Forbes Contributor Mike Myatt posted an excellent article entitled, “To Increase Revenue Stop Selling.” Bravo, Mike. Your point is important and holds especially true for financial services. This is a long term thinking vs short term thinking issue as well. And the reasons are practical as well.
Client acquisition is much harder than client retention. It is much harder to bring in new client than to: put your client’s best interests before your own, avoid conflicts of interest, manage those conflicts you can’t avoind in the client’s best interest, help them diversify their holdings and disclose ALL costs to the investor — than to constantly have to bring in new clients.
In the discussion about extension of the fiduciary standard to brokers who advise individual investors, this is especially important. The antiquated culture at banks, BDs and insurance co’s is to reward the biggest “producers,” while what investors need is the long term value added and problem solving you speak of. Short term, it is a big change, but long term, firms will have stickier, happier clients and a steadier revenue stream from a broader asset under management base.
A recent survey which I coordinated with fi360 and AdvisorOne.com shows tha the vast majority of brokers and investment advisors in the field want to put clients first–and if you think long term, it is in the advisor’s best interest to put their client’s best interests first at all times, as a fiduciary, than to have to look for the next sales customer.
You are absolutely right about changing the lingo as well. Think long-term client, rather than “prospect,” solving client problems and helping them meet their goals in a way that is in their best interest, and your client base will flourish. The investment advisor fiduciary model proves that this can be done. Do you know an investment advisor who is starving? No.
Banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies have to change how they offer advice, and they may have to separate advisors who really advise from salespeople who don’t have to act as fiduciaries — and those non-fiduciary salespeople ought to have a sales title, rather than one that implies an advisory, fiduciary relationship. Here is one place where the titles are very important.
Long term, changing the way these companies’ sales processes work can benefit their clients and themselves. The key is clients first, and long-term thinking.