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On the Fringe

Golf shots that land on the fringe eventually make it on to the green


Lately, we have received questions from prospects wondering if they ‘fit the mold’ of someone we (or another advisor) would work with. They feel their level of assets or income does not meet a certain threshold for an advisor to take them on.


Marketing experts say it is important to have a clear set of criteria describing the type of client an advisor works with. Stating this upfront eliminates the time and effort to weed out those that may not be a good fit. This approach makes sense. It helps an advisor focus more on a particular target demographic by setting clear boundaries. It sets a line in the sand, and you are either in or out.


What this also does is alienate those that are just outside that boundary but may have potential to be inside it in the future.


An advisor – Jackson Creek included - may advertise a minimum of $1 million in investable assets, for example, for a prospect to become a client. What about those with $500,000 or $750,000? Are they any less worthwhile to work with? The easy answer is ‘yes’, because they will not generate as much in revenue for those charging on an assets under management (AUM) basis. But that is a short-term approach.


Financial planning and wealth management is largely about future opportunities. We approach each relationship with a long-term perspective. In an industry that preaches individualized service, we think it is important to look at each case objectively. For example, if we say we serve executives in their fifties with $1 million in investable assets, why would we not work with a 35-year-old whose career trajectory enables them to hit that target in fifteen years? Part of an advisor’s job is to help clients protect and grow wealth along the way, not just step in once they’ve already reached that point.


Those with less than $1 million in investable assets also have complex needs and planning goals. They also stand to benefit from sound planning and advice as they cross the minimum threshold. The way we look at is if a prospect has an interest in learning about our company, people, and services, we are not going to hold them to a hard minimum if there is a path for them to grow into a more “typical” client. Thus, it may make sense for us to work with a younger client that is on the path to meeting the minimum threshold.


That’s not to say we will work with anyone and everyone. We only take on clients that we believe will benefit from our services. There must be a mutual willingness to enter a partnership. No matter the outcome, we are always willing to at least have a conversation with those contemplating whether they need and fit the criteria to hire an advisor. Even if the conversation does not lead to a working relationship, it can at least help you understand more about the advisor landscape, your own needs and wants, and questions to ask in the future.


We also advertise certain minimums, but it is more of a guideline than a rule. It speaks to the typical client level, but we have clients below, and well above, that level. Don’t let that dissuade you from reaching out or having a conversation.

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