The chief reason clients fire their advisors is not, as you may have thought, poor performance – it’s poor communication. A survey by Financial Advisor Magazine revealed that 72% of clients said they fired their advisors due to their advisor’s failure to communicate on a timely basis.
The best advisors put their communication strategy at the very heart of their business – and so should you. Not only should you build in time to communicate with clients – but take time to develop your soft skills so that you communicate effectively.
Call clients just for a catch up
There’s no substitute for personalized communication – it’s a critical part of the advisor-client relationship. So, remember to allocate time to contacting clients on a regular basis – just for a catch up. Not only will this serve to underscore your interest in them, but it’s an opportunity for you to find out if anything has changed. For example, key times to book in a call to a client are on the client’s Birthday or during the holidays.
An unprompted call is your way of showing your clients that they are important. And that you’re not there to sell them anything – you’re interested in them personally and appreciate their business.
Create layers of communication across all touchpoints
If they’re happy, there are many places you can interact with clients.
You can send out emails or newsletters enabling them to gain extra knowledge about their finances and investments. You can write blogs and post on social media, so they can keep up to date with company news. Or you could invite clients to view a webinar or attend a seminar – they’re great places to exchange information with clients as well as meet new ones.
Get on the phone first
If clients are calling you to ask how their investments are performing, then you’re already way behind, communication-wise. You should be the one making the calls rather than receiving them.
Many advisors make the mistake of hiding from their clients when times are challenging. This sends out one of two strong messages to clients – either that you’re not keeping an eye on the market or handling volatility effectively, or that you don’t care about them.
Be the first one to make the call. You need to communicate the importance of long-term investing, in as calm and confident way as possible. And if your clients do call you first, make sure you return their calls pronto.
Make the decision to become an effective communicator
You don’t have to be born a great communicator. Effective communication skills can be learnt. But if you are to become accomplished at this particular skill, you’ll need to put in lots of hard work and lots of practice.
Get back to the basics of communication
When sitting face-to-face, remember the basics: Maintain good eye contact and speak clearly at a level your clients will understand. Don’t use technical jargon. Keep things as simple as possible – don’t use two words when one will suffice.
Once you said your piece ask if your listeners understood you correctly – what they hear may not be the same as what you’re saying. If clients look glazed over, try again.
There’s more to good communication skills than simply talking at someone. Listen more than you talk. Only by listening intently to your clients will you get to the bottom of what they really want. Plus, people find it flattering when people want to listen to them.
Before you bombard clients with information ask them how they would like to communicate with you – and how often – then you won’t end up sending them emails or calling them unnecessarily.
Tell stories and use analogies to make the unfamiliar familiar. Analogies are a good way to communicate the nature of market volatility while vision stories are great at communicating the rewards of investing.
If you make clear effective communication with your clients a priority, you’re at far less risk of losing clients. If you haven’t already done it, develop a communication strategy that involves you calling and contacting clients on a regular basis. And take time out to practice your communication skills, so you get your messages across effectively.
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