Trends and Advice for 2015: Rosemary Smyth

By Rosemary Smyth, MBA, ACC, Author on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

To start the year, we’ve reached out to our blog contributors with 3 simple questions to get their perspectives on this past year and provide you with insight and advice as you begin 2015. We hope that you find helpful.

Looking back, what were your thoughts on advisor coaching trends for this year?
This year in coaching we saw a shift in the coaching topic of prospecting, with advisors leaning more into asking for referrals from clients. These “warm” prospects that were referred by clients were easier to build rapport with and more willing to have a coffee meeting.  Advisors concluded the best time to ask for the referral was after the check in to see how the advisor was doing and how solid was their client-advisor relationship. If the response was positive, the asking for a referral seem to flow quite easily into the conversation.  The coaching conversations that were most popular were defining the advisor’s process when working with clients. It was important for the new referrals to understand what steps they can expect so they can understand the value the advisor offers.

Looking forward, what do you see as the emerging coaching topics for advisors for 2015?
The emerging coaching topics for 2015 will be focusing on the client experience and fine tuning the advisor’s value proposition.  For the client experience, segmenting the client base and setting up new service level agreements for the top tier will be a focus for advisors. The new service levels will be based on the clients’ needs and goals.  The new strategies to be put in place will be setting up systems and processes so that nothing falls through the cracks. This is a big project for some advisors so it will be important to chunk down the tasks. They’ll also need to be clear on the roles and responsibilities of the team and be ready to expand to meet the needs of a growing practice. With heavy competition in the investment industry having a clear value proposition is key. It needs to be articulated clearly and concisely and in a few sentences.

How should advisors be planning to exceed their client's expectations?
To start the process of looking at the client’s expectations it’s important to have a conversation about their goals and needs. Once you have the framework for meeting the client’s needs then you can create one for exceeding their expectations.The advisor’s marketing plan will need to adapt to meet the clients’ needs both in terms of type of communication and content. The plan may also include client appreciations, seminars and cards/gifts, depending on the budget.Ask clients, either formally by a survey or informally, how you are measuring up. Be open to their feedback and make changes to your service level if needed.  When having conversations with clients about their goals and dreams, be sure to take careful notes and to refer back to these notes during client reviews. Check off which goals have been accomplished, which are still in progress and see if there are any new ones to add.

Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at You can email Rosemary at: and follow her on Twitter @rosemarysmyth

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