The Busy Adviser’s Secret to Lifelong Clients

The Busy Adviser's Secret to Lifelong ClientsWith the ongoing back-and-forth debates in the Senate about FoFA, we still don’t have a final outcome for the legislation. But one thing we do know is that advisers will have to do more to provide ongoing services to clients. In an environment where clients have more choices and information than ever before, this is not just about FoFA, the FSI, or compliance – it’s just good business.

What are you doing to demonstrate your service to clients? Do they only hear from you when you send them a statement or invoice? If so, you can do more – much more – to show them that you’re a valued partner in planning their financial future.

This doesn’t mean you have to phone 10 clients a day just to “touch base”. That’s inefficient, time-consuming, impractical, and will probably annoy more people than it pleases. Instead, focus on touchpoints that give them real value in a non-intrusive way.

Here are four things you could do – with suggestions about how frequently you could do them.

1. DAILY: Do something nice.

Every day, do something nice for one of your clients. For example, you could send a Happy Birthday text, forward an interesting article you found, “like” or comment on something they publish on Facebook or LinkedIn, send a thank-you e-mail, or introduce two people in your network to each other. All of these things are free, and none of them take more than 10 minutes. It’s just a matter of proactively doing this every day.

Pro tip: Use Nimble to keep track of your clients. It will even prompt you with names of people you haven’t contacted in a while.

2. WEEKLY: Send a thank-you postcard.

In an increasingly digital world, you can really stand out by sending something physical. One of the easiest things to send is a handwritten thank-you card. Of course, you can simply buy thank-you cards, but a better option is to print your own postcards. For example, you can create postcards with a picture of your choice, an inspiring quotation, and (of course) your branding.

Use your own photographs, or buy them online (both BigStock.com and iStock.com are very affordable). Add text to the picture using, say, PowerPoint, and save the slide as an image. Then send it to a local printer, along with your contact information for the back.

For example, here is one of my postcards, which I created using exactly this process:

postcard

3. MONTHLY: Write a high-quality article.

Write an educational article for your monthly client e-mail newsletter (You do have a monthly client newsletter, right???). This is something more detailed and valuable than the articles you publish in public places, like your blog or public e-mail newsletter.

Even if you’re not an expert writer, it doesn’t take much to write a useful article, because you know so much that your clients want to know.

If you want some inspiration, go to your local newsagent, pick up the latest issue of Cosmo or Men’s Health, look at the headlines on the cover, and adapt one of them for your use.

For example, a recent issue of Cosmopolitan had these headlines:

  1. Bye-Bye Belly! 3 New Easy Ways to Lose It
  2. Party Dresses That Flirt For You
  3. Cameron Diaz – Even More Reasons To Love Her

With a bit of creativity, these could be articles with these titles:

  1. Bye-Bye Debt! 3 New Easy Ways to Lose It
  2. Super Strategies That Grow For You
  3. Self-Managed Super Funds – Even More Reasons To Love Them

Of course, you have to be careful what you write, to avoid breaching legislation, dealer group rules, and so on. But don’t let that stop you from writing at all!

(By the way, the title for this article was adapted from a Cosmo headline “The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Glowing Skin!”)

4. QUARTERLY: Run a client webinar.

Every three months, run a special client-only webinar to give them a market briefing. You can present it yourself using internal experts, or (better) invite external experts. The purpose of this webinar is to inform and educate clients, not to promote yourself. But of course, you’re positioning yourself as an expert, authority and trusted adviser – and that’s automatic promotion for you.

Two bonus ideas:

  1. Invite some of your key referral partners to be expert guests, and ask them to invite their clients as well. It makes them look good in front of their clients, makes you look good in front of yours, and gives prospective clients a taste of what you do.
  2. Keep the webinar private for your clients (that’s the point – to add value to them), but allow them to each invite a friend or two. This is better than just asking clients for referrals, because the client is doing a favour for their friend, not for you.

What touchpoints are YOU providing for your clients?

Which of these ideas can you use in your practice? If you have decided that some of these ideas are not for you, that’s OK, but check that you’re not discarding them too soon.

For example, if you don’t know how to run webinars, take the time to learn – it’s not hard, not expensive, and the benefits far outweigh the cost of the initial learning curve.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re creating regular touchpoints with clients, to keep adding value and demonstrating your role as their partner on their financial journey.

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