failure.
The premise of assigned clients is this: since turnover in many financial services industries is high, many of the clients that were acquired by the terminated or resigned advisor or broker are left "stranded" when the individual they originally trusted to manage their assets leaves the career.
What is to be done with these clients? In most companies, some systems exists to transfer accountability of these clients to a new individual.
Of course, the first step in preparing for this event is to recognize what potential issues exist with assigned clients. The primary issues that require problem resolution are Anger and Shock.
Problem #1 – Anger
My personal experience as an advisor taught me that a common first reaction a client will display upon learning their advisor has left the company is anger. In many instances the reason for this is that clients feel betrayed, considering it takes a significant emotional investment to allow someone else access to personal financial information. Once that trust has been broken, it is very difficult to persuade your assigned client that they will receive the same service they had anticipated originally.
Fulfill as many of the promises the former advisor made as possible. My first inclination as a new advisor in this situation was to tell my assigned clients that I had my own methods, and they could either comply or hit the road. Unfortunately, I learned quickly that most clients quickly did choose to hit the road under those circumstances.
The best solution to overcome this problem was to assure the clients that I would do everything possible to ensure they in fact received the service they thought they had signed up for. Once they feel comfortable with you, you can start modifying the agreement at a pace comfortable to all parties.
Problem #2 – Shock.
What? Who are you? What happened to (insert name here)?
The second most common reaction you may receive is shock and disbelief regarding the situation. This most often occurs because most terminated / resigned advisors make no mention of their resignation, even when they are in the middle of processing a business transaction! This scenario catches financial services clients off guard, and if not dealt with properly can quickly push clients into problem #1 – anger.
The fastest way to help clients overcome the shock of a major change is to give them something familiar to remind them that even though they have a new financial advisor, the underlying system remains the same and will continue to help them reach their financial goals.
A face to face meeting in the office they are used to, and continuation of any typical processes and procedures should assist clients in dealing with the rapid and unexpected change.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that losing a trusted financial advisor is a potentially traumatic experience for most people. Remember to put your assigned clients' interests first, and be sensitive to their concerns. Once they develop trust in you, you may find a remarkably profitable and fulfilling new avenue to grow your business.