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Communication Breakdowns Are Backing Business Owners Into Corners

Submitted by John Brown on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 6:00am
A young adult in a brown suit jacket screaming into a landline phone

Few things are bigger and more important to business owners than planning for their future success, both inside and outside the business. It’s a huge planning process, and owners need help from advisors to plan effectively. Shockingly, business owners are reporting that when they need their advisors most, they’re nowhere to be found.

According to a Ycharts survey, as reported by Caleb Smith and Irene Huhulea of Investopedia, “[T]he majority of advisory services clients are under-engaged when it comes to their relationships with advisors. In fact, 63% of survey respondents said that they were contacted by their advisors ‘infrequently’ or ‘very infrequently,’ including nearly half of clients with $500,000 or more in AUM.” Additionally, “The survey also found that 62% of respondents said more frequent or more personalized contact would give them more confidence in their financial plan and 85% would consider the frequency and style of communication when deciding to retain services.”

So, advisory services clients, including business owners, want more communication from their advisors, would feel better about their planning with more personalized contact, decide whether to retain an advisor’s services based on how well they communicate, and still feel like their advisors aren’t in contact with them enough. What can and should advisors do to address these communication breakdowns?

Understanding business owners

As an outside advisor, it’s easy to view a business primarily as an asset. To business owners, the business is often so much more. Yes, it’s important to business owners for the business to be worth as much as possible. But there’s more to business ownership than just maximizing value. Unless advisors understand what, other than money, owners care about, it’s impossible for them to work in their clients’ best interest.

Understanding what drives business owners outside of money is much more challenging than it seems. The advent of analytical technology has made it much easier for advisors to be more indirect with their clients. They can more easily crunch numbers and create projections, sometimes without ever contacting their clients directly. This isn’t to say that this technology is inherently bad: It certainly makes planning processes more efficient. But none of these technologies can replicate the human element of planning for a successful future.

Bluntly speaking, unless advisors know how to appeal to the emotional side of planning, they cannot truly provide the advice business owners seek. The planning process is far too emotional to rely solely on cold logic, algorithms, and projections. This isn’t something that advisors can simply discount. Recall that 85% of advisory services clients consider whether to retain an advisor’s services based on how and how often that advisor communicates with them. Proper communication is what owners want, yet many advisors aren’t delivering it.

BEI is the leader in showing advisors how to properly communicate with business owners about planning for their successful futures. We show advisors which questions to ask owners, why they should ask those questions, and how to continue probing for answers. We have tools and assessments that give owners a clear picture of what they care about most while demonstrating advisor expertise. And we provide the technology and software advisors need to synthesize that information into actionable planning items.


BEI helps advisors develop the human touch that owners have constantly stated they don’t get enough of from their advisors, differentiating them from their competitors. But how can advisors possibly thread the needle between personalized communication and efficient service?

Staying in front of business owners

Recall that business owners don’t think their advisors are talking to them enough. Given how busy successful advisors are, it might be tempting for advisors to throw their hands up and ask, “What can I do? I’m but one person.” The answer is to stay in front of those clients as much as possible. But how?

This is where automation technology can be extremely helpful. Business owners want to know that their advisors care about them and their businesses in terms other than money. Effective strategies to do this include keeping owners abreast about issues that might be of interest to them and their planning. This isn’t terribly hard to do if the issue of interest to the owner falls within an advisor’s realm of expertise. But what if the things the owner is most interested in fall outside of an advisor’s realm of expertise?

The key isn’t for advisors to be experts in everything. The key is for advisors to know what they don’t know and find people who do know. This is why it’s so important for advisors to have networks of advisors outside of their core focus to call on. Advisors must foster these networks if they want to provide business owners with the advisory services they expect. Otherwise, as the previously mentioned survey showed, owners will find someone else who can find them the answers they seek.

The good news is that BEI has a unique expertise in keeping advisors in front of their business-owning clients and building their networks. We provide automated platforms that allow advisors to provide the personalized information owners seek. We also provide educational, analytical, user friendly deliverables to keep advisors top of mind and establish them as experts. Finally, BEI was founded on the notion of teamwork. Advisors from many different industries work together as a matter of course under the BEI umbrella, because no one can plan for a business owner’s future success alone.

Personalized, consistent, and constant communication is what business owners look for in an advisor. BEI gives advisors the tools and strategies to provide it, allowing advisors to properly serve their business-owning clients and become smarter, more versatile, and more trustworthy.


  • Advisory services clients, including business owners, feel that their advisors don’t contact them frequently enough, and will make decisions regarding whether to retain their services based on the frequency and quality of their communication.
  • Advisors to business owners must know how to communicate with their clients and prospects in ways that reveal what matters to them. Once they find out what matters most, they must do everything they can to address those matters.
  • BEI provides advisors who want to communicate with business owners on the owners’ terms with tools, training, knowledge, and access to do exactly that. This makes those advisors smarter, more versatile, and more trustworthy.

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