As consumers increasingly use the internet to research potential products and services, a financial planning firm’s website is often the prospective client’s first impression. Yet unfortunately, the reality is that most financial planning firms fail to answer the three basic questions any consumer has when visiting the website for a potential professional to hire: 1) What services do you provide? (i.e., what is your value); 2) Do you work with people like me? (i.e., what are your minimums and am I in your firm’s target niche?); and most important, 3) How much will this cost?
The last issue in particular is often a sticking point for financial planners, who fear that if costs and fees can’t be discussed in person, the client may misunderstand or not properly evaluate the value the firm provides. Yet the reality is that avoiding the issue on your website doesn’t help; instead, it simply drives away prospective clients and referrers who move on to the next website/professional who does clearly disclose cost! Transparency is a fundamental factor in building trust… which means being opaque about the cost of your services is not exactly the best way to start a trusting relationship!
The solution, instead, is to clearly communicate the pricing of your financial planning fees on your website; and if you’re concerned that clients will not evaluate the costs properly, then provide them “proper” comparisons on the spot! Transparency is crucial to establishing trust, but it doesn’t have to exist in a vacuum!