Do You Really Know What Your Clients Want?

Your Affluent Clients Don’t Perceive Your Relationship The Same Way You Do

“It takes humility to seek feedback. it takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.” Stephen Covey

Include a structured, in-person meeting plan for each client as part of your wealth management deliverables and your client loyalty and retention efforts. It is one of the limited opportunities you have to meet face-to-face with your best clients—the 20 to 30 percent of those who provide you with 70 to 80 percent or more of your revenues, your most important feedback, and perhaps your best introductions.

Relationships have been best built by in-person meetings. In fact, a Forbes article made these points about business executives:

  • 84% preferred face-to-face communications
  • 85% of those said face-to-face communication builds stronger, more meaningful business relationships.
  • Face-to-face meetings are best for persuasion (91%), leadership (87%), and engagement (86%)
  • Face-to-face contact generates a collaborative environment, inspires, and energizes a positive emotional climate between both parties.
  • Lunch or coffee meetings also build relationships and camaraderie, credibility, and trust.

Bridging The Perception Gap Between Affluent Client and Financial Advisor

28% of affluent clients perceive to have a personal relationship beyond the professional level, compared to 68% of advisors reporting a personal relationship with their affluent clients. The perception of the relationship remains a challenge.

The data also suggested the affluent want to know their advisor on a personal level as a fundamental concern of trust.

When clients have a personal relationship with their advisor, they are more likely to follow their advisor’s advice, appreciate the services provided, stimulate positive word-of-mouth-influence, are loyal, and introduce the advisor to business opportunities (prospects). In-person meetings matter in building relationships and reducing perception gaps.

Each client meeting must have a structured, written agenda. Objectives for all meetings must be established, whether the meeting is simply a check-in call, a telephone-based portfolio review, or a face- to-face meeting. What actions do you want the clients to take as a result of the meeting?

The most important elements of each agenda are to:

  • Continue to display your technical competence and know-how.
  • Always engender trust, ethical conduct and character, and show empathy to grow the relationship.
  • Determine if there are any changes in the client’s lives whether financial or not and across the entire spectrum of their family and important relationships. How can you help?
  • Create a positive emotional feeling.

In your annual and semi-annual Strategic Planning and Review meetings also:

  • Reexamine the client’s goals, short, intermediate, and long and see how you can help if clarification would be of value.
  • Understand any upcoming events or changes in the client’s and their families lives.
  • Ensure the client’s portfolio remain in context of the client’s goals and their plans are on target.
  • Review your service model and plans for the coming period.
  • Have an in-depth feedback discussion (at least annually) and ensure clients are “highly” satisfied or put plans in place to move in that direction.
  • Summarize the meeting and planned action, provide a written summary after meeting, and update your CRM.

Your client contacts and especially review meetings are some of your best opportunities to gauge the sentiment of your clients. How do they feel and think about you? How important are you to their lives, including their families? Do you have a meaningful relationship with the spouse, children, parents, and others in the client’s family? Are you seen as a resource for decision making when the client wants to make any significant purchase? Do you know about the health and welfare of their children and their parents? Have you had a family financial planning meeting? Would they trust you for that?

Related: How To Generate Client Loyalty