As a financial advisor, it is always important for you to build strong relationships with your clients. Clients value the relationship they have with you when times are stable, but even more so when they are navigating challenging, uncharted waters. As the economy continues to wax and wane, clients struggle to feel safe and secure with their financial decisions.
It is of utmost importance for you to reduce clients' uneasy feelings and strengthen your relationships during these challenging times. An additional benefit of strong client relationships includes referral business. When clients trust you they will tell their friends and family, there's no greater way to market your business. In a world that demands immediate responses, 100% satisfaction guaranteed, and instant service, it might be hard navigating what an ideal client relationship looks like for you.
Here are three components to consider to achieve a great client relationship:
1. Know Who You Serve
Are you differentiating yourself by providing services to a niche clientele? Providing financial planning services to a specific type of client increases targeted marketing strategies, potential referral opportunities, and the ability to truly master the type of services you provide to your clients.
It never hurts to be considered the "go-to" Financial Advisor for a particular type of client -- what a great way to set yourself apart! Clients love to hear that they are working with an expert, plus you will have more time to focus on your niche and target market. For example, working with Gen XY clients will be quite different than working with retirees. Gen XY clients typically require a Financial Advisor who is tech-savvy with quick response times, particularly via email. Conversely, clients who are close to retirement might request in-person meetings to discuss financial plans.
2. Standards of Service
It is important to create a standard for your client experience that is maintained and enforced from start to finish with each and every client. These standards may need to be tailored to the type of client you are serving, as some clientele might request tech services while others may respond best through in-person meetings.
Consider creating a welcome document that outlines what your great customer standards are. This helps define expectations so that everyone involved in the advisor-client relationship is on the same page. Here are a few things to consider discussing with your clients during their first meeting:
- How fast will you respond to your clients? 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 week -- the timing is up to you, but be sure to be transparent from the start. If you intend to to be out of the office for an extended period of time, help manage expectations by sending an email or setting up an out of office message.
- What type of communication do you typically use with your clients? Do you prefer email so that you can easily reference conversations? Not a problem - just let your clients know upfront that this is your main form of communication. If your clients are not open to this, consider changing your standard for this client. Be sure to note this and continue the preferred communication method consistently for this client, this way they know their preferences are heard and honored, in turn strengthening your relationship.
- What do your meetings look like? Will virtual meetings be required? Be open with your clients about how you are planning meetings and confidentially explain your approach. Be sure to outline how long each type of meeting will be, what requirements are of the client and advisor, and ensure enough time is allotted for everyone to send documentation.
3. Going Above and Beyond
Only once you've identified who you are serving and what your standard of service looks like can you consider what you can do to set yourself apart from everyone else.
Make sure you are taking into consideration the niche clientele you are serving. What special requirements might they have that are unique to their circumstances? For example, do you happen to only work with doctors and nurses? You could differentiate yourself by being open to having extended hours to accommodate their rigorous schedules. Another idea is to set up a referral program with discounts for your current clients if they refer a new prospect.
There are always ways of adding a small personal touch when working with clients. Don't be afraid to send check-in messages, ask for client feedback, or even send birthday/holiday cards. The bottom line is that clients want to be heard and feel like they are a top priority -- not just a transaction. Make sure that you use their preferred method of communication, anticipate their needs before they even know they have them, and keep the focus on providing solid financial planning without it solely being about collecting fees.
When your focus is on striving for a great client relationship, know that you are creating a team. Ensure your client that they are your teammate and you are working with them and not just for them. It is important to note that some clients may feel it is crucial that you know their story so you can adequately help them plan for their future. Not every person has a set goal in mind, so allowing them to fully express their thoughts can help get to the end goal even quicker. Once a great relationship is achieved -- the best part is the natural trust that is built will carry through the entire process, leading to client retention, referrals, and an overall positive experience.
Ready to try AdvicePay?
AdvicePay is an excellent option in ensuring your client-advisor relationship is focused on service rather than just collecting fees. With our subscription service, Advisors can bill clients monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. The best part is that once a client activates the subscription, it will auto-bill their default payment method on the due date and they will not have to do anything further!
Posted by Ashley Rumschlag
As part of the Happiness Hero team, Ashley delivers smart, thoughtful service to our users. For Ashley, helping others is the most rewarding part of the role. As a previous social worker turned customer support guru, Ashley has developed a unique perspective when it comes to ensuring the happiness of our users. While providing support is her primary job function by day, Ashley also enjoys playing, reading, and snuggling with her 2-year-old twins (Lydia and Luca.)