Lindsay Troxell, Director, Knowledge Labs® Professional Development, shares four steps that can put you on the path to client nirvana.
You’re into numbers. Passionate about markets and money. Great at sales. Hard-working, hard-driving and you hardly ever slow down. All perfect qualities for a career as a financial planner. Yet all too often, these very traits are at odds with the communication chops you need to be good at client services.
If patience, quietude, active listening and intuition aren’t your strong suits, you’re not alone. These are learned skills that don’t come naturally to most. But the good news is, there are concrete steps that can put you on the path to client nirvana.
1. Understand Generational Differences
In general, baby boomers always prefer a friendly voice, via phone or in person, depending on the situation. But don’t expect the same from their Gen Y kids, who loathe voicemail but never, ever miss a text.1 Where and when each generation receives information is just as important as how they receive it. Some may feel more comfortable at your office during work hours. Others would rather you meet with them at home in the evening. Start to track your clients’ preferences so that the next time you meet, you anticipate instead of ask.
2. For Female Clients, Don’t Assume Anything
Women are gaining an increasing share of the world’s wealth — about 27%. Yet in a study on women’s attitudes about personal finances, nearly a quarter of respondents say that wealth managers could significantly improve how they serve women. Their dissatisfaction stems from wealth managers who make decisions based on uninformed assumptions, give them options that seem “dumbed down” and don’t take the time to tailor investments to their personal goals.2 Build trust with female clients by listening and learning.
3. Knowledge is Power
According to a recent survey, 42% of financial professionals describe their clients as “very knowledgeable” about investing. But when their clients are polled, only 12% give themselves the same ranking.3 This disconnect may suggest that taking the time to educate clients about investments and how you develop their portfolio strategies could go a long way towards building trust and value in the relationship.
4. Learn What Your Past Says About Your Future
Early in your career, you may have exclusively focused on closing and volume. But at a certain point, it’s OK to re-evaluate, to be selective in choosing clients. Start by taking an inventory – make a list of your favorite clients and why you like to work with them. Maybe you are drawn to doctors because you grew up in a family of medical professionals. Or you find kinship in clients who “speak the same language” because you share the same passions in life. Or you just know that every time you speak with each other, conversation flows easily and you leave feeling energized. Whatever the reason, try to identify patterns, and then actively seek out clients who meet those criteria. By aligning your clientele with your strengths and passions, you’ll be more fulfilled, and your clients will be happier and more loyal as well.
- Rachel Rood, “Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail” NPR, October 23, 2014
- Peter Damisch, Monish Kumar, Anna Zakrzewski, and Natalia Zhiglinskaya “Leveling the Playing Field: Upgrading the Wealth Management Experience for Women” The Boston Consulting Group, July 2010
- Melissa Volin “Nearly Half of U.S. Financial Advisors Now Use Social Media Daily to Interact with Clients, According to Accenture Study” Accenture, March 26, 2013
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