Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Juan Soto are some of the hottest players in baseball today. But these superstars all share something in common. Regardless of how many hits they get, they still take batting practice.
And no matter how good a financial adviser you are, there’s always room to improve your game, too. Here are eight ways to better manage your client relationships.
As I’ve shared before, personal relationships are the heart and soul of everything you do. They are the engine that powers all financial decisions. So, it just makes sense to keep those relationships in tiptop shape.
Cultivating and maintaining positive relationships requires time, so remember to always be on the lookout for new technology that can free you from menial everyday tasks and open more time to invest in one-on-one talks with the people whose wealth you handle.
With busy work out of the way, there are many steps you can take to take your connection to each client to the next level.
1. Always Remember: The Client Cares About This Relationship Just as Much as You Do.
They have turned to you for your expertise in helping them not only handle their money but also navigate their fears and anxiety. They want the relationship to succeed just as much as you do.
2. Set Definable Goals and Expectations Early.
Make sure the client clearly understands what services you will provide and which responsibilities are up to them. Don’t assume they know that going into the relationship. Take time to explain everything carefully and answer any questions they have, regardless of how basic or naïve they may sound to you. This may be their first time working with a financial planner. Answering questions at the start can go a long way toward building a solid foundation of trust for years to come.
3. Life Happens: Be Ready to Respond When It Does.
We plan for the things we know are coming, such as a child’s college education or wedding, retirement, or to finance dreams such as opening a small business one day. But there are just as many—or maybe even more—things we can’t foresee. Accidents and illnesses, losing a job followed by a prolonged search for another, divorce, and even death. These major life events can make a profound impact on the client. Be prepared to respond, both on the personal and professional levels, whenever the unexpected happens.
4. Always Be Flexible.
No matter how thorough your research nor how detailed your planning is, the possibility for unanticipated curveballs is always there. Flexibility allows you to allocate your limited time most profitability (for both you personally and your firm generally) by wisely focusing your resources and staff where they are most urgently needed.
5. Cultivate Trust with An Ongoing Conversation.
A solid relationship requires much more than a “one and one” talk. It means having an ongoing conversation with the client. That involves digging deeper and not only knowing their financial goals but the motive behind them. It’s understanding not only what they want to do but why they want to do it. You can only learn that from listening. Not once, but repeatedly, during the duration of the relationship.
6. Track How Much Time You Spend with Each Client.
Once again, here’s an opportunity to put technology to work for you. Keep tabs not only on how often you speak with them but for how long, too. Once you have gathered statistics, compare the amount of time invested to the financial reward derived from the client. The result may very well startle you.
7. Maintain a Service Calendar for Each Client.
Be proactive. Determine at the outset of the relationship how often the client expects you to communicate with them (be it by text messages, email, phone, or in-person), then create a calendar to follow through with it. In our business, absence does not make the heart grow fonder!
8. Keep Your Focus on the Client.
This sounds so simple it should be filed in the “Duh!” category. And it is so easy to go astray with it. Clients don’t want to hear inside chatter about what the markets are or aren’t doing at that moment. Their only concern is what it will mean to their bottom line.
These eight steps can go a long way towards building more easily managed and productive, client relationships.