If you’re like most financial advisors, you’ve got a thriving firm and find yourself focused heavily on making sure your client’s accounts are moving forward and meeting or exceeding expectations.
While this emphasis on the business side of the relationship is certainly important, don’t discount the personal side of client relationships.
Clients expect obviously expect their financial advisor to be competent on the business side, but if they also feel like you sincerely appreciate them as individuals, your relationship can be deepened. Extra effort on the personal side is sure to pay longterm dividends.
Here are 3 Easy Ways to Deepen Relationships with Clients
1) Listen for life milestones.
When you meet with clients and warmly ask how things are going in their life, take note of the clues they offer. Are they planning an upcoming trip? Welcoming a new grandchild? Buying a beach house? Mourning the loss of a close friend or family member?
These milestones give you a deeper glimpse into their life, and offer ways for you to follow up in the future. Months from now, when you ask about their Mediterranean cruise, they’ll be delighted you remembered and may even break out their phone to share photos and highlights.
Occasionally, some milestones may offer a natural segue for helping their family with additional services. For example, if a client is welcoming a new grandchild, the child’s parents might want to eventually consider a college savings plan or get their financial house in order. Of course, be very gentle and balanced with any recommendations or ideas so clients don’t feel you’re mining every moment to expand your firm.
2) Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note.
Whether you’re thanking a client, following up from a recent office visit, or addressing one of the life milestones listed above, send them a note. Handwriting a personal note takes only a bit more time and effort than an email, but the impact and thoughtfulness will resonate significantly with your clients.
Make sure you’re notecards are branded with your firm’s logo or identity, and printed on good, heavy paper. These notecards are a physical representation of your firm, and a classy card and envelope are worth the small investment. Rather than printing the words “Thank You” on the notecard, keep it generic so it can be used for any purpose.
Additionally, consider including a gift card or gift where appropriate. Did you new millennial client just buy their first home? Consider a home improvement store gift card, which is always handy for the endless needs that come with a new home purchase.
Is there a baby on the way? Consider a piggy bank, which is a thoughtful gift and also ties in nicely with financial planning and saving.
If you include any sort of gift or gift card, just keep annual giving limits in mind for Compliance purposes.
3) Consider a client appreciation event.
While the digital age makes communication with clients very easy, nothing beats getting together in person, especially for a relaxed, casual event that has little or nothing to do with business. There are many different types of events, some very simple to execute:
- Have clients that enjoy golf? Get a foursome together and hit the links. As you’re putting together your group, think about the personality types so they will be likely to gel together and enjoy the outing. The leisurely pace allows lots of room for personal conversation. Have a stash of golf towels embroidered with your logo if you want to wow your golf guests with a special touch.
- Recently moving into a new space or have you renovated? Throw an open house and welcome your clients for a wine & cheese tasting to check out the office. Soft music and fresh flowers around the office will add to the ambience as clients explore your space. Some firms even hire a musician to gently play jazz guitar or piano in the background, which always adds a special touch.
- Want to celebrate the holidays in style? Rent a private room or event space at a good restaurant in town. Once everyone has arrived, say a few words about this special time of year and how special it is to have them as clients, then let them enjoy the evening together and with your staff. While a sit-down dinner is a nice touch, it often limits conversation to those at the table. A buffet style with heavy appetizers and small plates allows clients to mix and mingle while sampling all the edible offerings. Again, soft music or a live musician will add to the atmosphere.
Purposely follow these three tips and you’ll be well on your way to deepening your personal relationships with clients!
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