It’s your job to find and retain clients, but your spouse may come across opportunities to help. Does he or she know what to do?
Scenario #1: “What does your spouse do?”
Your spouse will get this one frequently in social settings.
Message to convey: The advisor’s job is important. Your spouse is proud of your profession. Avoid stereotypical answers.
Good answers: “He’s in the advice business at (firm),” or “She’s an officer at (firm),” or “He’s a certified financial planner with his own practice.”
Bad answers: Put downs. “He’s just a broker at (firm),” or “She sells insurance,” or “He flogs stocks.”
Scenario #2: Can they spot opportunities?
The spouse of a California-based advisor I know found that once people learned what her husband did for a living, they started talking to her about their investments. They assumed she understood the jargon.
Message to convey: Listen intently. Take a sincere interest. If a problem or need arises, position the spouse as a problem solver.
Good answers: “You should really be talking to my husband. He may be able to help you with that problem.” Or, “My wife has helped other people with a similar problem. She may be able to help you, too.”
Bad answers: Laughing. Brushing the person off. “You only have yourself to blame,” or “I can’t believe anyone would be so naive to think a product could do all that! No wonder you lost money.”
Scenario #3: Communicating confidentiality
“I bet you know all about your spouse’s clients.” It’s an assumption you want to disabuse current and prospective clients of.
Message to convey: Business stays at the office. Confidentiality’s a requirement of the financial services business.
Good answer: “We have separate business lives. I don’t ask him whom he manages money for, and he doesn’t ask me whom I perform surgery on.” Or, “It’s kind of like being married to a pastor. He can’t repeat anything he’s told in the confessional.”
Bad answer: “The stories I could tell you! Do you know the Smiths? I won’t get into details, but let me tell you, things aren’t all what they seem with those two.”
Scenario #4: Advertising key traits
People want advisors who put clients first. Your spouse can weave into everyday conversations the fact you do exactly that. Take a case where the advisor is late for a dinner outing with friends.
Good answer: “Here’s what I think happened. He was leaving his office and the phone rang. He never ignores a ringing phone. It was a client with a problem. He took off his coat, sat down and helped her. Who knows when he’ll be done? I think we should get our table. He’ll get here when he gets here.”
Bad answer: “You want an advisor who will make you money. That’s one thing my wife can do well. Where she gets her information, or how she knows things ahead of time I’ll never know. She has the most incredible luck.”
Scenario #5: Timing
Make sure that when your spouse sees an opportunity for you to connect with a prospect during a social event, he or she tells you about it right away.
Message to convey: Who made the comment, and enough background information to get you thinking about next steps.
Good answer: “See that guy over there? He’s a doctor and he’s got a problem with his retirement plan. Why don’t you sit at that table tonight? I’ll be fine on my own.”
Bad answer: “I met a woman who won the lottery at the party we went to last night. Not the big prize, just a couple million. She’s old and hasn’t a clue what to do so I suggested she talk with you. I forget her name. Was that important?”