Nicholas Stuller is an author and one of the world’s leading experts on financial advisors. He’s also the founder and CEO of MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, which he intends to be the eHarmony of pairing investors with advisors.
His new book, The Truth Shall Set Your Wallet Free, aims to debunk the myths that prevent people from achieving their financial goals.
Today on Stay Paid, Nicholas discusses what he’s learned about the relationship between advisors and investors, and how advisors can use this information to increase their book of business.
Regardless of your industry, Nicholas Stuller’s principles will help you grow your client list and maintain valuable relationships.
- Many investors wrongly assume that they don’t need or can’t afford a financial advisor.
- Financial advisors can attract the right clients by educating them.
- Make yourself available to your clients and provide excellent customer service.
Q: Introduce yourself to our listeners.
I’ve been in the financial advisor industry since 1985. I started off as a broker on Wall Street, where I worked for two years. After that, I began to support financial advisors. I worked at Waterhouse Securities (now known as TD Ameritrade), National Regulatory Services, and I went on to co-found the two largest database companies related to financial advisors.
I’ve been supporting advisors for almost 30 years. I’ve discovered that the vast majority of investors—even the incredibly wealthy—know very little about financial advisors. They can’t speak to the substance of what the advisor actually does.
I realized there needed to be a book to educate both the consumer and the investor about why anyone, regardless of income level, really needs to get a financial advisor. As a non-advisor myself, I wanted to write a truly objective book that educated the reader without taking sides.
This is also a great selling tool for advisors, if the advisor uses the book to educate the consumer.
Q: What do you think are some of the myths about financial advisors?
It falls into two broad groups: people who have moderate wealth or less assume they don’t have enough money to get an advisor, and the other group believes they shouldn’t have advisors because of their perception of bad conduct or ineptitude among advisors. Those are fundamentally flawed thoughts. Financial advisors have a much lower rate of bad conduct than medical doctors and attorneys. There are some bad advisors—and there always will be—but they don’t represent the group.
Q: What are some parts of your book that advisors could use to educate potential clients?
The chapter that I like best cites research from Morningstar, Vanguard, and Aon Hewitt, which shows the average advisor will improve the average client’s portfolio by 300 basis points annually. That’s significant.
Another thing I like to tell advisors to do is to educate your audience about the entire advisor universe. In wealth management, there is no master trade industry that everybody belongs to. What we have in our industry are 30 or 40 trade associations that are each telling consumers they’re the best.
Educate your audience about what the SEC is. Give a high-level overview of the marketplace. Very few investors have ever been told about these things. I can see this in my audiences, because I see people taking notes.
If you’re an advisor, you should get across the idea that you are a businessperson who happens to be in the advice business. You should be out there marketing. You should be asking for referrals. These basic concepts of customer service are ignored by many advisors who simply want to focus on their craft.
Q: How have these ideas been applied by advisors who you’ve spoken to?
So far, advisors have told me that they’ve bought the book in bulk and given it to their spheres of influence. For example, they give copies to all the CPAs and attorneys who give them business.
You could also host a seminar event at a Barnes and Noble, with the idea that people would buy copies of the book from the store. Or you could use a local library as a more low-pressure option.
Your prospects have many questions. They don’t ask you these questions because they don’t want to appear stupid. If people don’t ask you questions on their own, make sure you tell them to ask.
Another thing advisors should do is tell their clients up front what they don’tdo. Otherwise, they might assume you specialize in areas that you don’t.
Q: What routine has driven success for you?
Going with my gut. I can visualize all the times in my career when I’ve gone against my gut. Every time I’ve done that, it ended up being a big problem.
Q: What would you tell the younger version of yourself?
Having been brought up as a Roman Catholic, I have a strong sense of guilt. There are a bunch of things I should’ve done differently. I jumped between a bunch of different schools in college because I quit school for a year to start a business.
And then, there’s the betraying my gut thing. There were decisions I wouldn’t have made if I could go back. Specifically, I wouldn’t have left school for a year, although that was a great learning experience.
Be more patient. When I was younger, I was really impatient. I was the third employee in the institutional division of Waterhouse Securities. At the time, the firm did not have the desire to be number one. So, I got impatient and I left. And I gave up some vested stock options.
In hindsight, if I had been a little more patient and stayed there a few more years, it would have been an alternate career path that might have been a little bit better for me.
- Create a lead magnet containing questions that you should ask your financial advisor.
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Buy Nicholas’s book: The Truth Shall Set Your Wallet Free