Back in my consulting days, we were taught to build personal relationships with our clients. Now I will confess that some of the clients we didn’t want to get any closer to but the majority of them were nice and we actually enjoyed meeting them and helping them. The point is, the better the relationship you have with a client the higher the chances of them introducing other people to your business. Why you might ask? It’s an age-old tradition but people like to work with and help those that they like, know and ultimately trust.
For some its very easy to get to know clients on a deeper personal level but for some, it can be quite challenging. Perhaps your natural style is quiet; your quite shy but love the work that you do. Perhaps you don’t know how far is too far and some guidelines would be helpful.
Below are four ways in which you can start to develop deeper relationships with your clients. It would be a good idea to print these off and discuss them as a team or place them in the kitchen as a reminder. You might even like to check in each month [or weekly] and hear what success others are having in the business with regards to client relationships.
1. Get to know the family. One of the easiest ways to do that is by using the family tree concept. There are several variations which can easily be found on Google or you can create your own. Depending on your style and your business will depend on how you choose to use this framework but at its basic level, it’s an excellent tool to help navigate the conversation about their family. The more you know about someone the easier it is to have better conversations and the better the conversations the closer the relationship. In coaching, we talk about coming from a place of curiosity which is exactly the mindset I would encourage you have with this concept. Typical things advisers will ask about family members are age, work status, marital status and so forth. General questions which are more than suitable and legitimate for their financial adviser [you] to be curious about.
2. Celebrate milestones. There’s not enough love and celebration in the world these days! When was the last time you sent a random card to someone to say thank you or congratulations? Has a client recently started a new job? Had a new baby? Finished a course? Got married? Retired from work? Their child completed VCE? Been a client for a certain amount of years, even one year? What did you do to acknowledge these achievements? Depending on your business, budget and style will depend on how you celebrate these milestones. There’s no need to go overboard with gifts but a nice card, a bunch of flowers, a bottle of wine with a handwritten card are all lovely ways to demonstrate that you have their interests at heart, that you care and that you value the relationship.
3. Demonstrate warmth. Throughout our lives, there will undoubtedly be some trauma whether it affects us personally of a loved one. A client of mine, a financial adviser, heard that one of his client’s business partners had passed away unexpectantly. It was a tragedy. This financial adviser hadn’t met the business partner but was so saddened to hear the news and knew how much it would shatter his client that he flew interstate to attend the funeral and offer his compassionate support. It’s acts of kindness that show the true character of a person.
4. Show you listen. I’ve said it before random acts of kindness are one of the best ways to deepen relationships. Let’s say one of your clients is having a hard time; anything could have happened. You might decide to send them a handwritten card to let them know you are thinking of them. They might be going on an overseas trip – you could buy them a nifty travel device for the plane or a book about the destination. Again this idea doesn’t need to break the bank. Keep it simple.
Many financial advice businesses claim to be client-centric yet so many can’t be because at their weekly catch up meetings they aren’t talking about clients they’re talking about processes, system upgrades, staff holidays etc. While I appreciate they are all legitimate items to discuss I would encourage whoever runs these meetings to include the topic of clients that way more of your advisers will be able to make deeper relationships, gain more of the ideal clients and ultimately bring in more revenue.
How do you create better client relationships?