Shawn O’Brien

Understanding clients and helping clients understand

The role of a financial advisor is simple. Our primary responsibility is to help clients identify where they are now and where they need to go. Along the way we also help clients separate their emotions and make decisions using a sound intellectual framework. So why does our community continue to worry about client reactions to short-term underperformance?

By Shawn O'Brien | June 19, 2013

3 min read

Fallout (and marketing) advice for advisors

The RSP season has ended and much of the rush has subsided. Looking at March and beyond, it is time to start deciding what’s next. There is no doubt the past six months have been difficult. Gyrating markets and client worry take an emotional toll. With a client base leaning on you for direction and […]

By Shawn O'Brien | March 25, 2009

4 min read

Restoring trust and confidence

I am starting to feel reluctant about using the words “trust” and “confidence” because our industry bandies these words around often and carelessly. We realize that these two words represent the essence of our business, yet we seldom step back and examine their true meaning. I’d like to take this opportunity to revisit the fundamentals […]

By Shawn O'Brien | January 22, 2009

6 min read

Marketing: Hit them with real information

The purpose of marketing to clients and prospects is to get their immediate attention. So many financial advisors, though, keep telling me how difficult it is to market these days. Why is that? I suggest that most are benchmarking their current results against the result of marketing efforts they made back in the early- to […]

By Shawn O'Brien | January 9, 2009

5 min read

Our confidence is being tested

Is your confidence currently being tested? Of course it is. You wouldn’t be human if it wasn’t. But is the belief in what you do still intact? Would you invest with you? I know that is a tough question to ask. Let’s face it — no investor has escaped the troubles caused by recent market […]

By Shawn O'Brien | December 2, 2008

4 min read

Clients and call reluctance

There is a new trend developing in this topsy-turvy financial marketplace. Many of your clients are suffering from call reluctance. Despite deep-rooted concern for the welfare of their nest eggs, it seems they’re afraid to call their financial advisors. Last week while I was conducting a coaching meeting with a veteran advisor, he exclaimed, “I […]

By Shawn O'Brien | October 21, 2008

4 min read

Press stop, rewind and play

Walk in the shoes of your best clients Do you have a brand? The Puf Principle How do you earn trust? Do your clients know the "new" you? Here are some sample questions to consider: • What did I do well in the past three months? • What activities generated the best results? • Which […]

By Shawn O'Brien | August 18, 2008

4 min read

Set a service standard

Walk in the shoes of your best clients Do you have a brand? The Puf Principle How do you earn trust? Do your clients know the "new" you? Surveys suggest that today’s prospective client will interview more than one advisor before settling on a new one. If your goal is to secure new clients, it […]

By Shawn O'Brien | June 20, 2008

4 min read

Growth strategy: Attract your natural market

(May 2008) The most common question I get from financial advisors is “how should I grow my business?” This is a vital consideration since businesses that aren’t growing are likely losing ground. Future growth is a challenge because many of the traditional techniques advisors know about are less effective today. Before we determine the best […]

By Shawn O'Brien | May 22, 2008

5 min read

Why buy a cow?

(March 2008) My grandmother was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It is a province known for its rich culture, charity and propensity for fun. If you frequent Canada’s most eastern province, you will come to realize that Newfoundlanders have wonderful expressions for just about anything. One such expression is “why buy a cow when you […]

By Shawn O'Brien | February 29, 2008

3 min read

Watch your language

(January 2008) An elderly couple entered their advisor’s office for their annual financial check-up. Although they were a little concerned that their portfolio was down slightly from the same time last year, they kept reminding themselves they are retired and allowed to withdraw money for trips and the odd “big ticket” purchase. They were also […]

By Shawn O'Brien | January 23, 2008

5 min read