Differentiating your engagement style for different clients

By Ryan Smith on August 9, 2018

Tailor your approach for greater success.

Could your approach be alienating potential clients or stopping you from building long-term relationships?

As low-cost robo-advisory platforms and increasing numbers of financial advisers and brokers threaten your client base, the ways through which you provide a service and connect with clients are just as important as the service itself. So, how can you adapt your style to ensure happy, healthy relationships, repeat business and referrals?

Get to know your clients early on

Your first interactions will establish the relationship and roles that you will play going forward. This is the time to focus on getting to know your clients and building trust and rapport. Do not rush or underestimate their importance. Hear what they have to say and how they say it before adapting your approach to match.

Make sure that what you learn from these initial meetings carries through to all your subsequent interactions. Most clients will fall into one of three subtypes, which we explore below.

How to have a conversation

Open individuals love back-and-forth interaction and discussion. You will notice their enthusiasm for exploring and researching topics, so ensure that you openly engage with them throughout the process.

Closed individuals prefer to cut to the chase and use data to drive to the bottom line. They may steer conversations themselves, focusing on completing talks and establishing end objectives. Be organised, prepared and efficient to impress this group.

The third group can appear unfocused, difficult to pin down and lacking in urgency. Be ready to lead the way and keep on track without making them feel rushed.

Identify the values important to clients

Open individuals will enjoy exploring new ideas, so make sure that you bring plenty of options to the table. These clients will feel satisfied that they have covered all the bases and have the freedom to find the best path.

Closed individuals may not care much for the process and exchange of information. Prepare an efficient, well-planned and results-led course of action that focuses on the bottom line.

The third group will value creativity and individuality. Treat them as unique individuals and offer solutions and interactions that excite them and make them feel engaged.

Making decisions

Open individuals will want to feel as though they have had the opportunity to gather data, have a meaningful discussion and carefully explore ideas from different sources. Help them weigh their options and arrive at decisions only after careful deliberation.

Closed individuals can be very black-and-white about their options, so don’t worry if they are dismissive of your ideas. Instead, guide them towards the best path and be prepared to quickly pursue the right choice with little fanfare or fuss.

The third group may have trouble making decisions, especially when presented with many options and choices to make. As an advisor, use your knowledge to try and provide the best solution in relatable terms. Offer a well-organised structure to help them focus before making a collaborative decision.

Treat your clients as individuals throughout the entire process. Adapting your style will help ensure that they do not take their business elsewhere, and better yet, they may bring more business to your door.

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