New research shows that spending time with clients is key to a thriving financial advisory practice. Face-to-face client meetings give you more channels of communication to send your message, including office decor, eye contact, and body language. However, many advisors find themselves facing their computers rather than their clients, trying to deal with paperwork. Needless to say, this is not the best way to nurture client relationships.
Good relationships are more important now than ever before, since most clients tend to disperse their investments among several financial institutions or work with a couple of different advisors. On average,a client will only allocate one-third or one-fourth of their assets to any one individual. To a client, financial products and advice are becoming commodities that can be obtained anywhere.
The real reason clients invest with you is because they trust you. Trust is what turns prospects into clients, and to forge a trusting relationship, you must devote time to interacting and communicating with your clients on a regular basis. Once you have gained your clients’ trust, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will last. Trust is fragile and has to be maintained to endure. By spending time with your clients, you can determine if they are properly situated and receiving the amount of attention they need.
To spend more time meeting with your clients, you need to devise a program of systematic client meetings and perhaps start delegating some of your daily activities to others. Don’t let administrative or technical matters, such as designing estate plans or constructing portfolios, eat up all your time. Try to structure your business so that you can spend the maximum amount of time with your clients.
When scheduling and spending time with clients, try to focus on each client and what type of person he/she is. Gear your information and presentation style to that individual. At the beginning of each meeting, start by outlining your investment strategy and focusing on your client’s current status. Make it a point to recap your strategy at the end of the meeting as well. Face-to-face meetings are a great opportunity to reinforce how well the investment process is working for your client.
Remember that lack of personal communication is definitely a make-or-break issue, so don’t take your clients for granted. In addition to spending time in meetings, also schedule update calls and express your appreciation every chance you get. Keep in mind that many times, client accounts are lost due to lack of service. If you’re not making the effort right now to reach out to your clients, they may not wait around until you find the time.