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Why building professional relationships ensures your clients get the best advice

As professionals in client-facing industries, we all understand how important it is to build successful client relationships.

These relationships are a crucial part of the service we deliver; whether you are an accountant advising a small business owner or a solicitor supporting a client through the emotional stress of divorce. The knowledge, expertise, and experience we share will have little impact if we don’t look after the client relationship.

How building up good relationships helps both an adviser and a client

As financial planners, nurturing the client relationship means taking the time to understand the goals and aspirations of each client before anything else. We don’t focus on selling products; rather we find out about and understand the challenges and goals of each of our clients that walk through our door. If we’re to remove the challenges and achieve the goals, a holistic approach is essential.

Good financial planning is about much more than simply supplying advice on which financial product to choose. It is about helping people who have sought professional support to improve their overall position. Getting their finances in order can help set them on the right path to achieve their aspirations, but it needs to be in a wider context that looks beyond ‘products’.

Establishing goals, understanding challenges and finding out about what our clients want from their lives allows us to add value. But this approach is beneficial to us, too.

Firstly, stepping back from complex, financial jargon and simply talking about what each client wants to achieve helps us build lasting relationships that are good for business.

Secondly, clients rarely approach a financial planner with a product problem. Instead, they are more likely to ask:

  • Will my family be secure if something were to happen to me?
  • Can I afford to retire early?
  • Will I have enough income to live on when I retire?
  • How can my investments provide an income for me and my family to live on?
  • How can we best use our accrued wealth for the benefit of our family, whether now or in the future?

Of course, answering these questions sometimes requires financial products. Protection might need to be arranged in case the worst should happen.

However, as problem solvers rather than product salesmen, we’re better positioned to answer the questions clients have about their circumstances and the role their finances play. This leads to higher levels of client satisfaction and an opportunity to add real value.

Why professional partnerships are so important

In our experience, clients often benefit from receiving advice from multiple professionals. So, we believe that building professional relationships is crucial to creating effective financial strategies for clients.

By establishing partnerships with other professionals, we can ensure clients receive a rounded and holistic service. It means we’re easily able to refer them to our established professional connections should the need arise.

For example, a client going through a divorce will find legal advice essential. In addition, financial planning can help them start to prepare and plan for the long term. And, if they are a business owner, they may also find tax advice from an accountant invaluable.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the Prudential 2018 Adviser Barometer found that 57% of financial advisers are expecting an increase in leads from law firms and accountancy practices in the year ahead, reflecting the significance of these professional partnerships.

In fact, accountants and solicitors are rated as the second-best source for new business, only falling behind referrals from existing clients.

Vince Smith-Hughes, Director of Specialist Business Support at Prudential, says: “Advisers pride themselves on delivering excellent service and support to existing clients and that is reflected in the fact clients remain the best source of new business.

“However, partnerships are becoming more important to help drive business and working with lawyers and accountants is clearly a good way for advisers to expand support for existing clients and attract new business. Growth in demand for advice on Inheritance Tax and retirement income taxation highlight areas where advisers are likely to be working in conjunction with other professionals.”

The report highlighted three key areas that are predicted to drive the most business over the coming three years, including many where cross-industry services will be beneficial:

  • Inheritance Tax protection (43%)
  • Retirement income taxation (39%)
  • Long-term care planning (33%)

There are many other areas where working with other professionals is also important for client satisfaction. From Lasting Powers of Attorney to Pension Sharing Orders, getting advice from the right professionals in the right fields is crucial to a client receiving truly joined-up advice.

For all these reasons, we believe in building connections with professional partners just as much as those with our clients.

The Chartered difference

Chartered status is the ‘gold standard’ for financial planning, demonstrating the highest levels of technical knowledge through professional qualifications, a commitment to continuous development, and adherence to ethical codes.

But what does this mean for our relationships with clients and professional partners?

By achieving Chartered status, we clearly demonstrate our commitment to offering the best possible advice, support and service to each of our clients. It means that clients can have complete confidence in the advice they receive.

For our professional partners, our Chartered status gives you the confidence that you’re working with experts, and that you’ll receive the highest levels of advice, service and support.

Our Chartered status helps build trust with prospects and clients alike and is crucial to establishing effective, long-lasting working relationships.

Get in touch

If you or your clients need any help with their financial planning needs, or you’re interested in how you can work more closely with us, please get in touch. Email hello@sovereign-ifa.co.uk or call 01454 416 653.

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