One constant within the financial services industry is the care and concern advisers and financial planners have for their clients and this won’t change as we move into the future.
Although technology advancements can certainly help us improve our relationship with clients, care and concern cannot be outsourced to technology.
What You Can Start Doing Today to Prepare for the Future
I’m often surprised at how little personal information advisers know about their clients beyond financial goals, time horizons and risk tolerance. You may know which clients golf or enjoy traveling, but do you know which charitable or civic organizations they support and why, which sports team they cheer for, or what unique skill or talent they possess? Do you know about how and where they grew up, why they chose a particular career, or how they met their spouse?
Some of you reading this will say, “Yes, I know the answers to these questions.” For the rest, consider starting a campaign to get to know your clients on a deeper, more personal level. Be inquisitive.
Technology Can Help
Each time you meet with or speak with a client, make it a point to learn something new about them. Then use technology to keep track of the information and, if appropriate, set reminders for yourself to reach out to clients regarding important events or milestones happening in their lives. By starting to gather information and keeping track of it now, you will be in a position to use this information in the future to deepen relationships by “remembering” important facts about clients.
How surprising is it to a client when they receive a gift card for their favorite restaurant as a thank you for a referral?
“How did you know I love this restaurant?” They’ll say
“I remember you mentioning it once.” You respond.
“Wow…what a good memory!” They’ll reply.
How fun would it be to put on an event for a small group of clients with a similar interest uncovered during this personal data gathering campaign? Using technology to track interests allows you to capture the data necessary to link clients with similar interests.
Where I see the biggest opportunity with technology is in virtual reality. Advisers are often challenged in getting clients to implement the advice they are being provided. Imagine being able to show a client—who you are encouraging save more for retirement—a virtual reality session illustrating what the client will look like 20, 30 or even 40 years in the future. This could be just what the client needs to see to make them want to save more for retirement.
Virtual reality could also illustrate what a week in retirement might look like. Instead of just having a graph showing assets increasing (or not) through retirement years, virtual reality could show clients what a financially successful retirement could actually look like—comparing time spent in Italy, if that is on their bucket list, to time spent in the back yard. Not that spending time in the back yard is bad.
What Hasn’t Changed
I know this information isn’t earth shattering or new, but it’s a good reminder to keep the client relationship front and center. As the old adage goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” As much as things will change, I firmly believe the essence of this statement will not.
The bottom line is this: when clients feel we have a clear understanding of their fears and desires, provide recommendations that are in alignment with these fears and desires and know them and care for them as we do our own family, unforeseen changes in the future won’t derail the adviser/client relationship.
How I Plan to Support Your Efforts
As the client experience coach in the FPA Coaches Corner, my goal is to help you improve the service you provide and the relationship you have with your clients. I will share tips and ideas for deepening relationships as well as improving your client service. Stay tuned!
Teresa Riccobuono is a practice management and recruiting specialist for the financial services industry, helping financial professionals envision and then develop their ideal financial planning practice. Understanding that great ideas are of little value if unimplemented, Riccobuono works side-by-side with her clients to be sure ideas are implemented.
Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the FPA Coaches Corner whitepaper, “Action 2020: Create Business Success for Today and Tomorrow.” Download the whitepaper today.