It’s not easy to succeed in financial services.
No matter how good you are at managing wealth, at the end of the day, you’re running a business. That means you need to do everything in your power to keep your current clients happy, while also finding time to connect with new ones. Add in the need for compliance approval, and it’s not hard to see why up to 90 percent of advisors fail to stay in business.
But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. If you’re a financial advisor who’s in it for the long haul, you can build a thriving business by creating deeper connections with your existing clients. When you focus on building relationships rather than closing individual deals, you’ll see higher retention rates, greater share of wallet and a higher number of referrals.
Keep reading to find out how you can use relationship marketing to grow your book of business and hold onto your most valued clients.
One of the biggest issues facing financial advisors is the inability to retain clients. No one likes to head into the office, only to be greeted by an ACATS request. And whether that loss of business comes after an investment that didn’t work out or the unfortunate passing of a client, the harsh truth is that most of these requests can be avoided by making meaningful connections.
Think about it: if you were the benefactor of a large sum of money from your spouse or parent, would you trust an advisor who you wouldn’t recognize if you bumped into them on the street? I know I wouldn’t.
If you’re a total stranger to your clients’ families, you’re probably not reaching out to your clients often enough. So many service-based salespeople only check in about matters that are directly related to their business. When they take this approach, they miss out on valuable opportunities to increase trust and strengthen connections.
This also applies when one of your clients is unhappy with the performance of their portfolio. If you’ve been consistently good at your job for years but make a poor decision or two, your clients will be far more likely to forgive you if they know, like and trust you.
Ultimately, you should take a proactive approach to customer relationships. Reach out to your clients regularly to see how everything is going. It’s far better to get ahead of any potential problems than it is to deal with them as they come up.
When you connect consistently with your clients, they’ll be more likely to entrust you with not only their continued business, but with a greater share of wallet and more of the valuable referrals that will grow your business.
Speaking of trust, it’s important for you to prove to your clients that you have their best interest at heart. Yes, job performance is a big piece of the puzzle. But you also need to prove your dedication to your clients beyond the transaction. That means making a real effort to get to know them on a human level.
One of my favorite ways to get to know someone better is the F.O.R.D. Method. The acronym “F.O.R.D.” stands for “Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams.” Together, these four topics will tell you almost everything you need to know about your clients.
When you ask people about these four big topics, you’re building rapport and establishing a more meaningful connection. Plus, these conversations provide you with valuable information about your clients that might come in handy later. For example, if you find out your client has dreams of buying a vacation home, starting a business or traveling after retirement, you’ll want to consider those things when you’re managing their wealth.
Your clients have countless advisors they could work with. They choose to stick with you because of the unique value you provide. This starts with consistent outreach and amazing customer service. But, as time wears on, it means going the extra mile—providing the things your clients want before they even know they want them.
Consider partnerships with other service professionals, like insurance agents, or even seminars for advisors. That way, if your client needs help, you’ll be ready with a recommendation. In addition to providing value to your clients, you’re setting yourself up for referrals from the people you’ve partnered with.
Of course, when it comes to providing value to your clients, you don’t want to focus too much on your business. Find other ways to engage with them around their interests. For example, you might send them a monthly email newsletter with a roundup of interesting links you’ve read. If you find out that one of your clients is a musician, you can email or text them a YouTube clip of a musical performance you think they might like.
Another great way you can offer value is by sending a customized, branded magazine from ReminderMedia. American Lifestyle and Start Healthy are high-quality, bi-monthly publications that are free of financial content and offer turn-key compliance approval. Your clients will love these magazines, which are full of amazing articles, beautiful photos and delicious recipes.
These publications won’t just help you stay top of mind—they’ll also help grow your business. A survey of American Lifestyle readers found that 38 percent of recipients gave at least one referral to the professional who sent them the magazine.*
Whichever way you keep in touch and offer value to your clients, remember that your future success depends on your ability to build and maintain relationships. Make sure you’re showing the people who matter most to your business that you care about them beyond the transaction.
When you connect with your clients regularly and offer them exceptional value, your business will stay top of mind. And, with that top-of-mind awareness, you’re far more likely to retain those existing clients, obtain greater wallet share and earn plenty of referrals for years to come.
*2016 GfK survey of American Lifestyle readers
Written by: Luke Acree, President of ReminderMedia and Publisher of American Lifestyle Magazine
Luke is a sales fanatic, a marketing evangelist and an expert team builder. Luke has worked with tens of thousands of independent business professionals over the years, helping them understand how to connect with their client database in ways that generate leads, secure repeat clients and drive more referrals.