Talk politics to your clients

By Guest |  25-10-19 | 
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Morningstar invites thought leaders from the investment community to share their insights. Views expressed are personal and should not be construed as investment advice.

It is one of the oldest rules in sales – never talk politics or religion to your clients. But maybe that idea needs some updating.

Clients have choices. There are lots of other advisers with similar technical skills as you. There are even more advisers who claim to have the same technical skills and prospective client can’t tell the difference. So, once a prospect believes you have the expertise to help them with their financial issue they move onto the next most important question: will I like working with this adviser?

Which brings up another related question: does this adviser think like me?

As someone considers whether to be your client, how well do they think you will be able to relate to their priorities? How well will your recommendations conform not only to the technical questions of what’s best but be congruent with the way they want to get there?

When presented with many advisers to choose from, people are most likely to choose someone from their own tribe.

To help answer the question of whether you are “one of us” maybe we can think of those topics we traditionally avoid as being a little less taboo.

One adviser I with is unabashedly conservative. He is retired military. He is a Christian, a patriot, devoted to his family, and proud of it. That’s more a part of who he is than the title financial adviser. As we work through the process of designing his website, he made a point of wanting to reflect that. “It’s who we are” he said “and we find that people who feel the same way are the ones we do best with.” People with a similar philosophy will feel a kinship with him and, if they are younger, look up to him. And that passion is persuasive.

When we ask in client advisory boards what clients find most valuable about the relationship they have with the adviser their faith often the conversation. It is not something the adviser addresses explicitly in their service to clients or in their marketing. It is usually the first time I hear about it even after going through the coaching process that leads to that first advisory board meeting. Yet, it is meaningful to clients. Board members make comments about observing the adviser doing volunteer or community work with their church or working with youth groups. And they comment how that has contributed to the trust they feel.

What if that might turn some people off? That’s OK. The whole basis of niche marketing is creating something unique for the people who really want it. Not everyone will. Whether that be a digital experience, client gatherings at sports events, or detailed investment reporting, you create the experience for your tribe and that’s what makes you attractive to them. Your niche experience includes who you are and what you believe in.

You can be authentic. Clients want to know who you are, what you stand for. Helping them know who you are as a person can deepen your relationships. You ask clients to share intimate details of their life with you. Share some of who you are with them.

This post by Stephen Wershing was first published on The Client Driven Practice.

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