Being a financial advisor means that you have to develop an authentic relationship with your financial clients. Unlike other services where your interactions could be limited to one or two meetings, you will have to establish an ongoing rapport with your clients to ensure they are getting everything they need.
But are you doing enough to provide the best customer service? If you aren’t, then you could be sabotaging your own success. Because of the nature of this industry, people are not going to use an advisor who doesn’t seem to make them a priority and put their needs first.
Today we’re going to discuss the best way to add better customer service to your overall service experience. Making these simple changes can have a profound effect on the way you do business, and it can help you retain better clients and develop stronger relationships with them over time.
Become a Good Instructor
For the most part, your clients aren’t likely to be involved in the financial industry. They aren’t immersed in the stock market, portfolio builds, and financial jargon that we eat, sleep and breathe every day. As an advisor, it is crucial that you set your clients up to go into this experience with as much knowledge as they need to understand what you’re doing and the value it provides.
One of the first ways to improve your customer service is to learn how to break down core components of your services so that anyone can follow along. Don’t think of this as “dumbing” it down for your clients, but meeting them where they are. They are hiring you because they don’t want or need to understand the inner workings of each investment they make. They trust that you are the expert and will handle the details for them. While they don’t need to learn the language of finance, they should fully understand the service you’re providing. Your job is to streamline all the necessary information for them.
When you’re meeting with new prospects, having this ability to go over various details in simplified terms will endear you to them because you aren’t making things too complicated. Typically, when a customer is dissatisfied with an advisor, it’s either due to poor performance or a lack of understanding about why he or she is doing something.
Being a good teacher will not only let you make more of an impact on your clients, but it will make your entire partnership with the client easier. The more you can explain everything simply, the fewer questions your client will have and the more they will trust in your expertise.
Become a Good Listener
While much of your job will be to talk to your clients about their financial plan, you can’t underestimate the value of being a good listener as well. When clients feel like they’re being heard and understood, they have a stronger connection to you and your business.
However, developing this skill can take some finesse. There’s more to it than just keeping your mouth shut and letting your client do the talking. It’s also about guiding the conversation and making sure that you get all of the information you need.
For example, you may have a client who isn’t asking a lot of questions because he or she doesn’t want to look foolish. Part of being a good listener is anticipating any hang-ups that may occur and encouraging your client to speak up. Even if he or she says that it’s all good, you have to learn when that’s really the case or if they’re just afraid to ask more.
Build Trust Quickly
Financial advisors have to be trustworthy people. If you want your clients to put their money in your hands, you have to earn it first. But how can you build a sense of trust with someone you’re meeting for the first time?
First, you can share stories of other clients you’ve helped and how you were able to meet their needs. Ideally, the situations will be identical so that your new customer will have more of a connection to the story.
Second, you can build a connection with your client. This is where being a good listener comes into play. Ask your customers about their lives and their goals for the future. Don’t keep it all about business – make it personal. This is a personal business after all. When you show genuine investment in their needs and desires, they are much more likely to trust that you have them in mind.
Third, be open and honest. If most of your interaction feels like a sales pitch, it will diminish any rapport you’re trying to create. And if a client doesn’t feel like the right fit, be honest about that as well. The more open you are about the process, the more likely a customer will be willing to trust you.
Finally, follow through. If you say you’re going to call a client at a specific time, do it. Even if you get sidetracked by something else, you can take a moment to let them know that you’ll have to reschedule. If you don’t stay true to your word, then any trust you’ve built will dry up remarkably fast.
It doesn’t hurt to mention here that you are building a strong trusting relationship with each client so that they are happy and choose to remain a client for a long time, but in addition to that, these clients… the ones you’ve built this deep level of trust with – will be your best source of referrals.
When you’re able to create a rewarding and enriching customer experience, you can have a lot more success with your clients. When they believe in you, nothing is out of reach. In fact, when they trust you and feel connected to you, the value you offer is so much more than just a dollar amount. They are willing to stick with you no matter what.
If you’d like more information on how we support our advisors and partners in building authentic relationships and nurturing their clients, reach out to us here.
*Opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.