We all know the old saying, Perception is reality. What people perceive to be real, they believe.
That’s probably why the public under-values wealth managers. Because so much of our work takes place behind the scenes, our efforts are often clouded in misunderstanding and overlooked.
As an industry, we have done a lousy job of getting our message out there. Let’s face it, we’ve failed at making folks aware of the value of what we do, and how it helps them reach their life goals—buying a new house, paying for the children’s college education, and funding their retirement.
Fortunately, this situation is fixable. In fact, it’s an opportunity waiting to be seized!
Let’s start with the root of the problem. A recent study found a whopping 42% of Americans think financial advisors are only for the wealthy. Think about that for a minute. It means more than two out of every five people believe your services are only for rich elites.
The reality, as you know, is quite different. We need to change the public’s understanding of “wealth” by stepping up our marketing and outreach efforts. We need to let the public know that most our clients are everyday people just like them. We deal with truck drivers and schoolteachers, with blue-collar and white-collar, and no-collar freelancers. We work with people who have limited money but are committed to a specific long-range financial plan.
Here’s something else to consider. There’s a widespread misunderstanding that most people can’t afford our services. One research report found that 50% of the public thinks financial advisors are too expensive. Even more startling was the report’s finding that people believe an advisor costs 5% to 15% of their AUM. Whoa! That’s outrageously off the actual average of .5 to 1.25%
As an industry, we have not stepped up and provided people with accurate information about who we serve and our fee structure. That vacuum was filled with wildly erroneous information instead. Without facts and details to correct it, the misinformation became the perception and people have accepted it as reality.
We must be more communicative about both our fees and our value. It’s time to end the mystery that surrounds so much of what we do. We need to deliver our message through success stories from clients who took our advice, followed the financial course we helped them chart, and then enjoyed the rewards of their financial discipline.
Those stories are waiting to be told. But they won’t tell themselves. The time to be proactive has arrived. If you are truly serious about growing your career and taking it to the next level, you should ditch the silent treatment and begin sharing your success stories. But it’s up to you to take the initiative and begin the conversation.
Make a point of being upfront. Identify the things you want prospective clients to know and integrate them into your marketing plan. Lay some truth on them and see how far it goes!