While virtual meetings with clients via Skype, Zoom and other online technologies may be on the uptick, the majority of your client meetings still likely happen in person.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and treat each meeting the same, but these four best practices can make the most of your in-person meetings and help your clients feel like royalty.
Fresh Eyes on Client Arrivals
While you enter and exit your office space every day, your clients are likely there only a couple of times per year. What seems like a routine to you and your team is a fresh experience for clients upon their arrival; especially for new clients.
Make a point of standing outside your office space and imagining what clients see:
Is the exterior space well kept and clean?
Is there clear signage featuring your brand?
Is there plenty of space to park and are reserved spaces an option in your complex?
Could planters or landscaping beds be used to soften the exterior and make it more welcoming?
If you’re located within a building, is the signage clear to direct them to your office?
How to Prevent Your Lobby from being a Liability
Sometimes clients arrive early, and they also may need to wait if a previous meeting goes longer than anticipated. You can make their wait painless with a few key tips.
Is the furniture in your waiting area clean and comfortable? Try sitting on it for 5-10 minutes and putting yourself in their shoes.
Were clients welcomed warmly by a receptionist upon their arrival? If your staff is too small for a receptionist, is there a door chime to alert a staff member to quickly welcome your clients?
Offer clients a bottle of water upon arrival. And considering your clientele, make it good bottled water. It doesn’t have to be sparkling from the finest French sources, but don’t use generic water from your local grocery. Good spring water from an identifiable brand will do, and will reflect more positively on your practice.
Do you have interesting reading materials on a coffee table? Having a cross section of magazines and publications for both men and women that represents your ideal client and considers their likely interests can go a long way to minimize waits. Travel, local interests, cars, fine dining, finance, etc.
Is the lobby clutter free with interesting art or branded wall signage visible? Their minds are wandering while anticipating their meeting, and your lobby is a direct representation of you and your firm.
Is it clear where restrooms are available for clients? And are those restrooms kept in pristine shape?
Want a special touch? One advisor we know has a classy looking dry erase board in her lobby that welcomes clients by their names. The clients love it and they feel very special!
Keep Your Clients’ Stomachs Satisfied
Whether it’s a meeting just before lunch or one in the mid-afternoon, you’ll always be in better shape during client meetings if they aren’t hungry. There’s no need for a Prime Rib Buffet, but a few small snacks can go a long way in helping hungry clients be in a better mood.
Consider keeping a mix of healthy snack packs in your lobby and/or conference room. Pretzels, nuts and trail mix are all good options.
Don’t be afraid of a few sweets as well. Chocolate has been known to work wonders with clients, so packets of classic candies or individually wrapped chocolate truffles can evoke positive emotions as you engage with clients on their finances.
One client’s team has a special affinity for Jelly Belly jelly beans, and they keep a large crystal bowl full of them in their conference room. There is a serving spoon in the bowl and they make clients feel welcome to nosh on them during meetings.
This team makes the jelly beans an iconic part of their brand by making small satchels or snack size packs of them available at all client appreciation events. Who doesn’t love jelly beans?!
From the initial lobby reception to the actual client meeting, always reference these snacks or treats to break the ice and make clients feel welcome to enjoy them. Also, if you partake, they’ll be more likely to do so as well. Almost like breaking bread together! (but in candy/health snack ways)
Be sure to repeat the water offer and have several bottles on a tray or in a chiller in the conference room. Showcasing easy availability will make a client more likely to welcome the invitation to partake. Again, keep the client happy and your meeting is also likely to be happy!
Make Positive Follow-ups a Priority
In this digital era, hand-written thank you notes stand out like crazy.
After you’ve made the most of a client visit, hit them with a hand-written notecard within 24 hours to punctuate their recent in-office experience.
It doesn’t have to be lengthy at all. Simply thank them for their trust in you as a financial advisor and address one or two specifics from the meeting. Wish them safe travels on an upcoming trip. Congratulate them on a family milestone. Show how you care.
We’ve all heard that phrase “It’s the little things.” Guess what? This article is full of them. Embrace these simple ideas and clients will notice.
We hope these tips take your client meetings to the next level! If you ever need help with your firm or its client relations, send us a note and we’ll help you make the very most of your practice’s growth.