Maintaining Meaningful Relationships Is Hard but Essential Work
As a financial advisor you need a wide range of skills, not least the ability to prospect and win new business. However, another area of expertise – and one which is frequently overlooked – is the ability to maintain a meaningful ongoing relationship with your clients. Here are a few ways to do this.
#1. Become an integral part of your clients’ lives
Make it your aim to become your clients’ trusted confidant; someone they feel they can call on for advice at any time, and for any issue. Clients often want to have a personal relationship with their advisor – so make this happen by thinking of ways you can become more involved in their lives.
Don’t ever think short-term when it comes to clients. You’re there for the long haul so never let your focus or commitment waver. If you do, they will sense it. And if you eventually develop a friendship with a client that’s a great outcome – for both of you – because people seldom fire their friends.
#2. Keep it simple
When you’re talking to your clients, keep things simple. Rather than talk in terms of figures and charts listen intently as clients explain their visions and goals. Keep in mind that you’re not selling products – you’re selling hopes and dreams back to your clients; the opportunity to look forward to a comfortable retirement, or a way to fund their kids’ educational costs.
#3. Deliver A* service
Always make it your aim to exceed your clients’ expectations. Simply delivering a tailored financial plan is standard. Surely all advisors should be able to do this – after all we all have the same products and knowledge at our command.
Differentiate yourself by focusing on ‘how’ you deliver your service. Be like Starbucks and make your clients feel that what you are offering is something truly unique and special. Let them know you understand their concerns and be confident about how you are going to solve them. Martha Graham said it perfectly: Great dancers are not great dancers because of their talent – they’re at the top of their profession because of their passion and commitment.
Prove your clients made the best decision when they chose you. Get across the fact that you have the skills and approach that differentiates you from other run-of-the-mill advisors: It’s because you put care and caring at the core of what you do. If you can get clients to believe this, they’ll always find a way to carry on doing business with you.
#4. Develop a client-first mentality
Be a first-class communicator. Failure to respond quickly breeds mistrust, so call regularly, even if it’s just to ask how your clients are doing. Call too much, rather than not enough.
Don’t be like average advisors who say they’ll call but don’t get around to it, either because they’re busy, they forgot or they didn’t give it the importance it deserved. You may have a busy schedule but no matter how much work you have, never fail to keep your word.
#5. Have a succession plan
If you don’t have a succession plan, your clients could start feeling like children in a violent storm who are terrified their parents won’t be there to look after them. Your clients will wonder what will happen to their investments, to that secure financial future and comfortable retirement, should something happen to you.
Give them the security they crave by getting a succession plan in place – then make sure they know about it.
#6. Get them to follow the plan
Throughout tumultuous times you’ll need to have a strong and meaningful relationship with your clients. Just as we look to the flight attendant during a bumpy flight, your clients will look to you for reassurance when the markets take a negative turn. It’s your job to control their sentiments if you are to keep the relationship on track.
Get them to see that the game plan is meant to be followed; that no matter what the markets are doing sticking with the plan is the right thing to do. What happens today won’t be important ten years down the line. Every year spent obsessing on the side-lines is a year wasted.
Maintaining a meaningful relationship with clients is hard work – but no matter how hard it is, it’s crucial to your future success. Connect emotionally with clients. Do what you say you’re going to do. Be diligent, passionate, confident – and most of all care – because that’s what means the most in the end.
Watch this one-minute video to learn how Don Connelly 24/7 can help you master the skill of building and maintaining client relationships.
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