The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
The tiger in the temple

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

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      By David GordonDirector, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      On the topic discussing an incumbent advisor with a prospective client, David Richman often quotes a proverb of unknown provenance: "When a tiger enters the temple, be sure to include it in the ceremony."

      If a prospective client already has an advisor, it is in your best interest to "include him or her in the ceremony" rather than ignoring this fact. How do you "include it in the ceremony"? Consider asking a question like this:

      "If we could imagine together for a moment your ideal advisory relationship, what do you wish your current financial advisor would be doing for you that he or she isn't doing?"

      The prospective client's answer will likely tell you why he or she agreed to meet with you. It can also provide a road map to help you successfully turn a prospect into a client.

      What if ...?

      Recent research from Investments & Wealth Institute (IWI) highlights the importance of questions like this. Surveying investors in March 2020, as the economy was beginning to stumble and COVID-19 was forcing many Americans to work from home, IWI found that 44% of respondents (March 16-24) had thought about changing their primary advisor or had already taken steps to do so.1

      • Could you afford to lose 44% of your clients?
      • How would your clients answer if another advisor asked them the "If we could imagine ..." question?
      • What if you are the tiger entering another advisor's temple?

      Prudent advisors will not wait to find out. Instead, prudent advisors will proactively flip the script by inviting feedback from current clients:

      "This is a strange year, full of unexpected events that prompt unexpected questions. In light of all that's happened in your family's life this year, I'd like to ask you an important question. If we could imagine together for a moment your ideal advisory relationship, what do you wish my team and I would be doing for you that we are not currently doing?"

      Bottom line: Do not wait to be the topic of someone else's conversation about unmet expectations. Take the lead and ask the tough questions yourself.