5 Things You Can Do Today to Deepen Client Relationships
Your role as a financial advisor is an important one for the clients you serve – your expertise is a critical component to them achieving the financial future they’re hoping for. That’s why it requires a unique measure of trust to acquire new clients, and it takes a continual deepening of trust to keep them. The challenge for many advisors is that your interactions are limited in quantity. That’s why you need to be intentional to maximize their quality.
Today, we’re digging into some suggestions to help you deepen your client relationships through simple, practical steps.
1. Let Client Feedback Drive Your Marketing
We talked the other day about how the majority of your relationship with your clients is digital. This means that your content marketing needs to be an intentional part of your client experience. The problem is that there is often a gap between the advisor who is well connected to their clients and the person running the marketing side of things. To leverage your digital experience to deepen your client relationships, this means there needs to be a direct line of feedback between your conversations with your clients and the marketing materials you’re creating.
Imagine you just sat down with one of your top clients who is looking to transition to a new employer. They have lots of questions about the timing of the move, how different compensation options will affect them, and more. Over the course of this conversation, you walk them through a series of questions that helps them frame their ideal financial vision and how their decisions now affect that.
The next day, it occurs to you that you know a dozen more households on your client list that are in a similar situation. “What if we put together a resource to help spouses talk through career transitions?”
Insights like this are marketing gold when it comes to resonating with your clients’ life choices (and your prospects!) The more you take this approach to your marketing, the more people will start to look forward to what you have to say. Give them something to look forward to and deepen your client relationships.
2. Focus on Your Client’s Long Term Goals Instead of Benchmarks
Success in financial planning can look like different things to different people. Generally though, advisors should be focusing on their clients’ personal goals instead of impersonal metrics when it comes to successful relationships. While beating benchmarks and aggressive investment strategies (that go well) might make a client celebrate in the short term – they will always wonder if they are doing enough, saving enough, and prepared enough for their future.
Add to this the challenges of market downturns (like our present circumstances in August of 2022). If the primary focus in your client relationships is benchmark-focused, it can be hard to keep outlooks positive and relationships sturdy during turbulence.
Both for you and your clients, it’s in your best interest as an advisor to acknowledge the market in a healthier perspective: as a vehicle to help them accomplish their personal goals. Not only will this help client’s have peace of mind through the ups and downs of the market, keeping them focused on their long term goals will increase the likelihood that they will form a relationship with you that is long lasting. Your value is tied to their future goals, not just their current portfolio performance. Making an effort to discuss investments as a vehicle to pursue more important life goals will demonstrate that you as an advisor care about them as people–you’re not just a thrill-seeking investor.
3. Ask For (and Act On) Client Feedback
How will you know how satisfied your clients are with your services if you don’t ask them? Of course this should be a conversation you have with your clients regularly during your in person meetings, but there are also ways to get more insight into why your clients appreciate you (or where they’re not so sure…). Client satisfaction surveys not only help you understand your clients, they demonstrate to the client how much you care about their feedback. Responding to negative feedback with tangible improvements often goes even further than just receiving positive feedback.
Here are a few sample questions you could place in a survey, with your own added personalization. (Another tip is to balance a survey with the multiple choice questions as well as long form answers.)
- What do you value most about our relationship as your advisor?
- Are you satisfied with the level of communication between you and your advisor?
- What things do you wish we communicated more often? Or less?
- Are you confident with the level of service, and if not, what would you change?
- What other areas can we improve?
Conducting a survey, however, is only as useful as you make it. Implementing your clients’ feedback to bring about real change will make lasting improvements in your relationships with your clients. It takes time and effort, but trust us, in the end, it will be well worth the effort and your clients will thank you for listening to them.
4. Involve the Next Generation in Planning Conversations
Most advisors know that legacy is an important topic for many of their clients. Your ability to add value isn’t just in helping them set up wills, estates, and trusts. For the generationally minded client, facilitating opportunities for them to include their children in their financial planning process will go a long way in ensuring they leave the legacy they desire.
Sometimes this looks like the client’s adult children taking part in some conversations. At the minimum, it looks like asking your client about their relationship with their children/grandchildren and if they have specific goals that will impact them. You want your clients to feel confident that your advice is tailored to their unique family dynamics and vision.
5. Always Ask Your Clients Insightful Questions
To become a successful advisor in the first place requires some measure of emotional intelligence. Still, it’s important not to rely on improv alone when making the most of your face-to-face opportunities. You want to identify questions that are thought-provoking for your clients, and challenge them to strengthen their vision (or urgency) about their financial future. These questions don’t have to be complex, but they do need to be intentional. It can be something as simple as:
“You know, it’s been a little while since we talked about your dream for financial independence. How are you feeling about your current pace? Do you want to stop working or do you still love what you’re doing?”
Here’s another example:
“Congrats on the new grand baby! You must be so excited! I know you two have a strong passion to invest in your family. Have you chatted yet about how you want to balance investing in your grandkids with your retirement budget?”
Questions like these aren’t complex, but they’re personal and they reflect the “why” behind your clients’ financial goals.
Join a Community of Advisors to Help You Grow
Clients should always be the top priority and deepening relationships with them should be a central part of your business model. Our desire is for you to see immediate improvement in your client relationships by implementing these five things today.
If you’d like to be part of a community of advisors that challenge each other and share insights like these, we invite you to check out WealthPlan Group. Our passion is equipping advisors with the resources and insights they need to build increasingly successful practices. We’d love to serve you.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which Investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable, however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Statements of forecast and trends are for informational purposes and are not guaranteed to occur in the future. There is also no assurance that any investment strategy will assure success or protect against loss.
Investment Advisory services are offered through WealthPlan Investment Management, LLC (“WPIM”). WPIM and WealthPlan Partners (“WPP”) are both registered investment advisors and subsidiaries of WealthPlan Group, LLC.