From the November 01, 2011 issue of Senior Market Advisor • Subscribe!

You’ve only just begun

 

harrimanCongratulations, you just gained a new client. After several meetings, that person reached a level of trust and confidence to the point where he or she felt comfortable doing business with you. Now the real work begins.

Advisors and clients sometimes do not see the process through the same lens. When the sale is complete, the advisor sees the completion of a successful marketing campaign. The client sees the beginning of a long journey with their advisor.

The client-advisor relationship is more about honesty and trust than it is about the products. However, you cannot forget the social nature of retirement. Although product extras may not seem important at the time of sale, when your clients are interacting with friends similar in age, they might discuss the details of their care plan. With today’s evolutions, including more perks, benefits and features, one client’s plan can differ dramatically from another, but both could be perfectly tailored to each client’s needs.

The best decision?

While your clients’ plan might be perfectly suited for their needs, they may not agree when they hear their neighbors paid a lower premium and seemingly have "better" perks. Ask yourself: Are you supporting your client or allowing them to begin wondering if they made the best decision? If you allow them to second-guess their decision, they also second-guess you. You are permitting your client to question your integrity and motives, which can be the beginning of the end to your creditability and the possibility of a long-term relationship.

However, if you provide understandable and timely service after the sale, you solidify your clients’ decision to trust your judgment and advice. Then, when they share details with their friends, your clients will not only celebrate your skills in creating a great care package, but they will support your reputation as an engaged advisor who will be there every step of the way.

Successful advisors know their clients are more than a sale. They know there is a level of ongoing commitment to nurture the relationship and also create a reputation for being a thoughtful and thorough advisor who will then be recommended by clients to others in their social circle.

When you make yourself available to clients after the decisions are made, you assure them they made the right choices when selecting their plan and most of all, when selecting you as their advisor.

About the Author
Philip E. Harriman

Philip E. Harriman

For more than 30 years, Phil Harriman, CLU, ChFC, has worked with family-held and nonprofit businesses in the areas of retirement planning, business continuation arrangements and estate planning. Phil is a 31-year Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) member with 18 Court of the Table and 14 Top of the Table qualifications. His service to the financial profession includes serving as the president of MDRT in 2007. Harriman has also held membership in AALU since 1989 and currently serves on its board. His civic involvement includes four terms, 1992-2000, as a senator in Maine representing the 23rd district. He delivers political analysis for the NBC television affiliates in Maine.


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