Delegators vs. DIYers: Which one gets you to Top of the Table?

Figuring out the difference between a financial delegator and a do-it-yourselfer (DIYer) can tremendously impact your income as a financial advisor. For me, the more I work with financial delegators, the more my income and professional satisfaction increases. Furthermore, knowing the difference between the two financial personalities helps you effectively deal with those types of clients from the beginning. So how can you tell the difference between financial delegators and DIYers?

Delegators vs. DIYers

A financial delegator is excited about being understood and is happy to tell you about their complete financial position and goals. They want to complete that pre-meeting questionnaire. Delegators are the ideal client type because they value you and your opinion.

A DIYer, by contrast, normally doesn’t want to go through a process to help you understand their complete financial picture and goals. They see it as a waste of time. Often, they treat you more like an order taker for specific financial products. They’re looking for shortcuts and ways to do this themselves. And I promise you, the DIYers are always the ones who quibble on the fees.

Managing the two types

A financial delegator is somebody who says, “I know what’s important to me. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the goals I told you about, and I am willing to pay you for that advice.” They are generally going to do what you advise them to.

As a rule, most delegators want to be heard. Make sure you are using your active listening skills and finding ways to serve their needs. You’ll then be well on your way to building a relationship that could last many years.

When you know you’ve got a DIYer, it’s not somebody who you necessarily want to work with or keep as a lifelong client. One great way to dissuade them from wanting to do business with you is to show them the fees. You could even be so bold as to just price yourself out of what you think they are willing to pay.

When you need to work with a DIYer

I have relationships with accountancy partners, and sometimes they refer clients who don’t match my ideal client type. Yet, I want to honor my relationship with the accountants and keep them happy.

I’ve got a process for being able to deal with those referrals. It’s called advice on demand. This won’t build long-term relationships, and that’s OK. Advice on demand means you give your advice, then walk away. Generally, that’s what DIYers want anyway.

DIYers in disguise

Sometimes you get a client who presents as a delegator, but as that relationship progresses, you figure out that actually they’re not an ideal client. They are DIYers in disguise.

You can be the one to make the call to say, “Actually, we don’t think you need ongoing advice from us, because we know you’ve got your financial house in good order. And, on top of that, we can save you the fees every year from not receiving our ongoing advice either.”

You switch them from your ongoing planning service to advice on demand. The door is always open for them to be able to make the call to regroup with you. Always turn it around so that it’s to the advantage of the client.

The more you become an order taker to DIYer clients, the less likely you are to reach Top of the Table qualification status. Why not make the switch to financial delegator clients who are excited about reaching their goals, working with you and the financial plan you create for them?

Edward Franklin Marshall, APFS, of Shrewsbury, England, UK, has been an MDRT member since 2018 and is a Top of the Table qualifier. See more from Marshall in “Qualify for Top of the Table: Shift from order taker to financial advisor.” 

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