Near the end of 2021 my colleague Lauren Thys wrote about trends to look out for in 2022, including innovation in engagement among intermediary channels. Six months into the year we have seen a shift in how financial professionals are building and maintaining their practice, more interested in creating an identity than ever before and taking steps to understand their clients in a more meaningful way. While the traditional product pitch is certainly not a dying conversation, advisors are looking for ways to amplify their services. 

This shift in advisor perspective has led to sales consultants evolving their own partnerships with financial professionals. Clients need more than an investment lineup, which means financial professionals need to think more broadly about what they can offer. And yet at the end of the day it is the job of a sales organization to sell.  

It’s a tough spot to be in – the need to sell funds vs. a more personalized and holistic client experience. While the intention is usually to offer clients something more, when there’s a bottom line to meet the traditional product pitch becomes the go-to solution. 

But what if two things can be true at once? 

Historically, distribution teams have relied on performance, fact sheets and risk assessments to close deals. However, as the industry shifts its attention to providing more elevated client experiences the need for solutions-based, programmatic services and more personalized resources is becoming necessary.  

This, coupled with performance metrics and investment portfolio services, provides clients with a whole experience – one that makes them feel connected, heard and understood. Most especially when markets are down (as they are now), it’s important for clients to feel stable and safe; providing an extra layer of sensitivity for and understanding of challenges only solidifies relationships and encourages loyalty. Increasingly, relying solely on performance to carry client conversations misses the mark in terms of building long-term and trusted relationships. In this era of keen focus on building better relationships, management and development resources can be packaged and curated. Digital advisory tools and resources alongside consultative interactions can be a winning combination to not only sell funds but tell a story as well. 

Intermediaries have an opportunity to reach clients on both an emotional and intellectual level – an artform that is not easy to master. But in an industry where all channels are attempting to bridge the gap between the manager and the client, it is a requirement to not only know your audience but understand their appetites and behaviors.  For financial professionals, that starts with thinking beyond the typical product pitch.