November 8, 2013

8 Overlooked Tips to Bond With, and Retain, Clients

Experts at the 2013 Raymond James Women’s Symposium highlight some easy steps to take that can boost your advisory business

During the recent Raymond James Women’s Symposium, several experts shared tips on how the roughly 200 advisors and 100 other guests present could boost their business.

A popular and returning speaker at the annual event, Susan Kay of MFS Fund Distributors, highlighted a long list of ideas for engaging clients and providing them with five-star service. In addition, consultant Amy Florian gave attendees specific advice on working with widows or other clients experiencing loss.

Here's a summary of many of the tips shared by these experts that resonated with advisors at the Raymond James event:

Ask and You Shall Receive

1. Ask and You Shall Receive

Poll clients and then follow up by hosting educational events on topics they are most interested in, like setting up family trusts or getting a power of attorney for older family members.

Clients and prospects alike appreciate communication around tough issues they may be facing or have questions about. These seminars should prove meaningful to them, give you issues to follow up on and strengthen your relationships.

Expand Your Family Reach 

2. Expand Your Family Reach

To involve multi-generations, ask clients about who they would like to have you contact in the event of an emergency. Reach out to these contacts to see if they would be open to a meeting or to being added to your contact list.

Also, keep in mind that as much as 98% of client assets can leave an advisor when both parents, or one of the parents and a second spouse pass away—according to a Cisco Wealth Management survey of late 2012. Being pro-active may help advisors enhance relationships and retain assets, experts say.

Work the Workshop

3. Work the Workshop

Host seminars or workshops on delicate topics, like changing quality of life issues and the aging process. Find expert community-based speakers that can diplomatically share information that focuses on living options, health care issues and even funeral planning.

These types of topics are likely of interest to both older clients and prospects and enable clients to easily invite friends or family members to attend workshops that focus on such subjects. Host these events in a friendly, inviting location that will put the audience at ease.

Push Out Personal Touches

4. Push Out Personal Touches

Improve client relationships by sending anniversary cards and sharing special memories with a widow or widower on the anniversaries of their spouse’s death to show genuine concern and respect for their bereavement.

Make sure to note what makes your relationship with the client so satisfying and how you enjoyed working with their late spouse. Also, close by offering your continued support.

Five-Star Service

5. Five-Star Service

Be sure to have small gifts to share at the end of each client meeting labeled with your name or team name, such as small boxes of candy, fortune cookies, pads of papers, pens, golf balls, etc.

There are lots of online businesses that will customize these kinds of gifts for a fairly low cost. In addition, higher-end merchants like Godiva will put your brand on their products for you to share with clients. By having nice gifts that appeal to lots of clients, you’ll save yourself time by not having to purchase individual gifts during the holidays or on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Automate to Generate More Business

6. Automate to Generate More Business

Send out monthly automated reminders and/or postcards to remind clients and prospects about tax preparation, automatic investing, college savings, etc. Close with a request that they call your office with questions or concerns.

You may want to set up an automatic calendar system in your office to make sure these e-mails or postcards get sent out. In addition, you may want to highlight a different monthly topic in a newsletter or during client calls to maximize your clients’ exposure to this timely topic.

Unleash Opportunities

7. Unleash Opportunities

At client meetings or in mailings, gently probe clients about what keeps them up at night. Then offer to share information or pass on referrals to other professionals who can bring these clients peace of mind.

If you think your clients would prefer answering a written questionnaire before meeting with you, write up a short survey on retirement, life events, elder care, saving, estate planning and other core financial matters and send it to clients in advance for them to bring to your office.

Sell the Seminar

8. Sell the Seminar

Find new clients of all ages by hosting seminars on topics that should attract a good-size general audience. For instance, subjects like the challenges of juggling a career, kids and aging parents; anti-aging tips; living a less-stressful life might prove popular with members of your community who’ve been referred to you.

Generally speaking, you should not have to pay for local experts to conduct these workshops or discussions, since this type of event helps them make contacts and build their business.

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