The True Role of the Professional Adviser

Many salespeople or advisers get hung up with their title. I think we only have them because of our pay grade and it allows companies to align staff in some kind of pecking order for pay and benefits. Customers really don’t care what your title is, but many advisers sweat continually over the right one.

  • Financial Adviser
  • Financial Consultant
  • Financial Specialist

These ring to customers as they’re going to force things on me, charge exorbitant fees and bamboozle me with science.

The younger generation especially are very cautious to you and your title. They have a natural resistance to being sold to and will back off at the slightest hint of selling. “Salesperson beware”. They also prefer facilitation and ownership. Many will research your expertise in the small hours to ensure they don’t get caught out.

And these traits don’t just relate to the younger generation; younger thinking older people think the same way.

The answer. Forget your title but think of yourself as a coach. A coach’s job is to guide, facilitate someone to achieve their goals. They do it through communication, questions, probing, guiding, suggesting, summarising conversations and agreeing on action plans that the customer has talked through. They add information where necessary but appreciate the customer likes to find things out themselves.

They use structures such as GROW or CIGAR or OSCAR or GROWING to help them, coach. In fact, these become their explore or factfind methodologies. Google these or head to YouTube to find out about a coaching model or two – there are dozens. I like GROW – simple, elegant and practical.

More and more professional advisers are regarding themselves as coaches, I’ve met some who have it on their business card or LinkedIn profiles. Now LinkedIn profiles – that’s a subject for another day but the amount of effort people go through to get their title right is unbelievable.

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