The Office of a Financial Advisor: What Does Your Client See?


As a seasoned financial advisor, you know that making a lasting impression is important. Make sure your office environment is doing its part. Don’t underestimate the power your corporate atmosphere has to influence how your clients, or potential clients, perceive you as a professional.

How you design your office also impacts your clients’ comfort level, perception of privacy and ability to make financial decisions. Consider the physical elements of the room, such as the temperature and how light or dark the room is. There are also mental considerations with the messages you are sending clients with the pictures and personal objects displayed. Then consider the emotional component, or how the office environment shapes the way clients feel, including the use of colors and textures.

Here are a few other tips to see your office the way your financial advisory clients see it:

Use your senses. How does your office look? How does it smell? What do you hear? How does it feel when you sit down? The light in your office environment is a big component. Natural light is ideal, but if that isn’t possible, use full-spectrum lighting. Keep the temperature and humidity comfortable. Try to ensure outside noise is minimized to increase your ability to talk with your financial advisory clients uninterrupted. It also brings a sense of privacy for your clients.

First impressions are everything. Do your clients feel welcome as soon as they walk into your office or waiting area? Do you have comfortable chairs that give off an air of elegance? Is there ample reading material? Keep magazines current and select ones that allow your clients to envision their dream home or retirement life. Do you offer water or coffee or even cookies to clients while they wait? Your clients trust you with their investments. Going above and beyond in little ways to welcome them to your office will build both their appreciation and confidence.

Give your office environment its own personality. The décor you select for your financial advisory office environment can give your clients a sense of the professional you are and the type of clients you want to work with. High-end finishes, leather seating, and adding art to the walls give off a sense of luxury. Office plants are great—studies continue to show that live plants reduce stress levels—as long as you make time to care for them. When choosing colors for the walls, carpeting and furnishings keep things neutral. Make sure the décor you choose appeals to you too so that you and your financial services team feel comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable, your clients will probably be able to sense it.

Clear your desk. When it comes to your personal office space, not only do you want to make sure your office environment is optimized for your productivity, you also want to make sure it is a clean and pleasing environment for meeting with current and potential clients. Having documents and items tidy on the top of your desk when meeting with clients gives off a sense of organization and professionalism. Make sure any personal client documents are not visible so that clients know their personal information will be safeguarded, too. Plan ahead and have the items you need for your meeting—whether printed financial materials or information you want to review online—at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to display a few personal items, like a family photo or any community outreach efforts you’ve contributed to. Having these in your office gives clients a sense of your personality and what life is like for you outside of your financial services office.

Don’t skimp on chairs. There’s no need to make a financial discussion uncomfortable by making your clients sit in uncomfortable chairs. Consider using adjustable chairs that give clients the power to make themselves more comfortable during your meeting. Financial advisors that use flexible seating to create a more conversational feel in the office, instead of setting two chairs up across from your desk, create an environment where clients feel relaxed, less stressed, and more willing to share information with you.

Work with a professional. The ambience of your office is making an impression for you, so take time to make sure it is making the impression on your clients that you want it to. Just as you encourage people to work with a professional like yourself when it comes to their investments, consider working with a professional designer to pull your financial advisory practice together. A professional interior designer’s expertise can help you create a comfortable atmosphere that is conducive to helping clients make the best financial decisions.

At Berthel Fisher, we make it our mission to help our advisors deliver the best client experience in the business. From our investment products, advisory services, our back office support and forward thinking management team; we are continuously investing in every advisor on our team.

If you are interested in joining Berthel Fisher, get started today or give us a call at 1-800-356-5234.

By Paige Swartzendruber

Paige Swartzendruber joined in 2007 and serves as Vice President of Berthel Fisher & Company and its subsidiaries and Executive Vice President of BFC Insurance, Inc. She holds FINRA securities licenses 7, 63 and 65. She also holds a life and fixed annuity insurance license. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Certificate in International Business from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.