We recently published an article intended to help you better serve your clients in 2021, “7 Things Today’s Investors Want From Their Advisor.” If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to check it out. The events of this past year were significant in many ways, and your clients definitely felt the impact. Now more than ever, they may be looking for the ability to turn to a real human for guidance, someone who understands and can empathize with their unique circumstances and offer personalized advice. Similarly, many consumers today are seeking a seamless, interconnected financial experience that supports them completely, from today’s spending to their future plans, something we’re calling The Intelligent Financial Life.
Building and maintaining this type of relationship and providing this type of experience requires open, transparent, and regular communication. While beneficial to your clients’ outcomes, this is also one of the most impactful and efficient ways to improve your business because it can lead to higher client retention rates and overall satisfaction.
But, an effective communication process isn’t just about the volume of communication, it’s also the quality of communication – the timing, the tools, the delivery. With this in mind, I wanted to offer a few straightforward suggestions for how you can improve your client communication.
1. Set the Tone
As I mentioned, your clients are likely craving human connection. So, set the tone for each conversation – and your relationship – by taking the time to catch up on how they’re doing and where they are in that moment – before even getting to the “shop talk.” Don’t be afraid to ask what they may be concerned with or stressed over – and don’t be in a hurry to move on. This is an opportunity to show empathy, and demonstrate that you understand their anxieties, validate their feelings, and focus on their priorities. Then, make sure to connect regularly and repeat the process. Remember, be positive! Your attitude and demeanor can go a long way in helping clients feel valued and confident about the future.
Listen. Simple, really, but not always easy. It’s common to multitask, get distracted, or think about the great ideas you want to share instead of listening to what someone is saying. But, listening – really listening – is the best tool you have. If you can understand your clients’ concerns – the health and well-being of their families, the causes they care about, their health and future plans, and so on – you can deepen your relationships and offer more appropriate solutions. It’s not about approaching a conversation with a product or service in mind that you would like to sell, it’s about responding with a solution that directly addresses a client’s unique situation.
3. Focus On Client Service
Client service is a key pillar of success – great leaders and great advisors have a client-first mindset. Quality communication is about creating superior value for your clients, supporting them, and prioritizing their overall journey to financial wellness. How can you best address their interests and meet their needs? What can you do to help them achieve their goals? Focusing on client service, through all aspects of your communication, has great potential to improve your business outcomes.
The seven recommendations in our article hone in on ways you can address your clients’ needs, from managing their families’ wealth for multiple generations to offering protection and liquidity services, but take the time to think beyond their finances when it comes to your service model. Some examples include:
- Being accessible and responsive to their inquiries.
- Accommodating their preferred communication methods (text, phone, in-person, email, etc.).
- Remembering to check in on birthdays and around key milestone events, like graduations, anniversaries, etc.
- Reaching out “just because” to check in and maintain open lines of communication, while staying aware of their current emotions, needs, and life changes.
In addition to setting the tone, listening, and focusing on client service, try to avoid industry jargon, and speak to your clients authentically, reaching out consistently, and being yourself. The results can be powerful.
The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.
John Harris, Managing Director, Head of Global Advisor Sales at Envestnet
Mr. Harris began his work with Envestnet in 2002 and has served as Managing Director, Head of Global Advisor Sales since 2006. Prior to joining Envestnet, Mr. Harris was a Regional Consultant for AssetMark Investment Services covering the South Central Territory. Throughout his career, he has focused on helping advisors build and expand their practice through training, education, and consulting. Mr. Harris received a BBA in Finance from the University of Oklahoma and his CFP® designation from the College of Financial Planning in Denver.