Don't go stale, keep your clients impressed and engaged so they stay loyal and appreciative
As in relationships, we can be at most alluring and convincing when winning prospective clients over. As time goes on, however, the arrangement can become stale and clients can start to question what they are paying for and what their advisor is actually doing.
It’s important, therefore, to guard against taking each other for granted. If you don’t, there is always a rival advisor prospecting your client with their own value proposition. Here are six ways to show value to your existing clients.
1, Make the communication count
Cursory emails and birthday wishes are one thing – and it’s good to show you care – but it’s better to be meaningful. Show that you are on top of what’s happening in the real world and, importantly, show them how this relates to their portfolio. This not only illustrates that you have your finger of the pulse but that you are invested in their life and financial goals.
2, Portfolio reviews
With that in mind, show them the numbers – but do it so with regards to the individual’s goals not of performance vs. averages. Their real concern is “Will I have a comfortable retirement?’ and “Am I on track?” This shows you know what’s important to them.
Comparing performance vs. indices is a tough game to win. Fees take a bite and clients might be disappointed if they earned 8% when the market returned 10%, yet they aren’t elated when they lost 8% when the market was down 10%. Try to focus on a personal index, the return they need to reach their retirement goal.
Let’s be honest, everyone is thinking about fees, whether they say it or not – clients and advisors. The total amount paid can seem a startling number but remind clients that you are providing advice across total assets, even ones that don’t charge a fee. This may include the likes of bonds and cash, and holistic planning advice that is not directly related to the stock market.
In a world of robo advisors that charge close to zero, it’s vital advisors know what they offer and can articulate this to clients. In a post on his blog, financial industry expert Michael Kitces cited six value propositions for financial advisors from life planning expert Mitch Anthony: organization (holistic planning), keeping clients accountable, unemotional objective advice, educating clients (on fraud, for example), viewing the relationship as a partnership.
4, Staying educated
No need to ram it down people’s throats but highlighting how you are continually looking to add to your knowledge and competency can only enhance your standing with clients. No one wants a lazy, unambitious advisor. Don’t be afraid to bring that into conversation, in particular when it comes to how it might affect a client’s assets.
5, Go the extra mile
Sounds obvious but if you can provide extra assistance outside of the normal service, that goes a long way. Use your company’s resources to do this. Maybe it’s finding an old document, sending them a video on saving strategies, or giving the client access to a practice portfolio account where they can explore different investment scenarios. As an advisor, you have a huge amount of resources at your disposal - go beyond the call of duty.
6, Keep them engaged
When you see an article about a stock held by a client, let them know. Keep it personal with a direct email message or even go old school and hand mail a cutting depending on the preference of the client. It shows you are engaged and willing to put the effort in. A subtle but noticeable value add.