There was a time not too long ago where the financial planning industry seemed to be focused on selling financial products and volume, volume, volume! This foundation in sales is still around, but we’ve started to notice a much-needed shift towards financial planning becoming primarily a professional advice industry. Now, don’t get us wrong, sales are important in any business. Everyone has to keep the lights on. But there’s a fine line between generating sales, and building long-lasting relationships. With this shift in culture to an advice-driven service, it’s important to recognize that you can’t provide, or accept, good advice if the building blocks of a solid relationship aren’t in place.

So what does a good relationship look like in an advice-based industry like financial advising? First and foremost, it starts with open communication between both parties, including fact-based, honest discussions. As discussed in a previous blog post, emotions tend to run high when it comes to financial decisions. By setting aside emotions and focusing on the facts and options available we can more easily work together to crush those financial goals.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be a robot. Emotions aren’t a bad thing and are often an important guiding light towards the things that truly fulfill us. A piece of software can determine what the best financial product for you might be, but algorithms can’t replace relationships and get at the true heart of your goals and ambitions. At least not yet!

As advisors, it has always struck us as important to have a proper understanding of someone’s situation before we can give them any sort of advice. Otherwise, you’re just basing suggestions on rules of thumb and “best practice”. We are all unique, though, and deserve a more detailed, personal approach than just best practice.

Something interesting our father and grandfather have noticed while building their businesses with this relationship-based approach is that you don’t just end up with a bunch of clients, but a bunch of friends and long-term relationships along the way. Some of these relationships are still a part of TCM Financial today, and we owe it all to a “relationships over sales” approach.