I seek to be a professional financial planner, but still have a long way to go before claiming with confidence that I have done everything to reach that level. For now, I am striving to be the best, irreplaceable financial planner to my clients I am servicing, and, at the same time, I am observing excellent financial planners around me to learn from them.
As to how a professional financial planner should be defined, everybody has different opinions. These include:
- high performances or colorful work experience,
- long and steady work records,
- sincere attitude to his or her job,
- seeking perfectionism in the handling of work, and
- strong pride in his or her profession.
Among all these traits, I respect a financial planner who values their job, maintains a solid clientele, offers differentiated services, and who can make a brand out of his or her identity.
My basic philosophy in financial planning lies in the concept of ‘”triple win”. I have seen many examples of professional financial planners performing in this pattern fundamentally, even though they express it in different terms. If a ‘win-win’ is a relationship that offers benefits to both sides, a triple win provides benefits to everybody including you, me and the other(s), creating a mutual synergy and a bigger-’pie’ relationship among the three.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say, a doctor’s client consults a financial planner regarding his child’s hope to study abroad, and the financial planner refers him to a reliable, competent education professional. Then, the doctor and the education professional get to develop a relationship through the financial planner where they can assist each other, creating a win-win situation. Satisfied with their relationship, the two become and remain the financial planner’s clients, thereby providing the financial planner and other clients of the financial planner with ‘differentiated services’, hence, a triple-win.
Managing a Clientele Network
Sometimes a client’s needs can go way beyond the financial planner’s realm and there might be circumstances where the planner might not even gain a reward from the effort he or she has made to help the client identify their problem and get in touch with other professionals who can help out. Thus, the process is indeed a high-level of professional business that can rarely be accomplished by a pseudo-professional. Building a network of professionals, often called “a clientele network”, may be easier said than done, but an excellent financial planner can pull it off indeed.
If we take a look at financial planners who professionally manage a clientele network, we find that they have clear-cut client targets and services. Meaning, they aim at a specific target group for their clientele, who have a shared set of interests, known as common denominators. This enables the planner to improve their overall job efficiency and maximize their competence.
Building a Personal Brand
Financial planners who take this path will have to start by publicizing themselves and encouraging their current clients to help them out with word-of-mouth, but it can eventually lead to building a strong personal brand. A personal brand houses your philosophy and your knowledge together. When a financial planner is remembered for their clients and their service partners, they have succeeded in being a “professional financial planner”, in a true sense.