Any financial professional who’s been interacting with the public for a decade or more will tell you that opposites don’t attract in business, the way they sometimes do in dating. Your best client relationships tend to be those with whom you have the most in common — culturally, economically, politically and especially in the way you both view the role money plays in your lives.
After one has acquired their first 100 clients, they notice something. If they’re (for example) a frugal, fiscally conservative, Republican, Christian, patriotic, community-involved American with a military background who is charitably active and coaches Little League — lo and behold — the majority of their clients have those same character traits, values, priorities, convictions and involvements. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that they have within their client database any client who isn’t at least half of those things, never mind their exact opposite. That’s because “birds of a feather flock together,” as our parents used to tell us, and because our clients initially did business with us in part because they liked the similarities they saw.
Attract the right client
So how does one replicate such a desirable result, deliberately and by design? My offices have a focus in two areas: attracting the right clients from the start, and fostering a depth of relationship with them over time thereafter.
In essence, attracting the right client from the start involves being yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, knowing who you are, what life has taught you, and wearing it like a comfortable garment, unapologetically as your own. “Own it” and those of similar beliefs will naturally be attracted to you, and likely find a home, not just a financial advisor, within your practice.
Once they’ve become clients, fostering a depth of relationship requires an ongoing investment of your time, creativity and dollars. Client Appreciation Events are a relational medium, a place wherein you interact with your clients, make them your friends and cement the strong beginning you and your staff fostered at the outset. One large event can be as expensive but less frequent than multiple smaller ones, at venues as diverse as a vineyard, concert hall, museum or shooting range. Giving your client family a choice from among three or four such events each year — one of which should be charitable in nature — gives you multiple opportunities to see them socially, and meet the friends/introductions they will often bring.
When you have so much shared experience in common with your clients that your annual reviews feel like family reunions, you will have reached a place of professional bliss few ever experience. And when “work” doesn’t feel like work anymore, there’s no more fulfilling place to be, both personally and professionally.
For more from Thomas K. Brueckner, see: