Every once in a while, advisors are presented with special opportunities to build trust and win client loyalty. Its when clients are feeling excessive fear, uncertainty, or doubt, that it is our responsibility to reassure them, educate them, and guide them.
There have been several recent events that presented opportunities to do so: The Flash Crash; the S&P Downgrade of U.S. debt; the 2012 Presidential Election; and most recently, fiscal cliff negotiations.
With so many factors impacting your clients right now, what do they need from you? Here are three things:
1. Marked Confidence
If youre going to help your clients, you need to be the authority first. Take time to read the full text of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 and do supplementary research on portions you dont understand. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the sections that will impact your clients. Once youve done this, begin reviewing key provisions with clients when you speak with them on the phone or when they come in for reviews. Be proactive by calling your top clients and discussing this matter with them personally. Be vocal about the issue by making it a topic of conversation with everyone you meet. When you demonstrate that you are educated about important issues and have a clear position on them, clients will be drawn to you and will be more likely to refer others to you when they have similar questions.
With all the noise coming from politicians and media outlets, your clients have a lot of questions that need answering: How will this affect me? Are my taxes going up? Should I make changes to my investments? Offer your clients shelter from the storm by helping them find reliable answers through written whitepapers, letters, fact-sheets, and other educational tools. Post explanations on your website and broadcast links via e-mail and social media, within compliance guidelines. If youre not using social media yet, this is another compelling reason to do so. One of the greatest aspects of social media is that it facilitates real-time conversations and instantaneous delivery of important information.
Granted, it can be nearly impossible to meet the demands of your clients and still find time to create these kinds of communications, but there are plenty of companies out there that will do this for you. Its better to outsource this portion of your business than not to do it at all. (For full disclosure, this is one of the things, Platinum Advisor Strategies does.) Your clients are hungry for information right now, and its better they get it from you than Suze Orman.
3. A Personal Touch
Letters and whitepapers do a good job of educating, but they arent the greatest for creating warm and fuzzy feelings. Take things to the next level by incorporating more intimate methods of communication into your strategy. Let clients hear your voice by hosting a conference call on New Tax Law Changes and How They May Affect You or a similar topic. You can even invite prospects to this call and use it as a way to grow your business.
Take things a step further by letting clients see your smiling face. Use a webcam to record a brief 3-5 minute video sharing your insights on the topic and then post it on your website. If you want to go really world-class, rent a conference room for the day and host a presentation for your clients. This is the ultimate because it will give you a chance to shake hands with everyone and answer their questions in a truly intimate setting.
Even though you may not have time to do all these things, dont let that stop you from doing some of them. The methods recommended here are certainly more efficient than trying to call or meet with every client individually. Pick the technique that will work best for you and follow through on it.
Studies have repeatedly proven that the two most important factors in winning and keeping clients are trust and regular communication. Taking the actions described above will help you in both areas, and are vital if you desire to build a thriving and profitable practice that enriches the lives of your clients.