The Key to Turning Clients into Advocates

I just attended a conference with about 130 financial advisors in attendance – all of whom were generating $1M of annual revenue.

Between a few of the panels and the roundtable discussions, one might think that these folks were more social event planners and professional gift givers, rather than financial advisors.

What’s up with that?

Does this interest in hosting fun and interesting events or finding personalized gifts for their clients diminish the importance of their core work, i.e., helping their clients make educated financial decisions?

I don’t think so.

What these successful advisors have discovered is the key that turns many satisfied clients into advocates – advocates who keep introducing them to ideal prospects.

Here’s what we know

Research conducted by Julie Littlechild has demonstrated that while satisfied clients are loyal (which is no small thing), there’s a low correlation between satisfied clients and providing referrals.

What does it take to generate more referrals from clients? Create engaged clients.  An engaged client is someone with whom you’ve made a value connection and a personal connection. They need to feel good about the value that you provide, and they need to feel good about you and your team.

The Difference Between Satisfied Clients and Advocates

So, the key to turning satisfied and loyal clients into advocates is what I like to call “the business friendship.” Your client relationship goes way beyond the core work that you do. You’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level.

Enter client appreciation events, personalized gifts, and other things you and your team can do to start and nurture these business friendships.

(By the way, will all of your clients want a business friendship with you? Probably not. Nor will you want that with all of your clients.)

Client appreciation events and taking a little extra time and attention to make your client gifts more personalized, is what builds engaged clients, that turn into business friendships, that turns many of your clients into advocates.

Why Advocates Are So Valuable

There are three things about advocates that make them worth creating:

1. Advocates care about your success. Therefore, they pay attention to who they send to you. They are eager to learn about who fits your business, so they create the right match.

2. Advocates recommend you. They vouch for the quality and importance of your work and they vouch for the pleasure of working with you and your team.

3. Advocates make better connections. They don’t usually settle for telling someone about you. They find a way to introduce you and they typically stay with it until they are certain the connection has been established.

So, the next time you wonder about all the fuss (time, energy, and resources) very successful advisors put into the social side of their client relationships, now you know why. Paying attention to the social side of your client relationships will grow your business.

Related: When Clients See Their Advisor as Irreplaceable