By Mark Spina via Iris.xyz

It’s the beginning of the year and markets have been volatile.  You’re thinking about client reviews and outlooks, and the fee discussions that may come along with those meetings.  As you prepare to step into that conversation, remember one thing: Your job is to help your clients stay focused on the outcome.

Our global market outlook for 2019 makes it a safe bet that we won’t be experiencing the same kind of bull markets some of your clients may have come to expect, based on returns for the past 10 years. But that’s why we believe a long-term, outcome-oriented approach is more vital than ever for advisors.

It’s time to arm yourself with the right strategies. With 2019 still in its early days, here are the top five actions we believe outcome-oriented advisors should do this year.

1. Rephrase the question – A typical conversation with a client can go like this: “Markets look a bit dodgy this year. Should I be in more gold, more cash, or more bonds?” Maybe you’ve even trained your clients to embrace model portfolios, so they ask, “Should I move from a growth model to a balanced model?” Either way, this is your chance to shift the question. A financial plan should never be led by product or asset class. The guiding question should always be: “What outcome are you trying to achieve?” Defining the outcome—or reminding your clients of the already-defined outcome—changes the conversation.

Tim Halverson, one of our regional directors, says it this way: “When I work with our premier advisors, one thing I notice is that they always start their conversations with the outcome and back into the solutions. Getting to retirementpaying for college, or creating a sustainable income are outcomes that investors really understand. Only when they come to a clear understanding of that outcome, is a solution then proposed.” Tim also reminds us that the financial plan is a very important part of the goal-oriented process: “When clients are worrying about the outcome, get them back to the plan.”

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