How can wealth advisors improve client engagement?

Here are seven tips to up-level your practice management

How can wealth advisors improve client engagement?

Good advisors know that client engagement is a key part of their success in finding out what the clients want to achieve and then actually achieving it. But, in this busy world, when more financial factors are changing more rapidly, how can advisors augment that engagement to sure maximum success?

Here are seven tips to consider.

○ Get to know your client: An advisor-client relationship is a professional one, but it’s important to get to know your clients on a personal level to ensure their financial success, too. You must keep track of their professional records, but it’s also important to keep track of personal details that you may find out, too, so you can build the most complete holistic picture. Some advisors also like to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, and what’s happening for clients at work and children to strengthen the relationship. The more you know, the more you can offer a holistic service.

○ Use a contact record management (CRM) system to retain details: Once you start to collect information on clients, and the meetings that you’ve had with them, you can keep your records in a CRM for easy reference. Record each meeting, what was discussed, and what you learned, and note the next appointment, so everything is in one easily accessed file. Sometimes it’s the little details that can make the difference as you deepen this relationship and provide advice.

○ Develop a financial plan with your client: One of the biggest trends for financial advisors today is holistic financial planning rather than just doing product sales. More clients want advisors who will listen to their goals and hear their financial details, so the advisors can lay out a path as to how to meet those over time. This will mean looking at a client’s income, expenses, savings, goals as well as what you can do to ensure they have wills, estate planning, insurance, and the best investment path to achieve their plans. There are many points where an advisor can add value on this trajectory.

○ Focus on life-changing events: There are certain pivotal points in life when advisors can lend even more assistance to clients and their children, which can help them build greater trust with both. Those includes gaining post-secondary education, leaving home, marrying, having children, buying a home, minimizing taxes, and planning for retirement. Each of those may require different strategies and many may need to run in parallel, necessitating a staging to ensure that they’re all met over time. The more you can find out about your client’s personal and family situation, the more you can offer at each of those junctures since you’ll have a broader knowledge than the client about what’s available to help them and the best options for them.  Then, when you do your regular updates, you can adjust what’s happening in each of these areas and rebalance them as needed.

○ Check-in more frequently: Many advisors used to have a model of doing annual reviews. In this time, when there’s been so much change in people’s lives, it’s important to check in more regularly. Work with your clients to define what would be beneficial for them in order for you to stay on top of their changing goals and how they’re reaching them. You might want to do a quarterly, or even monthly, update – though some high-net worth advisors with fewer clients may check in even more regularly. It’s also important to let clients know if you have an open-door policy if they have other questions or changes in their lives. Given that this can now be done online or by phone more easily than in person, it need not be onerous, but it can build confidence and trust in your value.

○ Give your clients more access to information: Today’s clients want more transparency and accountability. Top-performing advisors understand that greater access to information and transparency in plan performance can go a long way to build more trust in your client relationship. You can leverage the increasing amount of reporting technology as well as your client portal to give your clients that extra peace of mind. Having more frequently check-ins will also go a long way to make them feel they’re ‘in the loop’, particularly when the markets are changing rapidly.

○ Conduct a client satisfaction survey: Most advisors know that client feedback is critical to their success, but not all of them are using client satisfaction surveys yet. These can create valuable data for advisors to act on, but also show clients that you care about their feedback and want to improve your service. Understanding both what a client likes and dislikes about your current service model can also go a long way in building deeper trust and mutual understanding within the relationship, which are both critical for long-term advisor and client success. But, if you ask for feedback, you also need to act on it to continuously improve your service, so that clients feel that giving you their input is worth their time because you truly want to ensure that you provide them with the best service.