Summertime, Time to Sit Back and Unwind

Jun 12, 2018


Staying true to my love for 90’s music, Memorial Day Weekend for me isn’t complete without hearing “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The song is a classic, and a reminder that summer brings new beginnings to almost everyone. Graduations from college, school letting out for the summer, or even heading to the beach for the first time after a long and brutal winter. For many financial advisors, the summer is also a time when you, your staff and your clients begin to well, unwind. While the summer provides the much needed rest and relaxation needed to prepare for the second half of the year, it also presents a great opportunity to take a step back and think about how you can maintain your relationship with clients over the summer.

Over my years of work-related travel, there are three experiences that truly resonate with me as examples of a Next Generation advisor who stays engaged with clients. Their approaches aren’t necessarily about gaining traction with a certain type of client, but each wants to guide their clients’ thinking about the advisor/investor relationship, and emphasize the value their advisor brings to the table.

I encourage my clients to spend what they’ve earned

This advisor’s approach is one of my personal favorites. While setting up presentation material in a small town conference room, I noticed a massive world map on the wall with hundreds of pins on various cities. Before the meeting started, I had to ask, “Are these all the places you’ve been to?”

With huge delight, the advisor went into a very passionate monologue on her requirements to become a client of her firm, “I consider myself a lifestyle advisor – I want my clients to have long-term goals, but I also want them to enjoy their money. Most of my clients want to get away and see the world, so we identify a place they want to go, and we incorporate that travel goal into their financial plan. This map on the wall indicates all the places my clients have been, and serves as motivation to find new places to explore and visit.”

Not only was this a great idea, but it is an approach that can resonate across multiple generations. It’s well-known that millennials are less focused on purchasing high priced goods, and are more focused on traveling (and sharing their experiences via social media.) This approach allows the advisor to serve and work with a broad spectrum of clients as it relates to generations.

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Motivation through Illustration

This example was a small touch that made a huge impact on my view of the culture of the firm I was meeting with. It all started with the waiting room/lobby of the advisor’s office. On the walls are pictures of various pro athletes at defining moments of their career – the famous fist pump when Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997, Michael Jordan’s game winning shot in the 1982 NCAA tournament, and one of the best, Serena Williams first Grand Slam title in 1999 (she was 17 years old.) There are nearly 100 pictures on the wall of great players in defining moments. I’m a huge sports fan, so I asked about some of the pictures I’d never seen before. The advisors response was great. “When a prospect or client comes in, I always want to have a discussion around goals and expectations. I use sports as a motivation factor because all the great athletes had goals leading up to that defining moment in those pictures, but that picture only captures a moment in time. There is a lot of time and preparation that went into that moment. As my clients’ financial advisor, it’s up to me to help them achieve their own defining moments.” After that meeting, the advisor walked me back into the office, and on the walls were pictures of his clients illustrating defining moments of their own lives: parents at their kid’s graduation, couple with the keys to their first home, business owners first day of operation. “These pictures”, the advisor explained, “help keep me motivated and on track to my business purpose and goals.”

Instead of them coming to us, we go to them

The last example isn’t a direct experience, but rather the result of a meeting I had with an advisor being rescheduled (over the summer, of course.)  In July and August of every year, these advisors reserve Tuesday through Thursday for client meetings that aren’t in their office, but rather wherever the client decides to have the meeting. The only restriction is within a 50-mile radius of the office. While it does limit a portion of their book of business (i.e. out of state clients), it adds a completely different dimension to a segment of their business.

“This gives us an opportunity to connect with our clients in a different way. It gives us a better understanding of what their interests are. And it allows us to keep activity up in the summer by staying in front of our clients. It also gives us an opportunity to connect and network with prospects that are in the social networks of our existing clients.” Advisors meet with clients outside of the office all the time, but formally opening yourself up to be invited is a unique way of doing business, particularly over the summer when business seems to slow up. While it may not work for every firm, this approach certainly illustrates the progressive nature of the normal financial advisor/investor relationship.

These are just a few examples that I found engaging from a client perspective. Considering I’m looking for a new advisor, I’m really taking the time to find the right fit. Hopefully in the time it took you to read how to make summer work for you and your clients, you also  had time to download “Summertime” and sit back to unwind!

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