Over the years, I’ve discovered seven successful strategies for building your practice:
1. Client service. Put client service first and good things will happen. Happy clients tell their friends and family about you and promote you when the opportunity arises.
When you respond quickly and thoroughly to clients’ needs and wishes, you are providing great service. When you reach out to clients on their birthdays and anniversaries and send warm greetings to them during holidays, you are striving for extraordinary service. When you send clients a hand-written note of appreciation, a fruit basket or flowers when they aren’t feeling well or are going through a hard time, you are striving for extraordinary service.
When was the last time you called a client to say hi and simply have a conversation? Or took a widow client out to tea? These are things that set you apart and display your genuine care.
Finally, work on striving for extraordinary results, too. Help clients keep their money in the right place at the right time. Do periodic reviews and keep beneficiary designations up to date and coordinated with their estate plans. Help them plan for challenges like long-term care, living too long, dying too soon or becoming disabled along the way. Help them coordinate the work of their attorneys, CPAs, P&C agents, and investment professionals, making sure the team is working together and in their best interest.
2. Client events. Consider having events that show your appreciation for your clients from time to time. Take them out for lunch, golf or fishing. Throw a holiday brunch. This month, I am hosting a forecasting event where more than 100 clients will come for dinner and hear what the pundits are predicting for 2013. We also take clients on a river cruise in the summer.
3. Passion events for clients. An advisor friend I have in Pittsburgh holds a short game school for golfers in the summer. Participants get a golf shirt, sleeve of balls and tees with his firm’s logo on it, and a golf pro from his club teaches the clients and their friends how to improve their chipping and putting. Learn what your clients are passionate about and connect your passions with theirs to make an extraordinary event.
4. Introductions to family and friends. This is one of the most difficult things to build into your firm’s corporate culture. When you begin down the pathway of asking clients to introduce their family and friends to you, you need to believe in yourself first. This movement doesn’t happen automatically; you need to communicate it to your clients.
Start with summarizing your value proposition in a few points that are easy to share. At Welshire, our value proposition is simple. We do wealth planning (fostering true wealth), wealth management (using our four-step process), and wealth services (transparent, proactive service). Teach your value proposition to your clients. Put it on your website and marketing materials, too.