I recently came across a conversation on LinkedIn discussing the best practices of sales, and I think a lot of what was discussed can also apply to client relationship management. The discussion kicked off with a note about the importance of listening carefully and asking lots of questions, two tactics that are central to what we teach financial advisors at The Covenant Group.
Essentially, the conversants agreed that it was a salesperson's duty to help their clients, not simply sell to them. Keeping the client's interest in mind and showing that you want the best for them will transform their perception of you from that of another salesperson into a trusted advisor. Sharing details about yourself in conversations can also allow clients to get to know you as a person, which can deepen the level of trust.
Whether you're sitting in the initial interview or catching up with a long-time client, give yourself enough time so you can listen and ask thoughtful questions rather than jumping right into the business purpose of the meeting. Build connections with the client, be they shared hobbies or mutual interests in a certain sport.
While it's important to maintain a professional tone in your relationship with clients, strive to be their friend and a source of help. Show them that you care about their overall well-being, not just their financial health. Be approachable. Emphasize the fact that clients should not hesitate to call you, and follow up on that promise by being available when they need you most.
Facilitating that closeness and trust can be a differentiating factor. The majority of clients want an advisor who will continue to give them just as much (if not more) attention in the years following a sale as they did in the marketing stage.
Anthony Lam has spent more than 20 years honing his customer relationship management skills. He has demonstrated his commitment to high-quality customer service in the retail, banking and airline industries. Anthony is the Manager of Program Delivery and Client Relationships at The Covenant Group and coaches financial advisors on client services through The Covenant Group’s financial services training.