The secret to keeping long-term clients

Here's why many advisory firms may need a different approach to dealing with clients

The secret to keeping long-term clients
Financial planning is, more than anything else, a relationship-driven business. While it is ideal for advisors to stick to their clients for the long haul, a lot can happen that may push them to scale back on work. In such cases, what can advisory firms do to make sure they keep these clients?

In an interview with Financial Advisor IQ, Beacon Wealth Management CEO and founder Mark Germain said it is important to ensure that clients have relationships with the advisors who may end up working with them in circumstances when the current advisor has to let go of the business.

Germain shared a story about handling clients who wanted him to be their primary contact for all aspects of their account.

"They told me point-blank that if something happened to me they would leave the firm. I sympathized with these clients’ desire for personal attention from me but I also realized the business model they wanted was ultimately not sustainable," Germain said.

With this, he said he realized that his firm needed a different approach in dealing with clients. He addressed this by allowing clients to be serviced by teams that would include an associate advisor who would participate in all client meetings.

"That way, whether we’re dealing with planned or unplanned changes in my availability, the client has another advisor who they are comfortable with and trust," he said.

“We once lost the chance to work with a very well-heeled client because they didn’t think we had the depth to service them if something happened to me. Now we bring associate advisors to new client meetings and make it clear right off the bat that their interactions will be with the advising team, not just me,” he said.

Germain also said it is important to foster connections in advance to help ease the transition - this ensures that clients are taken care of no matter what happens.

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