Seven effective strategies to deepen your client communication

They're as simple as they sound: ask, listen, empathize, share, and understand

Seven effective strategies to deepen your client communication

Communication is key to what financial advisors do and it’s becoming even more critical as the industry changes. So, it’s time to examine all of the aspects of how you communicate if you want to retain the women who often change advisors when their partners leave or die or appeal to a younger generation of investors emerging that don’t treat money as the older generation does.

While there are many communication tips, here are seven to deepen your client relationship.

● Develop the relationship – and trust: With the trend toward more holistic financial planning, which encompasses all aspects of a client’s financial life, it’s important f to develop a deeper relationship with your client – as well as the trust that comes from that. You want your clients to feel that you’re not only treating them, but their money, with respect and that you understand what they are want to achieve with their money. Take the time, especially when you’re on-boarding the client to share what you do and how you do it, plus the options you can offer. You may need to schedule more meetings until they settle in as it takes time to build a relationship. But, the time you put in now will definitely pay off later.

● Understand human nature – plus clients’ needs and wants: The industry is learning about behaviour finance, so there are many resources to learn more about human nature, as well as what your clients specifically need and want. It’s important to understand what’s critical to different demographics – age or gender. Men often want to focus on income, for instance, while women may be more concerned about their families. Boomers may be more worried about how inflation is impacting their retirement potential while millennials may want more work-life balance. But, everyone is different, so ensure that you ask your clients the right questions to discover their wants and needs. Then, deeply listen for the answers as each individual is unique and you may be surprised by some answers. They may not line up with what you thought you knew, so cause adjustments.

● Empathize: If you’ve been able to have these deep conversations with your clients, s you understand their financial fears as well as aspirations and provide the best financial plan, then you’ve probably touched some very fundamental aspects of your client. It takes courage for them to disclose in that deep way, so it’s important that you be empathetic about what they’re sharing. Doing so will elicit further revelations and conversations, and help you deepen the relationship and stay on top of what is changing in your clients’ lives and needs to be adjusted in their financial plans.

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● Share your knowledge: You’ve accumulated a lot of financial knowledge, and it’s often information that your clients do not have. So, be confident in sharing what you know to educate your clients, so they can understand the recommendations that you’re making and why those are in their best interest. They’ve come to you for your expertise – so don’t be afraid to share it – though there can be a fine line between sharing enough and trying to wow them. The more you can educate your clients, the more they’ll learn they can trust you, which also helps to deepen your relationship.

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● Make conservate recommendations: Your clients are trusting you with their hard-earned money as well as their future hopes and dreams, so always be conservative in your recommendations. You want to guard, as well as grow, their finances. So, even if they may be more inclined to try riskier investments, you can honor that by only putting a small percentage of their portfolio into those and ensuring that you make time-tested and reliable recommendations they can always trust.

● Understand the importance of communication: Communication isn’t about providing glossy online or print materials. It’s about building a relationship and engaging your client at the most human level. So, while you may spend some money on launching a marketing plan, ensure that you and your staff treat the current and prospective clients with the respect and interest they deserve. That will pay off much more handsomely than any marketing campaign in the long run.

● Stay in touch: Once you’ve established your communication framework, then stay in touch with clients – particularly with all of the current market volatility. Having annual portfolio reviews isn’t going to cut it right now with most clients as they want to know that you’ve got their financial back. So, whether you’re talking to them bi-annually, quarterly, or monthly, you should set up a regular meeting schedule and take the initiative to update them with new developments. If there are unique times, such as the market crash at the beginning of COVID, you may want to have more touch-base, just to reassure them. You can also add regular communication updates from your marketing team, but remember it’s the personal touch that really counts now as they ride today’s economic waves.