If your client was asked by their best friend who they should use as a financial advisor, would this be your client’s answer?
“I don’t know exactly what my advisor does, when they will call me next, and they handle 37% of my wealth so you should definitely call them to help you”
Well, that probably isn’t the answer you hope they give. And while you think you know what your clients say about you, do you really know?
Before we tackle that answer, let’s roll back the clock. Since 2000, and in a quicker manner than most predicted, we have turned into a “I want it faster and to access it more easily society”. This applies not only to financial services but our entire economy. Whether “swipe to place your order” functionality on Amazon, a touch screen kiosk at Panera or airline boarding passes on our phone, not on paper, this is the new normal. The combination of technological price deflation and human behavior have morphed our world from making a living recommending a 60/40 stock & bond allocation to having to prove we, the financial advisor, still add value.
But hope is not lost. While Toy’s R Us has gone bankrupt leaving us in a Goeffrey the Giraffe free universe, the Build a Bears of the world continue to thrive.
Experiential is the exception to commoditization.
And let’s be honest, many financial advisor office models don’t vary much from that of a physician. Other than not having a co-pay, the client arrives, says hello to the receptionist, waits in reception, gets brought back to another room to wait and then spends time with the advisor. Is this really the best we as an industry can do?
No, it is absolutely not!
- Always call your client the day before to confirm an appointment. The client should know the time, location, get directions if needed, be told where to park (and how to get their parking validated if appropriate).
- Ideally your office staff would make the call. And as realtors saying the best bang for the buck in increasing your house’s value is a gallon of paint, we believe capable administrative personnel are the best bang for the buck in growing your business.
- If this is a new client, find out their favorite magazine/newspaper, drink and snack.
- Upon arrival in your office your staff should greet your client(s) by name. If the client has to say their name to your staff, you lost an opportunity.
- When your client takes a seat in reception, they will see their favorite magazine/newspaper in front of them with their first name on a label on the cover. They will see you took an extra step for them.
- You should greet your clients in reception. Yes, you (let’s not replicate the doctor’s office experience). And as you approach them, pause a few feet away. Say your initial welcome at a short distance. This gives your clients the opportunity to stand up first rather than awkwardly shake hands while you stand and they are seated.
- As you and your clients enter your office/conference room seat your clients where they aren’t going to see distractions and people walking by in the hall. The client should be focused on you and vice versa.
- Since you have previously asked about your clients favorite beverage and snack, these items should already be in the room or brought in by your staff within the first few minutes.
- To display client information, a wall mounted flat screen TV (minimum 40”) is the best option. The use of i-pads and laptops can be difficult to view and require awkward neck strains between wife and husband. Also make sure that others cannot see the TV from outside the room as clients may not believe you value their privacy.
- Audits! If you do annual reviews consider changing your vernacular to annual audit. This implies a more serious client discussion will be taking place and will set the stage for you to have a more probative and successful client meeting.
So as your clients sit comfortably with you, having their favorite beverage in hand, munching on their favorite snack, having just flipped through their favorite magazine you have just succeeded in beginning to make your client experience an experiential one. A giant goal has been accomplished, you have differentiated yourself.
The Hanlon sales team has exceptional asset management offerings and ideas to provide our advisors about how to execute on the client experience – from portfolio construction to winning new business, call us for a customized client experience discussion specific to your practice.
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