How to Impress Clients the First Time Around
First impressions matter. With these top tips on dealing with clients for the first time from Georgina Smith, you can make first impressions count.
It was when I was visiting a friend’s dental surgery that things became clear.
Whilst chatting with him, I observed the Treatment Coordinator (TCO) bringing in three patients to talk about a large (and expensive) treatment plan. The TCO brought in a tray of drinks and before she closed the door I heard her say, “Two teas, both white, one with sugar. Mrs Johnson, I’ve made you a coffee but I remember you don’t like cow’s milk so I’ve used almond milk, I hope that’s ok?”
And, well, the crowd went wild.
Rarely do you hear a patient extolling the virtues of the amazing crown they’ve just had fitted or the painless root canal they experienced. Rather what they’ll tell their friends about is the way they were made to feel.
You see, it’s the details around the product that count because, for the vast majority of patients, it’s a given that the dentistry will be ok.
And it’s no different in financial services – or any other industry, for that matter.
As Aimee Lucas, Vice President of Temkin Group, so rightly says, “I don’t compare my banking experience only to other bank experiences, I compare my bank experience to my best experiences with [those of] my favourite airline, with my favourite restaurant and with my favourite retailer.”
The fact that the adviser will give good advice is a given – but how did you make the client feel from the moment they first phoned your firm through to the ongoing relationship you have with them now?
Typical journey of a client’s first appointment:
- Client calls to book an appointment, receptionists book them in and may exchange some detail about where the firm’s offices are.
- Client arrives, is greeted and waits in a waiting room for their appointment.
- Adviser meets client, they go to his or her office and discuss the intricacies of the client’s financial situation.
- Client decides whether or not to follow advice.
Now, compare that to a great journey of a client’s first appointment:
- Client calls to book an appointment (hopefully recommended by one of your tribe of clients). The person answering the phone asks some clarifying questions, builds rapport and books appointment. (Incidentally, the phones are away from the front desk, this ensures all the receptionist’s attention is on the person in front of them and the telephonist concentrates solely on the person on the end of the telephone).
- A day before the appointment the client is phoned by a Financial Planning Coordinator (FPC). The FPC reminds the client of their appointment, explains where they can park, warns them of any road works or hindrances en route to the offices and asks what the client would like to drink when they arrive.
- The client arrives, the FPC has their hot drink waiting for them, takes them to a nicely decorated, personal room and gets to know the client’s anxieties and key issues. Builds a firm rapport by being ‘someone just like the client’, not an expert but understands enough about the subject to be able to converse simply and clearly about key issues. Their key role is to reduce anxiety.
- Transparently hands over client to adviser, summarising key themes and expressing client’s anxieties. Whilst the FPC is not an adviser, they may well use phrases like, “Mrs Black is concerned about x, I was wondering if y would be suitable for her”. Using phrases like this, the adviser becomes the second opinion, negating the need in the client’s mind to go elsewhere for advice.
- Adviser goes through their personal process with client.
- FPC follows up with client, forms the conduit between the adviser and the client, keeping them updated and continually building the relationships.
It’s clear from the differences in the two lists above that exceptional detail and thought is needed for every interaction a client has with you. The great news is, it doesn’t cost a fortune; it just takes care, effort and consistency.
With this in mind, our aim is to make your list of ‘favourites’, not just in the financial sector, but across all sectors.