Sell What You've Got

As most of you know I’ve spent all of my adult life, starting at 19 years old, around financial advisors.  One thing that has stuck out to me over the years is that advisors work themselves into some sticky situations trying to solve problems for prospects or clients.  From the outside looking in those advisors typically had no business trying to solve those problems in the first place.  While their heart is typically in the right place it is often a no win situation when trying to deal with issues outside your core expertise.   


Think of it this way, a customer walks into Home Depot and asks to buy a chicken farm, or a patron pulls up to the drive through at McDonald’s and asks for Fois Gras with a fava bean compote.  In both of those situations there is not a question of what the employees would say.  “Sorry we don’t sell that here.”  In each situation the potential customer walks away and finds someone who can serve their needs better. 


So my question is why do so many advisors on their websites list a long list of services that aren’t at the core of what they do.  Or why when approached by a client who wants some exotic investment strategy or needs an insurance product they may not be familiar with are advisors so apt to try and muster up a solution?  This takes valuable time away from their practice.  It also ends up creating frustration with the client and the advisor because of the issues that arise during the process that is clunky at best. 


While many of the top advisors I know are connectors and direct people to the specialists they need, they also stick to selling what they know.  They become experts over time, developing a repeatable process people can expect.  In the long run it makes it easier for people to refer business to these advisors because they know what they do and what the experience will be for the client.  It is in an advisor’s nature to help people, but I would encourage all advisors to believe in your expertise, sell what you’ve got, and partner with trusted experts on the rest.