Ever notice how prospecting and dating are similar?
During the courtship phase, suitors are incredibly attentive. During the relationship, as months turn into years, we often settle into a routine.
The other party feels neglected. You know what can happen next.
Advisors want everything. Long-term relationships. All the client’s investible assets. Selling up and down the family tree. Lots of referrals.
The first step is getting them to feel they are an important client. Everyone wants to feel important.
1. Have fewer clients
Years ago, I heard the expression: “You can be all things to some people or some things to all people.” You can’t do both. To give people lots of attention, you need a smaller base of people with great business potential.
2. Live person on the phone
When your client calls your office, calls don’t go to voicemail. They are answered by a real person. They get enough telephone trees from their wireless company and bank. An actual human voice makes them feel special.
3. They know your name
Brown’s Hotel in Denver and Commanders’s Palace in New Orleans both impressed me. The first person you encounter gets your name. It’s passed along. Everyone addresses you formally. The waitstaff use your name constantly, even if it’s your first visit. When a client calls your office, your assistant or the receptionist warmly greets them by name.
4. The client can talk with you
Bait and switch is an unintended outcome of prospecting for business. It might be a named partner or the person with their name on the door meeting with you, encouraging you to bring their business to the firm. Once you become a client, you discover your day to day contact person is a junior team member.
If they are your client, they need access to you. It might not be immediate, but it needs to be timely.
5. Anticipating needs
Anyone can call a business and say: “I need to buy this.” Clients like it when their need is anticipated.
When my wife and I travel overseas, I send our financial advisor a copy of our itinerary with contact information. They are immediately back in touch, letting us know our debit cards will be flagged for international travel, so we can use them at cash machines abroad. I need to call each credit card company, using their telephone tree, to let them know.
6. You aren’t rushed
Having been a financial advisor, I know during unsettled times, the phone can ring constantly. When I call my advisor or their assistant, they treat me as if I’m their only client. They listen. I’m not rushed off the phone. I’m confident all her clients get similar service.
It makes sense to review each client relationship on a regular basis. You do this with the client, not on your own.
Our insurance agent reviews our policies annually. He explains, “I can save you money here.” Other premiums might go up, yet I feel he’s acting in my best interests.
8. Interact on a personal level
Clients have spouses and children. They have interests and hobbies. They have health concerns. These should be part of your conversations.
Send holiday cards. Attend family events when invited. become part of their world. Invite them into yours, where practical.
9. Frequent contact
Lack of communication is a reason why relationships break down. People feel taken for granted. Just as one spouse should remind the other they are loved, clients should be reminded their business is appreciated.
Learn the communication channel they most prefer, but be sure to have real person contact on a regular basis. Some people assume their continued business (and acceptance of fee increases) is a given. They assume your time is consumed prospecting for new clients.
It’s not hard to make your clients feel important. These are soft selling skills. They are excellent at building lasting bonds. People do business with people they like.