Once upon a time, telephones had cords connecting the handset to the base. Advisors used them to call clients and do transactional business. Over time, phone became smartphones, and advisors introduced clients to managed money and asset-based pricing. An industry leader, considering the annual fee within the new pricing model, remarked: “it’s becoming a 1% business.” Some prospects don’t “get” the total value of the relationship and the many ways you can help your clients. Has someone ever asked, “What do I get for my 1%?”

Years ago, I saw a firm-produced document showing the many possible ways an advisor might help a client. It covered two pages with bullet points and tiny type. Let us focus on 15 tangible benefits you bring to the table in the advisory relationship.

1. A dedicated financial advisor. This person is likely in the immediate local area. You can meet face to face across a desk. When you do business online or through a customer service desk, you don’t have an ongoing relationship with one person.

2. A live person answering the phone. Have you tried calling your credit card provider or wireless company? What about your power company? The chances are good you must navigate a telephone tree as you hope to get a live person. If you call your financial advisor during office hours, you will likely reach them, their assistant or a member of their team. Everyone should interact with you by name, because they know you.

3. A financial plan that adapts to changing circumstances. Doctors are not order takers. If you show up at their office asking for a certain drug, they are not going to write you a prescription and send you away. They will want to do an exam, review your blood tests and have you fill out plenty of pages concerning your medical history. Your advisor will start the relationship with a financial plan. This allows them to understand your unique situation and needs. If you win the lottery or lose your job, the plan can be adjusted accordingly.

4. An investment proposal suitable for your situation. Years ago, when advisors were considered stock pickers, some people through the advisor told you what to buy and when to sell. If you asked questions or pushed back, they fired you as their client. After completing a plan, the advisor meets with the client and proposes a range of investments as the next step in moving forward. They explain how the different pieces work together, how they should help you make progress towards your stated goal.

5. Pay as you go pricing. Years ago, transaction fees meant your investment needed to rise by a certain amount to simply break even. Some investments did not have obvious fees but carried surrender charges. Today, pricing is transparent. Although investing should be considered a long-term endeavor, you only pay for the money management services for the period of time you are using them. When you want to stop, the fees stop.

6. Consolidated reporting. Clients often have money in several places. Their retirement plan at work is a good example. They might have an online trading account or a relationship with another advisor at a major firm. The advisor can look at the big picture, integrating assets held away when they conduct review meetings.

7. Periodic reviews. Accountability is important. Some people enjoy tracking their investment performance. Others want to use their free time differently. Your advisor should meet with you periodically, perhaps in person, by video or phone and review your performance, suggesting changes when necessary.

8. Measuring progress to goals. Everyone wants to make money. They want to beat the stock market. This is harder than it looks. What is your comfort level relative to portfolio risk? A good advisor will look at your goals and determine the rate of return needed to hit your target. This might be referred to as the “family index.” It is often a lower number than the stock market achieves in a good year.

9. Advice concerning charitable giving. Many people with disposable income are generous. They are also cherry picked by local charities. When you think of giving, it is often by writing a check and dropping it in the collection basket. Your advisor can show you alternative ways of giving, getting more impact from your contribution.

10. Retirement planning advice. Everyone wants to stop working someday. Retirement might seem a long way off, but many people are motivated by financial independence, the moment when going to work becomes a choice, not a requirement. Your advisor should help you plan a savings strategy for retirement.

11. College planning. Everyone wants their children to get the best education possible. This costs money. Relatives often want to help, writing annual checks on birthdays. A good advisor helps project the future cost of a college education and suggests tax-advantaged strategies for saving money for a child with minimal tax impact.

12. Estate planning. The government is OK with “buy now, pay later.” They let you save for retirement in tax deferred accounts. Many people would prefer a “buy now, pay never” approach. They want to pass all their wealth to their heirs when they die. The government won’t let you do that. A good advisor can help clients structure their wealth and accounts, taking steps to minimize their tax liability.

13. Help for other family members. This is a source of referrals from the advisor’s viewpoint. It’s often called selling up and selling down. There will be times when a family member doesn’t have enough money to become a client, but they still need financial advice. A good advisor will talk with any family member, offering general advice as needed.

14. Liability management. The easiest way to get a 20% return on money is to payoff a credit card charging you 20% interest annually on debt carried month to month. Some clients assume they will pay it down soon, but don’t. An advisor can help determine if a client is getting the best interest rate possible on their outstanding debt.

15. Professional referrals. There are times when a person might outgrow some professional relationships. They might file their own taxes, but now their situation is more complex. They might have an attorney skilled in transferring property, but not estate planning. A good advisor can refer their client to a few professionals, allowing them to choose the best fit.

The advisor seeks to build a long-term relationship with the client. They need to bring substantial value to the table to make this case. If the client feels they are getting substantial value, cost often becomes secondary.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book Captivating the Wealthy Investor is available on Amazon.