Don’t Let Clients’ Concerns Escalate: Tackle Issues Head on
Meeting your clients’ expectations is the least you can do – it’s simply part of your job – so don’t expect to get a pat on the back for it. If you want to retain clients for the long term, you need to step up your level of service way beyond this and be more proactive than other advisors. Offer your clients a heroic standard of service by taking ownership of their problems before they become detrimental to your business.
Here are four ways to ensure you keep things on track.
1. Don’t wait for clients to call you when markets are down
When the markets take a dive call your clients before they call you. As the chairman of Toyota once said, “hidden problems eventually become serious threats”. So, don’t sit back and hope the storm will pass unnoticed. Clients will be concerned so get on the phone and tell them a vision story about how volatility and other hindrances encountered while investing are small compared to the end goal.
You don’t need to exaggerate or overpromise – simply paint an exciting, rewarding future for your clients so that the obstacles along the way fade into insignificance. Don’t sound doubtful or uncertain, because your clients are looking to you for leadership – they need you to provide reassurance and make them feel positive about their investments.
2. Face the music if you want to retain your clients’ trust
You will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. And when you do make a mistake own up to it and treat clients as you would like to be treated.
If you bought a faulty product you would expect someone to solve your problem, otherwise you’d be furious. So, face the music when something goes wrong because it’s the only decent thing to do. Clients often leave advisors due to a lack of confidence in them – a lack of confidence that derives from a lack of communication. So, admit to your mistakes and your clients will respect you.
3. Prevent client confusion by keeping things simple
Don’t patronize clients just because they don’t understand what you understand. They are commencing on a journey into new and complex terminology so don’t be pretentious. Your goal is to make concepts understandable – that can be harder than it looks.
To help you get your message across, make sure you know your material inside out – the more familiar you are with your content, the easier it will be to simplify it. Use proverbs, stories and analogies– they are a great way of getting your point across. Avoid common phrases or clichés – they have little impact. Don’t use slang because people find it annoying.
If you can make the light go on for your clients, they will warm to you because you will make them look smart, and people like people who make them feel smart.
4. Prevent problems down the line by not overpromising
For the most part clients simply want to beat the bank, educate their children and build a retirement fund. There’s no need to overpromise or elevate expectations because if you do you are setting yourself up for failure. You will inevitably underperform. If a client forgets why they hired you, then exceed their expectations by asking them what they want of you – get their expectations out on the table, then decide if their expectations are reasonable.
If you are prepared to step up and offer a better service model than your competitors, you will stand apart from them and you will get referrals. If you go that extra mile, people will introduce you to their friends and families. So, don’t shy away from your clients’ concerns. Don’t hide your head in the sand. Do what other advisors don’t do – get out there, solve your clients’ pain points before they harm your relationship and you will earn their loyalty for the long term.