Relationships are built on trust. You earn the confidence of clients over time. It can never be assumed. It results from consistent character and service.

Financial advisors depend on relationships to grow their business. What are the keys to effective relationships for financial advisors?

Bart Rolen, Managing Director of Southeastern Trust Company, has spent years working to meet the giving needs of various clients. He knows finance and he knows people. Bart has three ways to develop a long-lasting relationships with clients.

1) Discover what’s important

You cannot advise without knowing what’s important to the client. Ask the right questions and tune into your client’s answer. What goals do they want to set? What does your client value? How might they want to change the world?

“Ask smart questions to discover what truly is most important to your clients,” Bart said. “By learning what they want, you will be more likely to advise them well and create a vision for their giving. What in their past benefitted them? Who helped them get to where they are now? How might they pay it forward to the next generation? It’s about developing and casting a vision. You talk through how they want to use their money and think through the best ways to facilitate that.”

2) Listen with purpose

Even those with the best hearing can have trouble listening. Studies have repeatedly shown that the average listener does not thoroughly retain what’s spoken to them (Harvard Business Review has a classic case study on this).

Set yourself apart: listen well to bring value and develop trust.

“People like to know that they’ve been heard, and that’s a little, often overlooked value that builds trust,” Bart explained. “There are thousands of financial advisors out there, and at the end of the day, everyone offers similar products and service. So how do you set yourself apart? It’s the intangibles that add value to a client. Listen well. Know them. Many times you’re assisting someone with financial planning and investing their money that’s taken them 50 years to acquire. Listening builds trust that leads to and keeps business relationships.”

3) Team up

As a financial advisor, keep your client’s best interests in mind. Work with others to accomplish goals and tailor giving plans.

“At Southeastern Trust, we don’t offer donor-advised funds,” Bart said. “So if we have clients that need to give to a ministry through a donor-advised fund then we partner with groups like the Presbyterian Church in America Foundation to make that happen.”

For Christians, it can bring peace of mind to work with a foundation, like the PCA Foundation, where they can be certain their gifts will be stewarded well. There’s an element of trust.

But are you losing a client? Bart doesn’t think so. “Some financial advisors might be weary about moving over a client’s money to elsewhere,” Bart explained. “You’re not losing business. Financial advisors can still manage the money that clients give to the PCAF. The PCAF comes alongside you and acts as a partner rather than a competitor.”

The PCA Foundation facilitates generosity to advance God’s Kingdom. Discover how you can simplify your client’s giving with our Advise & Consult Fund®.

 

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