It seems that everywhere we turn today, the media is emphasizing advisory and product fees.
Common questions are:
“Are you paying too much?”
“Do you know what you are paying for?”
I consider this type question to be one-dimensional and shortsighted. For example, if one wants to “stay on the numbers’ side”, then where is the question:
“Are you receiving value for your fees?”
The interesting thing that happens when we insert the word “value” is that we add the possibility for an intangible answer in addition to the one-dimensional tangible answer.
Here are two recent examples of how we have added both tangible and intangible value for our clients:
Clients recently came in for their conversation with us, which includes portfolio review. They brought a folder with them and asked: “Will you please look over these estimates for us to pre-pay our funerals?”
This led to a conference call with the clients and the director of the funeral home. At the end of the conversation in which I asked many questions, the clients said, “Thank you so much. We understand this now, and are very pleased with the decisions we have made. Mostly, we feel wonderful that we have taken this burden off of our family.”
Tangible Results: the clients ended up saving $1100 from the original quote.
Resonate Time: 90 minutes
Resonate Fee for this work: $0
Intangible Value Received by the Client: Relief; peace of mind.
Intangible Value Received by Resonate: Knowing we did the “right thing” for aging clients.
A client called recently and said: “I’m not sure if these new legal documents prepared by an attorney match our objectives discussed with you.”
While we are not attorneys, we were clear about what our clients were trying to accomplish. During our meeting with the clients, we simply asked questions which identified several discrepancies.
The client’s response: “Thank you so much; now I understand why I was so uncomfortable. Will you please recommend an attorney for us? We should have thought to ask you initially.”
Tangible Results for the Client: Clients met with new attorney, saved over $2000 for document preparation, and now have documents that accurately reflect their wishes.
Resonate Time: 40 minutes
Resonate Tangible Fee for this work: $0
Intangible Value Received by the Client: Peace of mind knowing that the documents are completed and reflect their wishes.
Intangible Value Received by Resonate: Satisfaction that we added value beyond our “fees”.
While these two examples are among our most recent, I plan to write another blog on this topic because there are so many ways in which we add value “beyond our fees”.
While I believe the media will continue to be shortsighted in equating value only to the tangible, monetary aspect of the relationship, we know that the greatest value actually comes from the relationship itself.
It is in the moments we hear,
“Until I met you, I was always afraid to ask about this…”;
“Thank you for just letting me talk and for listening…”;
“Thank you; we always feel better after coming to Resonate”…
that we find the greatest value of all…the joy and satisfaction of knowing we are making a positive difference “beyond the balance sheet”.
If this type of thinking “resonates with you”, I invite you to an exploratory conversation.
Barbara A. Culver
CFP®, ChFC®, CLU, AEP®