Most financial advisors understand the importance of client communications. Those who don’t find out the hard way that poor or infrequent communications is the number one reason clients leave their financial advisor, according to a Financial Advisor Magazine survey. But what if you feel you have a deliberate client communications strategy, yet your clients seem to be unresponsive or not engaging with you at a level that gives you confidence they are fully on board?
That’s not a good feeling, and it should sound alarms if you hope to maximize client retention. Client expectations have intensified in the last several years, meaning if they don’t feel like their advisor is making an effort to engage with them, they have no qualms about moving on. In previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of a systematic communications strategy involving multiple channels and a deliberate process for creating more touchpoints with your clients.
If you’ve implemented a system and still feel your clients are not as engaged as they should be, here are a few ways to take client engagement to the next level.
#1. Understand your clients’ expectations
A mistake many advisors make is neglecting to gain a deep understanding of what their clients expect from a relationship. That requires a thorough discovery of your clients’ needs, preferences, interests, and priorities. This enables you to pinpoint how the client wants to communicate, when, and why. Your contact database should be designed to place each client in the right category for the level of communications they want, whether it’s a monthly check-in, a quarterly update, an annual review, or even off-schedule calls.
Each client file should be flagged for interests, concerns, and priorities to ensure you send them relevant content. Clients who feel you have listened to them and understand what they want tend to be more engaged.
#2. Become socially active
Most of your clients are on social media, so you should be too. However, you don’t want to just lurk in the background. Become part of the conversation. It’s not the time for self-promotion; instead, it’s an opportunity to contribute something of value to the community. Facebook interactions should remain social while your LinkedIn posts allow you to showcase your insights. Clients who see you as an active participant will view you differently and may feel more comfortable engaging with you there.
#3. Survey your clients
Conducting surveys among your client is an excellent way to get valuable feedback, but it can also increase engagement. You can survey your clients on how they view your services, what they’d like to see changed in your services, their thoughts on the economy, which media sources they rely on, and so on. Make the surveys short—no more than five or six questions. Using an online service like Survey Monkey, you can easily create surveys and include a link to the survey in an email or on your website.
Your clients will appreciate that you value their feedback and opinions.
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#4. Start a blog
Blogging is a way to be interesting to your clients and differentiate yourself. Clients are hungry for information and insights on topics that matter to them. Posting fresh, relevant, and compelling content a couple of times a month will not only keep you top of mind but will also showcase your thought leadership. Your audience will find you through emails announcing a new post, shared posts, and social media links.
Clients want to engage with interesting, intelligent people.
#5. Make “just because” calls
Your communications strategy should consist of scheduled calls based on your clients’ preferences. But, if you want to enhance client engagement, make time for “just because” calls—non-business-related calls to check-in to see how the family is doing. If you’re keeping copious notes on your clients’ lives, you’ll know about medical conditions, when kids are graduating or getting married, or if a local news item may affect a clients’ family or job–any reason, or no reason at all, to call your clients out of the blue to see how they’re doing.
Your clients will remember and appreciate those calls more than any other.
These are client engagement enhancements—ways to demonstrate you’re different, and you care. They should be layered on top of a well-conceived, systematic communications strategy that fosters consistency and professionalism in your client interactions.
Related: An Advisor’s Most Underrated Asset