Salt Lake City
“Theres only one thing that motivates a client to do business with you–fear,” said Katherine Vessenes of Vestment Consulting, Shorewood, Minn., in a session here at the annual conference of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
Vessenes says people are fearful of their financial future, or the financial future of someone they love. Producers are charged with the task of giving their clients “financial freedom,” she says, and this can only be done through a long-term trusting relationship producers must build with their client base.
She outlined nine different ways advisors can improve relationships with their clients and “make your clients fall in love with you.”
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1. Know the business you are in. “This is probably the most important thing,” says Vessenes. “Were in the peace-of-mind business. If you want your clients to fall in love with you, your job is to bring them peace of mind.”
Vessenes says this should be reflected in everything you do. Clients will trust you if you can bring them peace of mind.
2. Wear a golden halo. “How many people would you trust your mother with?” asks Vessenes. This is the kind of trust you need to establish with your clients. “Be trustworthy. Your word is your bond, do what you say you are going to do,” she says.
Another way for producers to establish more trust with clients is to not be afraid to share how agent compensation works. “Thats where the industry is going,” she explains.
An important part of building the relationship is to always focus on your client and part of this, Vessenes says, is to always put their interests first.
“Before you make any recommendation to a client, you should be asking, is this in their best interest.”
3. Select clients very carefully. Vessenes says that generally 80% of producers income comes from 20% of their clients. At the same time, 80% of the service problems that producers have comes from 20% of their clients.
“Identify which clients you want to keep, these I call ‘heavenly clients,’” Vessenes says.
While every producer has a different definition of a heavenly client, Vessenes feels that these are clients who “follow your advice.”
“These are people that trust you, and they willingly give you referrals,” she observes.
Producers should make a list of their ideal clients and start screening their client base. Vessenes says, “When new people come in, start scoring them, and if theyre not high enough on your list, dont take them on as a client.”
4. Set expectations early. “The first thing you need to figure out are what are the client’s expectations,” says Vessenes. Producers should determine what clients want to accomplish in order for this to be a successful relationship, she says.
Make sure that clients have a complete understanding of whats expected of you as an advisor, put it in writing, and keep it on file, Vessenes advises.