Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014 as of 7:23 AM ET
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5 Ways to Deepen Client Relationships
Impact Communications, Inc.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Providing financial services to clients is a deeply personal engagement.

While some clients will be more focused on returns, most will care more about their experience with you as their trusted advisor. True relationships can only be built through personal experiences with you. Over time, trust and rapport will grow, and you can generate long-term relationships with clients.

The challenge is that there is a lot of competition for your potential clients’ business. How do you cut through the clutter of advertisements and Internet searches to help prospects know you? How do you convey your personal brand before prospects become clients – even before they are looking for an advisor?

Some advisors spend so much time tweeting and posting on social media that they have fooled themselves into thinking that through these mediums alone they are building true relationships. While these forms of communication are important, the reality is that social media and email communications alone are not enough. Advisors need a whole tool belt of strategies and tactics to help you cultivate relationships with clients and prospects.

Larry Teichman, CFP, an LPL branch manager with recently-rebranded Teichman Financial Services in Chesterland, Ohio, has forged “real” relationships with his community, creating a sense of affinity and cementing lifelong friends – clients or not.

KEEPING IT REAL

Teichman, who I spoke with at a conference last year, says his philosophy is to focus on clients’ objectives and maintain contact with them throughout all market conditions. Here are a few of the ways that Teichman and his colleagues “keep it real” with clients and prospects:

1. Legacy Interviews
Teichman invites clients to discuss their life’s accomplishments, in front of a video camera. A facilitator is hired to interview clients in a living room setting while a professional records the session and finalizes the piece after filming. The client is given as many copies of their story on DVD as they’d like. The goal is to capture their stories that might be otherwise lost.

One 60-year-old client brought in his WWII veteran father who helped liberate a death camp. His father was a private man and hadn’t discussed his wartime experiences. “The resulting story of this humble hero was a gift to the entire family and I was happy to provide the experience,” Teichman said.

2. Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness
Because Teichman Financial Services has a good CRM system (they raved about the Bill Good Gorilla system during a phone interview), they can quickly access detailed information about the client at any time.

They take simple notes throughout client meetings -- just enough to remember what they want to dictate into their note transcription service mobile app after the meeting. Once transcribed by CopyTalk, those notes are posted directly to the client’s CRM record. (Full disclosure: Copytalk is a client of my firm, Impact Communications.)

This process allows Teichman and his staff to “be totally present” during client meetings and to provide for the client beyond the typical relationship. Because Teichman and his team track what’s important to the client, their “random acts of kindness” are more meaningful than random. “The closer it is tied to the clients’ dreams and goals the better,” Teichman said.

3. At-Home Office
Teichman’s building is no typical office space. Clients drive up to a home-like structure and enter through the front door, just like your guests do at home. When they come through the door they see a waterfall, a piano in the foyer and an office furnished with antiques from the area. There is a large brass bell from a train station that signals the beginning of each meeting.

Clients will not encounter a single financial magazine in the lobby; rather they have many lifestyle and travel options to flip through. And with a miniature train running through the conference room and hallway (an impressive 3,000 feet of track), clients and friends bring the young ones in just to see the train run its course. “We also have the best candy dish in town,” Teichman said.

4. Community Library
The home-like building features a big library with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the trees. With tons of titles to read, visitors can read in the library or borrow a book and take it with them. “It’s a lending library for the community,” Teichman said.

5. Open Door Policy
Because this is a community-oriented business, visitors don’t need to make an appointment and are welcome to simply stop by. “We have lots of people stop by during the holidays just to see how we decorated the office and to say hello,” Teichman said.

In today’s competitive environment, leaning on electronic communications alone won’t be enough. Get creative when thinking about how to engage in your community. Each client, firm and community will call for different approaches, so bring your staff into the process and have fun thinking outside the box.

My next article will discuss the many creative approaches to event marketing that Teichman and his firm employ. See you next time!

Marie Swift (@marieswift on Twitter) and her team at Impact Communications have been working exclusively with independent financial advisors and allied institutions for twenty years. 

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(2) Comments
Great article, great simple ideas...Advisers need to create intimacy in their practice to build lifelong and multigenerational clients.
Posted by Tony D | Friday, March 14 2014 at 11:00AM ET
All business is personal when it involves human beings. The RAOK advice here is great.
Posted by Warren W | Tuesday, April 29 2014 at 10:32AM ET
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