Do Your Clients Understand What You Do-

The Problem Pt 1

A few years ago a friend of mine asked me to refer her to someone who could help her with her superannuation. At the time I wasn’t working as an advisor, but was in the management side of the financial planning industry.

She told me they already had a good relationship with ‘their mortgage broker’ and now wanted to talk with someone about her retirement fund.

Here’s the funny thing – I knew who their mortgage broker was. She’d told me in a previous conversation.

And their mortgage broker was actually a financial planner. Not only did he help people with home loans, but he could also look at their superannuation, insurance, investments etc.

But the problem was that my friend didn’t know this.

The Problem PtĀ 2

Here’s another example.

A couple of days ago I was in a client appointment, meeting with a new client. She told me that the problem she had with her old adviser is that she didn’t totally understand what he could do for her.

Whilst she’d pictured him as ‘the superannuation guy’, she now realised that he could actually have helped her with a lot more than that.

In fact, she’d actually made a couple of poor financial decisions because she hadn’t given him the full picture of her finances and goals and plans for the future. He’d only given defined-scope advice based on the bits of her financial life that he knew about.

It turned out the bits he didn’t know about were just as important.


Very few clients actually understand exactly what a financial planner does.

Is it any wonder that they see us in terms of the products we sell to them? ‘He’s the insurance guy’ or ‘she’s the superannuation lady’.

The industry has to shoulder a lot of the blame for this. We still refer to advisers as ‘risk advisers’ or ‘investment advisers’. We’re still focused on selling products rather than selling advice that meets the needs of our clients.

How do we fix this?


Explain to your clients the full range of services that you can provide. Don’t try and do it all at once or it’ll be too overwhelming, but do it step by step.

You could easily set up an email marketing campaign using an autoresponder sequence that sends out a regular weekly email explaining one of the services you provide. Over a couple of months you could cover off most of the things you do for your clients.

Case studies are also an excellent way of showing people what you do. Write up a number of client case studies and testimonials and put them on your website or into your email autoresponder.

During your meetings with clients take the time to explain that you’re able to offer advice on a range of financial services.

Change the conversation – instead of having a product-based conversation, talk about the types of advice you can provide. Yes, you may like calling yourself a superannuation adviser, but I prefer to say I can provide advice on retirement planning. One provides a very narrow picture of what you do, the other broadens the picture to cover a topic, not a product.