Posts Tagged ‘Sandwich Lunches’
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
by Dan Richards, ClientInsights.ca
Being a financial advisor can be a roller coaster – one week you get a referral that leads to a terrific new client, the next you lose a long-standing relationship for reasons entirely beyond your control. A recent call from a successful advisor looking for advice reminded of the fine line between success and failure.
An engineer by training, Bob came into the investment industry fifteen years ago, today he runs a growing practice focused on mid and high-level corporate executives in the tech and manufacturing industries. Last fall, he invited top clients to a market outlook lunch at a private room at a top local restaurant. He asked clients interested in attending to call him directly to discuss specific questions they wanted to address.
Bob sent out 50 invitations and had about 15 clients say yes, over twice the response to sandwich lunches in his boardroom. (A free meal shouldn’t make a difference to million dollar clients, but experience shows that it does.) After talking on the phone to the clients attending about what they’d like to cover, he mentioned that while this lunch was primarily for existing clients, he did have a few extra spots and asked if they had one friend or co-worker who might be interested in attending as their guest.
Capitalizing on an opening
A client in a senior role at a mid-sized tech company brought along a work colleague, let’s call his guest Jim. Both the existing client and Jim had substantial equity in their firm, while they might not be huge clients currently, they both represent very significant future potential.
The lunch went well with lots of interaction and discussion. Next morning, Bob called his client to get his impressions of the lunch and also to get permission to follow up with Jim. While that follow-up call was politely received, Jim begged off an immediate meeting due to travel and work pressures, but did agree that Bob could add him to his monthly email list and then follow up in January.
Bob connected with Jim early in the new year and they agreed to meet for a casual conversation over a mid-morning coffee at a Starbucks across the street from Jim’s office. Bob got there early to ensure that they got a table in the corner and was waiting when Jim arrived.
After getting there coffees, Bob thanked Jim for taking the time to meet and said that his goal was simply to get to know Jim better, then asked if he had anything in particular he’d like to get out of their conversation. Jim paused, thought for a moment and said, “Not really, no” … and then went on to say: “Before coming over, I glanced at your profile on Linked-In, was a bit surprised to see that the only thing there was your current role without any history or background, so I’d like to hear more about you.”
He then went on to say: “I assume you’ve looked at my Linked-In profile, do you have any questions about my background?” There was an awkward pause while Jim waited for Bob’s answer. Bob first of all explained that updating his Linked-In profile was on his to-do list, but other priorities had got in the way. And he apologized that he didn’t have a chance to look at Jim’s profile before their meeting and asked him to tell him a bit about himself.
Bob and Jim went on to have a cordial conversation. When the meeting wrapped up after 30 minutes, Bob suggested scheduling a time for a more in-depth discussion of Jim’s situation. Jim thanked him for for the offer, but said that while he’d enjoyed the conversation, given how busy he is, he’s not interested in talking further at this point. Jim did agree that Bob could keep on his monthly email list and that he could check back in 12 months, but Bob walked away feeling that what had seemed a promising opportunity had turned cold.
The new expectations for meeting preparation
Bob called me later that day to get my thoughts on how he should follow up with Jim and also what he could learn from the meeting. There were two obvious takeaways from the meeting with Jim:
First, before contacting prospects and certainly before meeting them, advisors will more and more need to get into the habit of first checking prospects’ Linked-In profiles. This is obviously less relevant if you work with retirees, but if you work with business owners or professionals and certainly if you work in the tech space as Bob does, this has become expected behaviour. More and more, not checking someone’s Linked-In profile before calling them or meeting them will send the signal that you’re not serious enough to invest three minutes in basic research. (Note that Bob could have checked Jim’s profile while waiting for him at Starbucks.)
Second, advisors need to get serious about their own Linked-In profiles. I recognize that some firms still limit what advisors can put on their Linked-In profiles (although I’m not clear as to why there should be different standards for Linked-In vs advisor websites), but the industry as a whole needs to adjust to today’s reality here and do it sooner rather than later.
With regard to how to follow up with Jim, I suggested that Bob update his LinkedIn profile and then send Jim a note, thanking him for providing the impetus to move this up Bob’s priority list. This won’t recoup all the ground that was lost, but perhaps will be a beginning.
For advisors who want to know more about how to incorporate Linked-In to your practice, below are links to two articles that appeared last year:
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Tags: Boardroom, Co Worker, Corporate Executives, Email List, Fifteen Years, Impressions, Investment Industry, Invitations, Local Restaurant, Manufacturing Industries, Market Outlook, Next Morning, Private Room, Referral, Roller Coaster, Sandwich Lunches, Substantial Equity, Success And Failure, Three Minutes, Work Colleague
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Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Recent research with investors indicates that the traditional model of client contact is not working in today’s environment — as a result advisors need to consider new alternatives to how they communicate.
The reason is quite simple: Despite their best efforts, many advisors are struggling to meet escalating client demands for communication — and clients are at risk as a result.
In a research study by Ipsos Reid last November, 13% of Canadian investors said they are thinking about changing their primary financial advisor in the next year.
The main reason driving a possible change in advisor?
Almost half the time, the primary driver was lack of contact, with poor investment performance ranked second at 30%.
And this despite the fact that investors say face to face meetings and phone calls from advisors have increased significantly in the past twelve months!
The problem is quite simple.
Given markets since September, clients want to hear from their advisors more than ever before. Whatever frequency your clients wanted to hear from you a year ago, it’s almost always higher today.
At the same time, many advisors say it’s hard to sustain the same level of communication as a year ago much less increase it … meetings and phone calls are not just longer, but they’re also often harder. Some days advisors leave the office emotionally and physically drained.
To close the communication gap that often exists right now, advisors need to look at supplementing day to day meetings and phone calls with methods that can increase frequency of contact in a time efficient fashion.
Here are four ways to do this:
1. One of the best ways is to emailing relevant articles to stay top of mind.
For more information: http://www.strategicimperatives.ca/blog/?p=156
2. Invite clients to sit in on informal round table sandwich lunches — this approach also has a prospecting element to it.
For more information: http://www.strategicimperatives.ca/blog/?p=156
3. Conducting periodic conference calls, in which you invite clients to listen to an interview with a money manager or strategist from your firm.
For more information: http://tv.investmentexecutive.com/video-6120-Part-Quarterly-conference-calls-reassure-clients#TB_inline?height=360&width=400&inlineId=send_to_a_friend
4. Organizing a panel of speakers that provide useful perspectives.
Note that none of these are a substitute for face to face meetings and regular phone calls — but they can be an effective supplement. While they do involve a commitment of time, they are not typically high cost.
It’s possible that as markets stabilize, demand for contact will return to previous levels. In the meantime, advisors need to think hard about how they provide the enhanced levels of contact that clients are looking for today.
For advisors interested in proceeding, I suggest you pick one of these methods and make it part of your communication arsenal, getting good at it in the process. By enhancing contact levels, you can buy time and patience from clients until markets recover and we return to more normal times.
For more information, please visit http://getkeepclients.com.
Tags: Best Efforts, Blog, Canadian Investors, Client Demands, Communication Gap, Element, Fashion, Frequency Contact, Gap, Half The Time, Ipsos Reid, Last November, Level Of Communication, Phone Calls, Poor Investment Performance, Relevant Articles, Risk, Sandwich Lunches, Traditional Model, Twelve Months, Www Ca
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