Having worked for over 20 years with advisors and financial services firms throughout the country, I've seen firsthand the differences between how successful and not-so-successful advisors communicate with clients.
The most successful advisors make it a priority to stay in front of their clients consistently throughout the year. And when the markets tumbled, these advisors beefed up their communication and contact to clients even more.
Extensive involvement and communication with clients is the secret to success for John M. Egan, CFP, president of J.M. Egan Wealth Advisors, LLC and a registered representative with independent broker/dealer Securities America. John has a thriving practice in Madison, New Jersey.
John and Certified Financial Planner Janet Sherry, who partners with John to provide holistic financial planning and wealth management services, meet with their clients on average 12 times a year, even attending their clients' meetings with accountants, estate planning attorneys, bank and trust officers and other professionals.
Most financial advisors don't have the time or inclination to meet this often — or the clientele that would permit meeting so frequently. But the payoff for John and Janet is a 99.9% retention rate – even during the downturn in the economy.
What if you're not able to meet with clients so frequently? How can you create the same client loyalty with fewer meetings?
The answer is effective and consistent communication. Good communication begins with identifying the particular wants and needs of the majority of your clients and then satisfying those needs with material that targets their interests.
Not sure what interests your clients? Try quizzing them during every telephone call or face-to-face meeting. Or use a client feedback system such as ClientAudit or ClienTalk.
You could also host a small client luncheon and solicit feedback over coffee and desert, in essence, creating a one-time or recurring client advisory board.
MAKE COMMUNICATIONS SEEM PERSONAL
The best thing about mass communication is that you don't even need to be a proficient writer as there are numerous pieces already written that you can send out to your clients.
To start, try sending a mass communication, such as a newsletter or an article of interest to all of your clients on a monthly basis.
Be sure to e-mail using the bcc field, because if someone replies, you don't want your entire clientele to receive the message – and you certainly don't want people to see who else has been copied.
Some CRM and email applications such as Outlook allow you to do a "mail merge"; you merge your mailing list into the content you've created–or are repurposing from a content supplier–so that the client sees their name (or company name, city, state, child's name, etc.) at the top of the communication (or anywhere else you'd like).