In my experience, new clients often come in clusters and bringing them on board requires a commitment of time and energy.
Before a client will hire an advisor, the client must have a certain level of comfort. I have identified four keys to a successful advisor-client relationship. They are as follows:
1) The advisor must be trustworthy.
2) The advisor must be competent.
3) The advisor must be accessible when the client needs them.
4) The advisor and the client must click to a certain extent.
The importance of each issue will vary, based on the client’s personality and past experience. Once the client decides to hire the advisor, it is important to agree on the frequency and types of communication that will follow.
For example, in the early stages of the relationship the client may need to interact more frequently. Later, after a certain degree of trust is established, the client may not need to meet or speak with the advisor quite as often. Since each client is different, it is better not to establish rigid rules for communication based on metrics such as the client’s net worth or amount of financial assets.
After all, a client with $1 million may prefer to meet twice a year whereas a client with $250,000 might opt for quarterly meetings’. The key is to ask questions that will help you understand what the client expects.
One of the most important aspects of a new relationship is to help the client become acclimated to you and your system. Here are a few suggestions to consider.
If the client was with another firm, she likely will be unfamiliar with the new statements they will receive. Therefore, let her know that you are willing to go over the first statement, either in person or online.
Let the client know they will receive a confirmation with all relevant details whenever you buy or sell a security in her account. Again, help her get comfortable.
Explain that they will receive a lot of mail such as statements, confirms, and everything else your custodian or clearing firm is required to send to clients. Give them a choice by letting them know they can receive most or all of this electronically.
We could easily list several additional items. The point is to do whatever you can to help a new client get comfortable. Spending a little extra time in the beginning of the relationship can be beneficial over the long haul.
Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great week!