Building relationships can be one of the most difficult things we do as human beings. Think about all of the challenges there are in establishing a relationship. And once it’s established, you face all the future obstacles associated with retaining that relationship. Sometimes I communicate and connect well, and sometimes I just simply blow it. Whether it’s my wife or my friends, my colleagues, my clients, my yellow lab, Tucker … relationships fill my life.
When it comes to the financial industry, relationships are the foundation of your work. Clients choose to work with an advisor because they trust the advice they are receiving. The advisor had to work hard to establish that relationship. The strength of your client relationships will be what ultimately determines the success of your business.
Let’s take a look at several practices that will build better and more profitable relationships.
1. Practice the art of conversation.
There are days when I am running from one meeting to the next. And by the end, I’m overwhelmed and exhausted. When I think back on such a day, I wonder: Did I have the greatest impact I could on all of those conversations? Did I accomplish my goals, and did the other parties achieve theirs as well? I have learned that in order for me to be most effective, I have to be 100 percent focused on being present. This is a major challenge with all of the distractions and noise that surrounds us. The power of being present is underestimated. It requires great discipline and focus to truly be present in every conversation throughout the day. In order to achieve a deep level of trust with your prospects and clients, you must attend to what they are saying and what is not being said. You want your clients and prospects to say, “Wow, I feel that he/she is really listening to our needs.” The art of having a conversation is being present.
2. Be patient.
If you are anything like me, you struggle with being patient when developing relationships. There is the constant hunt for new prospects to come into the office and sign up to become clients. This fast-paced mentality can be profitable, but it does not mean you are maximizing the opportunity for long-standing relationships. Getting the most out of a relationship requires the discipline of being patient. What do I mean by this? Running hard at growing your business while being patient at the same time can be achieved. Injecting patience into your business is about having a process that cultivates the relationships that are important to your company. Take time to evaluate your touch points and ask whether they are relevant and meaningful. It is easy to overwhelm your clients with stuff: emails, newsletters, text messages or events. Remember that your clients are just as busy as you are, or at least they may feel that way. The more intentional your process, the more you will find that with persistence and patience, you will experience a great referral response and greater wealth from your current and future relationships.
3. Sow seeds often.
Make yourself of great value to others with your knowledge and experience. Share your stories so that others can benefit from your wisdom. We live in a time when a tremendous amount of information is available at the fingertips of your prospects and clients. Let it be your voice they turn to. The key here is not to hold back. Don’t act as if you will give your clients all the answers only when they come into your office. Be a change agent by leading with a generous and authentic mindset. Investors want knowledge from a trusted voice. Let that voice be yours! These seeds that you sow will reap a greater harvest than you ever could have imagined.
Good luck in building great relationships!