I don’t like the word “pushy” that’s why I use “persistent” instead. Pushy has unpleasant overtones, like the timeshare salesman we met in Tenerife who just wouldn’t give up until we’d signed on the dotted line. Mainly driven by commission, we knew he would be counting his money before we’d walked out the door.
Persistent is somewhat different. I like to think that most financial advisers try to get their clients to do good things, like insure their life, or set up a pension, or make sure their mortgage is protected. Granted, we get paid when the business is done. But generally, a financial adviser would be recommending something that could change the life of a client or his loved ones for the better. Aren’t we, therefore, duty-bound to ensure that we follow the advice we have given through to its conclusion?
The dog-with-a-bone adviser: This adviser won’t take no for an answer, and this approach works with some clients. The dog with a bone adviser has a meeting with a young gentleman who has no pension arrangements whatsoever. He recommends a pension plan but the client wishes to go away and think about it. The dog- with-a bone adviser wants to get the business done there and then. He believes in his recommendation. He has explained all its features and benefits. What on earth could there be to think about? In the end, the client just wants to get away from him. He is so put off by the experience that he never seeks financial advice again. Ten years go by and he still has no retirement provision.
The laid-back adviser: This adviser doesn’t like to push his clients. He prefers to present and then wait for the client to purchase. Some of his clients like this approach for there is never any pressure. In most cases, however, he fails to close the business. On this occasion, he convinces his clients to consider purchasing life insurance, as they have dependent children. The clients think it is a good idea, however, with the pressing matters of everyday life to think about, forget all about it as almost as soon as they have finished the meeting. The laid-back adviser waits to hear back from them. When he hears nothing, he assumes they don’t want it and can’t bring himself to push them. The family remain uninsured and financially exposed.
The assertive adviser: The assertive adviser starts off by asking the client what makes them tick in the decision-making process. Do they need to be pushed or are they good at making decisions? Are they able to make decisions on their own or do they need to refer to spouse, mum or dad? He then tries to strike a balance between being firm and being flexible. Firm when there is evidence of potential financial exposure yet, flexible enough in his approach to ensure that clients feel comfortable. Firm enough to chase clients when they need to be, yet sensible enough to know when it is a lost cause.
That would be my approach. Ultimately, good sound financial advice should speak for itself, and clients will make their own decisions. Nonetheless, a gentle nudge sometimes helps and that gentle nudge could change someone’s life for the better.