Make Me Feel Special: How Using the Right Tools Can Enhance Your Financial Advice Practice
How do you, as a financial adviser, show your clients that you care? Georgina Smith sheds light on some of the more simpler practices you can adopt to make your clients feel unique, cared for and understood.
I have a lovely financial adviser called Harriet who looks after all my financial affairs. We have a good relationship; we’re both working mums and we can connect on multiple levels. I like her, and I trust her, but is that really enough to keep me with her?
I’m an easy client and my goals and circumstances haven’t changed much since I moved to South Africa two and a half years ago. I’m not a client who constantly calls asking for the latest fund prices or hassles her about her decisions. I am part of Harriet’s silent majority.
I was recently reflecting on how it feels for a client in the ‘maintain’ section of the sales funnel, as I am. How are you, Harriet, going to make me feel special?
A history of my financial adviser interactions through the ages:
(NB these are my observations and experiences and may not be true for all advisers.)
- 1985: I receive in the post feint, illegible statements printed on dot-matrix printers (Millennials look it up). If I’m lucky I get a covering letter.
- 1995: I receive a statement on branded headed paper once a year by post or fax. If I want an appointment with my adviser I make it with his secretary. I can’t remember the appointment.
- 2005: I receive regular professional statements in the post. There may be a generic commentary which I don’t really understand. My adviser hassles me for an appointment to ‘walk me through’ the statement. We both know that he’s going to sell me another insurance product.
- 2010: I realise I have choices as a client and shop around for a new adviser. I go to Harriet based on a family recommendation. She’s interested in my financial goals and where I want to be in 10 or 20 years. She sends me regular statements but still with generic commentary. Sometimes I read it, but it’s dry and I’m only interested in the number in the bottom right-hand corner. We meet and connect sporadically when I’m in the area, but I’m a passenger in these meetings as any questions she asks I have little time to think about. I feel well looked after but I know I am one of many.
- 2018: Six days prior to a meeting with Harriet, I receive an email with a 10-minute video. In the comfort of my home and at my convenience I watch my adviser talking me through my statement. She is explaining the decisions she’s made and reminding me what we committed to last time. She explains why certain funds are up or down and she leaves me with some questions to ponder prior to my forthcoming meeting with her.
Wow, I feel special.
Not only do I feel unique, cared for and understood, but I also arrive at my meeting prepared rather than like a deer in headlights. I’ve got questions for Harriet and I’m in control. It feels great. I like this new feeling.
I’m a busy financial adviser, I don’t have time to do this – I’m too busy seeing clients
If you feel like you have too many clients to be able to find the time to do something like this, then don’t. That’s fine. Be clear that your client value proposition is to serve the masses at an average to lower end price point.
The above strategy is for advisers with the client value proposition ‘you’re going to pay a lot but you’re going to get a lot more’. It’s for the adviser who is happy to put in the care and effort required to develop deep long-term relationships with fewer high net worth clients or an adviser transitioning into this space.
How does a financial adviser do this?
There are lots of digital tools out there which can help you interact with your clients better and those of you who have joined me for my recent INN8 Connect sessions will have seen me demonstrate some of them.
One particular tool is something I use frequently in training as I need to communicate and engage with staff remotely across the business. It’s called Snagit, a simple-to-use tool that records your computer screen and a voiceover together.