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Practice Management > Building Your Business

How to keep your clients

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It’s a great feeling when you’ve just won over a new client. But how can you ensure that your hard-earned business won’t become another advisor’s new find? Here are some pointers for creating clients who’ll never leave.

1. Identify the cream among your crop of clients. By focusing on top-producing clients, an advisor should see sizeable payback. Finding the 20 percent in the familiar “80/20 rule” (80 percent of an advisor’s business comes from 20 percent of their clients) would get you the biggest return, most experts agree.

However, some experts advocate keeping clients regardless of their bottom line. An inheritance or promotion can transform a minor client’s financial prospects, and can be very profitable if managed correctly.

2. Treating them royally to ensure their loyalty. Whether you trim your client list or not, much of your success with clients depends on the relationship you develop with them, the experts say. Consider writing letters of appreciation to clients when the client might least expect it. Also, call clients just to check in, not to make a pitch. These unexpected contacts can be very lucrative.

Invest in customer relationship management (CRM). CRM provides a tool to track each client’s phone calls, letters, meetings and requests, and can remind advisors when a contact is due. CRMs also can store those personal details about clients’ families, hobbies and interests that help advisors build better relationships.

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3. Getting to know them as people, not paychecks. Too often advisors know a lot about their clients’ finances, but little about the people behind the money. Does Client A spend winters in Florida, belong to Rotary, run marathons or have children? Advisors should develop the kind of personal background about clients that can underpin a personal relationship.

4. Ask for feedback. Sometimes clients fly the coop without explanation, leaving advisors wondering what went wrong. The simplest way to avoid mystery defections is to ask your clients how you’re doing in their eyes.

Surveys are another good way to get feedback. While consulting or practice management experts can offer guidance for creating a good survey, you may be able to do it yourself. Some websites allow you to set up simple surveys free of charge.

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