Posts Tagged ‘Awake At Night’
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
by Stephen Wershing, The Client Driven Practice
In this third installment describing sessions from FPA Experience 2012, I wanted to review the session “Writing Letters And E-Mails People Will Read” presented by Susan Weiner of Investmentwriting.com.
Did you ever write a note to a client and get no response? Ever talk to a client to follow-up an e-mail only to find they have no recollection of it? It may be because your e-mails are put together poorly, difficult to understand, or not compelling.
Weiner suggests keeping a few basic principles in mind that will help your writing reach its target much more effectively. What is it your clients care about when they hear from you? What keeps them awake at night? Why will they care about your content? Will they understand your vocabulary? What do you want to accomplish by sending this e-mail? Here are a few areas where you can probably improve the quality and readability of your e-mails:
Keep it short. Make it something they care about. You remember the old story about everybody’s favorite radio station? WIFM– what’s in it for me? Put that right in the subject line and it is more likely your client will read the body.
Consider breaking up your e-mails by using headings before certain paragraphs. Studies show that eight out of 10 people will read a heading where only two in 10 will read the body. Draw your client’s attention to the parts you want them to read.
When listing a number of things you need to address with your clients, consider making it a list with bullet points rather than a paragraph. These days especially, we are all conditioned to scan things rather than read them thoroughly. A bullet list will help important items stand out and catch your client’s eye.
I struggle with this one myself. My staff used to refer to me as “the king of the run-on sentence.” Be conscious of when you are trying to cover too much in a single sentence. Consider breaking it into shorter sentences, or even a list.
Use Simple Language
Advisors have a tendency to write in jargon. Keep your audience in mind. Avoid language you would use with other professionals. Write notes to clients using an everyday vocabulary.
Keep these principles in mind and you will get more messages through to the people you want to communicate with.
Copyright © The Client Driven Practice
Tags: Awake At Night, Bullet Points, Complex Sentences, Driven Practice, E Mail, Favorite Radio Station, Heading, Headings, Paragraph, Paragraphs, Readability, Recollection, Run On Sentence, Sending Mail, Sessions, Subject Line, Susan Weiner, Target, Vocabulary, Writing Letters
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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
Every advisor recognizes the importance of knowing the hot buttons that motivate key clients — the things that are really important to them and in some cases keep them up at night.
The question is how to identify those hot buttons.
The obvious answer is to ask — and that’s a good starting point. The difficulty is that the way we ask may not always give us clear answers.
Suppose you’re talking to a key client and you say : “What are the most important things for you when it comes to your money, what keeps you awake at night?”
The problem is that the answers you get may be the obvious ones that are on the surface like losing money or not having enough money in retirement.
The challenge is that there are often other hot buttons that are just beneath the surface that we won’t know about unless we ask in a different way.
So in addition to asking ’”What are the most important issues for you when it comes to your money?”, advisors should also ask some closed end questions that are easier for clients to answer.
Asking closed end questions
The advantage of closed end questions is that they’re easy to answer.
One option is to ask clients to go through a list of 10 to 15 areas which they’d like to talk about at some point, on which they’d like to receive information or on which they’d be interested in attending a lunch or evening session.
You could ask clients to complete this survey when they meet — this might work better for older clients.
Alternatively, you could send clients an email with a link to one of online survey tools such as Survey Monkey, Zoomerang or Survey Gizmo.
Conducting an online survey
A common question is what kind of response rate to expect to an online survey.
As part of a pilot test of a new initiative Clientinsights launched this spring, 20 advisors sent clients an email asking them respond to a short online survey.
The average response rate was just under 60%, well above average.
Three things boosted the response rate.
First, the subject line said “A favour” — so the email got opened.
Next, the email said that advisors were looking for 3 minutes of the clients’ time to complete a survey to allow them to serve clients better — and we made sure that the survey was in fact 3 minutes.
And finally, in the PS each advisor said that as a small thank-you, one of the clients who responded would be drawn to receive a copy of The Snowball, the best-selling book about Warren Buffett.
Today’s hot buttons
The survey asked five questions, the last of which listed 12 topics on which clients were asked whether they’d be interested in receiving articles and video interviews with experts.
Of these twelve topics, the percent of clients who expressed interest in receiving information varied from a low of 10% to a high of 60%.
Overall, the responses fell into four categories.
There were three topics that got the most interest, with over 50% of clients expressing interest.
The subject that got the most interest was retirement income strategies– a case can be made that this reflects the aging client base that most advisors focus on. The other topics at the top of the list were predictions for the economy and the outlook for the stock market,
In the next category down were four topics with 30% to 40% of clients expressing interest in receiving information:
- interest rate forecasts
- information on wills and powers of attorney
- tax saving strategies for business owners
- interviews with money managers.
In the next tier down were three additional topics:
- family communication on financial issues
- alternative investments and hedge funds
- elder care
And at the bottom of the list with under 20% were two final topics:
- information on cottage succession
- charitable giving strategies.
Acting on the findings
There’s limited value to gathering this information unless you act on it.
You can use this survey to help shape the areas on which you offer clients braod information.
And you can also use it as a catalyst for conversations with key clients in a meeting or over the phone, in the process digging deeper about what specific information clients are looking for in each category they’ve ticked off as a priority.
As a result of first identifying and then responding to their hot buttons, you end up serving key clients better and locking in relationships in the process.
Tags: Awake At Night, Compendium, Email, Enough Money, Evening Session, Gizmo, Good Starting Point, Hot Buttons, Important Things, Initiative, Lunch, Pilot Test, Response Rate, Retirement, Subject Line, Survey Monkey, Survey Tools, Target, Zoomerang
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