Fostering a great relationship with clients is perhaps the most important factor in the success of any business. Financial professionals who specialize in life insurance and retirement planning know this all too well. While they do all they can to gain and maintain the trust of consumers, navigating the sensitive topics inherent in these subjects can be very tricky. Take the time to explain complicated or difficult subjects in a way that keeps your relationship positive while maintaining clarity.
Financial professionals are fundamentally customer service specialists, and so need to keep some basic tenets of customer service in mind at all times. LifeHealthPro.com lists a few of the most essential rules to client interfacing to create and keep positive, productive relationships. They include:
- Managing complaints – Even if it’s not your fault, listen to customers who are unhappy with a product or service. Don’t take complaints personally, instead use them as clues for where to take the conversation next and how to better serve not only the unhappy client, but future consumers as well.
- Embrace your personality – There’s a reason callers endure lengthy hold times on customer service hotlines to speak with a human. Don’t be afraid to let your own style shine through. It will endear clients to you and make them feel more comfortable in seeking assistance.
- Aim for solutions – Don’t just focus on the problem for what it is, treat it as the beginning of a solution. Give meaningful deadlines to these solutions and stick to them. This will gain the trust of your clients.
One of the top phrases to avoid when working with a client on the phone is: “Let me look into that.” This doesn’t give the client an understandable deadline for a solution to their problem, leaving them feeling lost and probably reconsidering choosing your services. Instead, respond to tricky questions with a time-based objective. If you need to look into a matter, tell the client you’ll need to do some research and give a firm deadline on when they should expect a response.
Make it personal
Interacting with clients in a positive way has much to do with perception. Morningstar recommended looking at your role as something other than just a financial advisor – they suggest the term “life advisor.” When it comes down to it, you’re not just helping clients manage savings, retirement funds and insurance. These are all essential components to a healthy, happy life, and they are all built upon a life of spending and saving wisely. Morningstar suggested taking steps to show clients that they can trust you for more than just financial advice. Work to establish a relationship that goes beyond money, and pay attention to the details of their life.
Maybe they mention that their son or daughter is visiting them soon. That’s a good cue to suggest your favorite restaurant or concert venue they might enjoy together. Perhaps the client has a hobby or small business making and selling crafts of some kind. Take the time to forward them a few links to the latest design trends. These little tasks take only minutes but can show clients that you truly care about them beyond the business they provide.
Building a deeper personal relationship with clients will make future communication more positive and productive nine times out of ten. If your client has questions that require a little more expertise outside of your own – like a tax professional or lawyer – feel free to refer them to someone you trust. If your network of auxiliary experts is lacking, use that as an opportunity to meet new people and build even more great relationships.
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