Continuing our exploration into building long-term relationships within financial planning advisor/client engagement, today we are covering the development of a personal relationship with a client. If we think about reasons why we return to certain business or services, most of us would agree that how we are treated by the staff – whether it’s the barista who knows our name and always remembers our coffee order, or the bank teller who remembers to ask after our children – is an essential part of promoting returning business.
It should be no surprise that when we researched the long-term success of financial planning advisors, customer service was a top reason that their services were retained over time. Here are some of the main ideas presented by industry insiders on building a strong personal relationship with your client:
1. Consumers value a personal connection – they will stay with an advisor who is empathetic to their concerns, understanding of their situation, and authentically listens to their problems
2. Insider’s agree that a key skill in advising is being able to offer support, allay concerns, and translate industry language to make the client more comfortable
3. Successful advisors are not only aware of the individual and unique circumstances of each of their clients, but they are also aware of any previous relationships with advisors that were not satisfactory
4. Advisors who take the time to listen, discuss their client’s life philosophy, and help them map their financial goals based on that philosophy are all successful in establishing trust and a return investment in services
5. Asking open-ended ‘powerful’ questions – such as ‘Do you have a vision for your wealth and how you want to use it?’ will invite thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and further build on your holistic relationship
6. Set and maintain personal boundaries and professional ethics – it is essential to invest in your clients on a personal level, while maintaining professional distance
In presenting these six ideas, we have highlighted basic elements to building on professional relationships, ensuring trust and sustainability, and creating effective business approaches. Knowing yourself and knowing your client are necessary factors to maintaining long-term relationships. Our final industry insider blog this week will introduce the concept of multigenerational planning in order to secure lifelong advisor/client relationships.