Posts Tagged ‘Second Group’
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Successful advisors focus as much time as possible on talking to their top clients. Even in cases where advisors talk to clients frequently, there is one important sentiment and seven critical words that often get missed.
Those seven words, incredibly simple to say but that often get overlooked: “You rank among my very favourite clients.”
The impact of recognizing top clients
I was reminded of this in a recent article on the website for the Harvard Business Review, summarizing a research study on the impact of telling people they’re special. Two groups of students received a flyer in the mail from a retailer opening a new clothing store nearby. None of the students had ever visited this store or knew anything about it. In the first group, the flyer was a fairly straightforward description of the store’s offering, with a coupon offering a discount on their first purchase.
The second group received the same flyer and coupon. The only difference was the headline on the flyer, which said: “You are receiving this because you have been recognized for your good taste.”
Now the students in the second group knew this line was a generic sales pitch that was sent broadly – and that they hadn’t been recognized for their good taste at all. Despite this, when researchers looked at the attitudes toward the store and the subsequent likelihood to visit the store among these two groups of students, they saw a striking outcome. That result: The students who had been told that they received the flyer because of their good taste had a significantly more positive attitude to the store and were more likely to actually go and make a purchase.
Why advisors fail to do this
Now if we see this outcome where the sentiment is transparently false, imagine how much more dramatic the outcome would be if this was actually true. So the conclusion is simple. We should let clients know that they’re valued.
On the face of it, this sounds remarkably basic. You’re saying to yourself, that’s absolutely self-evident, of course I should let my clients know that they’re valued. So why then do most advisors fail to convey this effectively? In many cases it’s lack of focus and priority, and in others, it’s because advisors believe actions speak louder than words – by doing a great job, your clients should know that they are valued.
Just appreciating clients isn’t enough; for you to see a payoff in sentiment, you have to tell them. And for clients to feel valued, you have to make an explicit point of letting them know. The reason is simple: After 25 years of working with investors and advisors, here’s a key insight I’ve walked away with: Very few clients are mind readers.
Letting clients know they’re valued
Suppose you buy into letting clients know they’re valued, the next question is how best to achieve this. I’ve had advisors tell me they do this by signing every letter “Thank you for the opportunity to work together” or “Your business is greatly appreciated.” And while there’s nothing wrong with including that sentiment in letters, the vast majority of clients will gloss over that line. For it to make an impact, the message has to really stand out.
What that means is that when you recognize top clients with an invitation to a dinner or special event, you need to be explicit about the reason they’ve received the invite: “As one of my most valued clients, I am delighted to invite you to join me for a special …. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, evening with …” And then at the event, repeat the message: “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to welcome everyone here tonight and to thank you all for being among my most valued clients.”
This recognition doesn’t have to be tied to a special event, in fact it can be conveyed effectively in normal conversations, provided that three things are in place. First, the sentiment has to be genuine – you can’t tell someone that they’re one of your most valued clients if that’s not the case without the risk of it ringing false and undermining your credibility. Second, you need to phrase this in your own words … most valued clients, top clients, favourite clients, most important clients, one of the clients I enjoy dealing with the most all. Just pick the one that you’re comfortable with.
And finally, you should add a “so what” that pays off that sentiment. That payoff can be as simple as: “You rank among my most valued clients. I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the chance to work together over the past year.” Or you can go on to say “If you ever run into a problem on your account or a question, no matter how minor, please don’t hesitate to let me know.” Or alternatively “If at any time there’s anything I can do to improve your experience working with me, please let me know.”
For advisors who aren’t in the habit of letting your most valued clients know that they’re your top clients, this may seem a bit awkward at first. Once you’ve done this a couple of times, it will become more comfortable – and chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive response you get. After all, none of us like to feel taken for granted and we all like to feel acknowledged. As a result, the 30 seconds it takes to have this conversation with your very best clients could well be the highest return 30 seconds you’ll spend with them.
Tags: Attitudes, Clothing Store, Conclusion, Critical Words, Focus, Good Taste, Harvard Business Review, Likelihood, Mail, Positive Attitude, Recent Article, Sales Pitch, Second Group, Sentiment, Seven Words, Straightforward Description
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Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
In recent workshops, I’ve talked about the need to focus on one primary business goal for each key client you work with.When I ask advisors for examples of possible objectives, the one that comes up first most often is “consolidating accounts held elsewhere.”
Wanting to do this is a good start …. The key question is how best to go about this.
Becoming the exclusive financial advisor for key clients has always been a priority for advisors … but these days, this is even more important. Partly that because advisors are looking to regain some of the assets lost in last year’s market decline — and in part it’s because of the recognition of the risk that if you don’t act, another advisor you share a client with might.
Here’s what I’ve learned from talking to clients who have more than one advisor.
Investors who have accounts with multiple financial advisors and financial institutions fall into two categories — the first group is those who have made a conscious decision to spread their relationships around, the second category is those for whom this is more of a historical accident.
The first group will be a tougher sell when it comes to centralizing their financial affairs. In some cases, they have long standing relationships with other advisors that they don’t want to abandon. Other times, they have sought out different advisors for specific expertise (working with one advisor for investments and another for insurance is a common example.)
And in other instances, investors are concerned about control or confidentiality if one advisor has all their money — confidentiality is a particular concern in smaller communities.
Then there’s the second group — who work with more than one advisor either because no one has ever suggested bringing all their finances under one umbrella or if one of their advisors did bring this up failed to give them a good reason to do so.
Regardless of which category your client falls into, consider a three pronged approach to a conversation about consolidating a client’s financial affairs.
Start by pointing out the advantages. Depending on the client, these might include better constructed portfolios by eliminating duplicated positions, more efficient tax management and lower bills for tax preparation, less paperwork to keep track of and generally simplifying their lives.
The second prong is to make moving as simple as possible, by taking on as much of the paperwork and follow up as you can. Whenever you ask a client to do something, they measure the gain versus the pain. It’s not enough to talk about increasing gain — you also have to focus on reducing pain.
The third prong is your fallback strategy.
Even if a client declines your offer to bring all of their financial affairs under one roof, keep the line of communication open. One way to do this is by offering to help them summarize their investment reports — simply by having your assistant call them once a quarter to arrange to get all of their statements and preparing a consolidated version. Not only will you be doing your client a service, but you’ll eliminate the possibility that another advisor your client is working with will beat you to the punch.
Tags: Advertisement, Business Goal, Client Assets, Confidentiality, Conscious Decision, Financial Advisors, Financial Affairs, Financial Institutions, Focus, Good Reason, Instances, Insurance, Investments, Investors, Market Decline, Money, Priority, Relationships, Risk, S Market, Second Group, Umbrella
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