ELITE ADVISOR REPORT
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6 Ways to Build and Grow Client Loyalty – Episode 13
- Character, chemistry, caring and competence are the foundational aspects of building loyalty.
- Being consultative and cost-effective helps grow and enhance that loyalty over time.
- Loyal clients are more likely to entrust you with their assets and refer others your way.
Pop quiz: How would you prefer to spend your time?
A. Constantly hunting for new prospects and converting them to clients.
B. Doing very little marketing and instead focusing on serving highly loyal clients who give you more of their assets to manage.
Of the thousands of financial advisors I’ve worked with over the years, probably less than 5 percent would choose A.
The fact is, we all want not just ideal clients, but ideal clients who stick with us over time and give us more of their trust (and assets). A devoted, delighted client base is vital to creating and growing a truly exceptional practice.
What it takes to build lasting loyalty
Regardless of where you are on the hierarchy of financial advisor success—or where you want to be on it—you need a loyal clientele.
To get that, you need to adopt what I call the six Cs—the six factors that drive client loyalty:
As you can see in the chart, there are four foundational factors—character, chemistry, caring and competence. These four core factors work in lockstep. If wealthy clients see you as very caring, then they are highly likely to also see you as having character, perceive the chemistry with you as being good and see you as quite competent.
However, having a foundation of character, chemistry, caring and competence will have little impact on how clients view you when it comes to being consultative or cost-effective.
Conversely, being consultative dramatically affects the four core factors. The more consultative you are, the more clients will see you as having character, perceive the chemistry with you as being good, and see you as being very caring and competent. And when you are highly consultative, clients will see the cost of your financial products and services as less of an issue.
Clearly, the six Cs have a very complementary interaction. So let’s consider each one individually.
1. Character. Character entails the personal qualities clients want in their financial professionals. The three most important of these qualities are integrity, trustworthiness and dependability. When we talk to financial professionals about character, they all profess it to be important and assert that they have integrity and are trustworthy and dependable. However, we have found that many have a difficult time communicating character to their clients. Ask yourself: How do your clients know that you have integrity? How do they know you can be trusted? How do they know you are dependable?
2. Chemistry. Chemistry is the ability to be in sync with your clients. You have chemistry when you “connect” with them. You know what your clients like to talk about, and you see eye to eye with them on important issues. Chemistry is certainly important, and it’s something you cannot fake—which makes it vital to focus on working with people you really like and “get” on many levels. Serving only clients who are ideal for your skills and interests will help you build that chemistry like nothing else can.
3. Caring. Caring is about empathy and truly knowing what is most important to your clients beyond their financial goals and objectives. You also must communicate that you really do have a good grasp on their world.
4. Competence. The more you can demonstrate and communicate your competence, the more loyal your clients become. Most clients consider their financial professionals to be exceptionally technically capable. Clients also tend to believe their financial professionals are extremely smart. It’s a strong sign that your clients consider you competent if they believe that you are recognized as a leading expert by your peers. Thought leadership —publishing articles and white papers, getting endorsements from key influencers in your chosen client niche—does wonders for your perceived competence.
5. Consultative. Being truly consultative is the most decisive factor in creating loyal clients, regardless of the business model. There are three central components to being consultative:
- Cooperative orientation. Affluent clients today tend to prefer a collaborative advisor-client relationship.
- Contact parameters. You build loyalty among your clients when you contact them appropriately, not just on a schedule such as for a quarterly investment review.
- Customized communications. Create communications that truly connect with each client—using thought leadership content, for example.
6. Cost-effective. Clients are becoming increasingly price-sensitive in the absence of perceived value. They are forcing many financial professionals to lower the costs of their products and services whenever they can. The truth of the matter is that this is not about cost, but value. Most wealthy clients are willing to pay without debate for high-quality financial solutions. Moreover, they are usually willing to pay for products and services when they see the value.
Clients focus on costs when their financial professionals fail to focus on value. They want their financial professionals to deliver cost-effective solutions. This means not only providing value, but also enabling your clients to recognize that you are providing value.
Taken together, these characteristics attract the right affluent clients, create authentic loyalty and act as the glue that holds the financial advisor-client relationship together over time.Excelling in all six of these qualities requires you to build the right systems and processes, and have the right people in place, to deliver a consistently strong client experience—one that demonstrates that you are exactly the right person to help your clients make smart choices about their wealth.The message is clear: Adopt the key qualities that will build tremendous client loyalty so you can position your advisory practice to be one of those that gets—and retains—more than its fair share of affluent business in the years ahead.
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