When you’ve done the hard work involved in marketing, collating leads, turning them into prospects and eventually converting them into sales – the story does not end here.
As a professional offering money advice and planning services, you’ll know only too well the challenges that you face in generating new business. The fact that it is even harder to keep clients and take them further along your sales funnel means that you need to be armed with all the information you can gather.
Studies show that satisfied customers are actually the ones who have frequent contact with their advisers and that this is a two-way street that helps cement and grow relationships based on trust. When you can fully engage a client, it not only means that you have a high customer satisfaction level but it also helps you drive your business growth.
How do you go about the task of achieving greater engagement with your clients? Here are four top tips that a financial adviser can use to make this happen.
1. Brand management
As part of your marketing, you will have already thought long and hard about how you present your business to the world. Today, this encompasses a myriad of different elements that essentially come under the umbrella of branding. An individual can be a “brand” as much as a multinational corporation can, because the essential factors are the same in all cases.
Every brand should have the basics, such as a logo. However, beyond these things, the ethos of branding is all about getting across the essence of who you are and what you do. This can be built in incremental stages, and by doing so, you can actually help build trust while you are engaging with your clients.
A strong brand is defined and consistent, but today it must also have a positive and active online presence. Although the most important aspect of this will always be your own home website, which will act as a central “hub” for clients and work in many ways for you, it’s inevitable that you must also work with social media networks in some capacity.
Using social media effectively really isn’t that difficult – the clue is in the name. You simply have to get social, and although this can be time consuming, it can also pay dividends.
2. Client experience
Obviously, the whole nature of engagement with your customers is based on their experiences in their dealings with you. Interacting through whatever medium allows you to reinforce your branding objectives and also do your actual work, which when push comes to shove is the most important factor.
There are now many ways that you can actually engage, including:
Online through your website
Using social media
By physical letter
The first, a real-world interaction with a client, is something that doesn’t necessarily have to take place nowadays. However, when people are asking themselves how to find a good financial adviser, a face-to-face meeting can often be high on their agenda, even if it is only a one-off or a rare occurrence.
Although some professionals can get by with a fully “virtual” persona and work strictly remotely and digitally, if you want to optimise your chances of turning a prospect into a client, then you need to accommodate personal meetings. For a larger organisation, this might mean making sure that a branch network conforms to standards and is consistent in approach, but for a smaller firm or individual, it can simply mean having a well-presented and conveniently placed office.
In other ways, the level of client experience will rest heavily on the ways that you carry out communications. Getting back to questions and queries promptly is always good business sense. Ensure that all avenues are open means that clients can contact you via the method they prefer, not the one that is most convenient for you.
3. Relationship management
Developing close personal relationships is an essential part of the business of building trust. Of course, this doesn’t just mean with your own clients, but it also applies to other professionals and service providers that might offer good mutual B2B referral opportunities.
To maximise your relationships, you need to make sure that you are certified by relevant organisations and trade bodies where needed. Having a level of community involvement, whether online or offline, can also be a valid and effective way of helping to manage relationships.
However, by far the best way to build relationships with new clients and manage the ongoing development with existing ones is to identify what you can offer them moving forward, and have a system in place that doubles down on this. Regular email shots are one of the most simple and straightforward ways of putting this into practice, especially if you use a marketing approach such as the DRIP method or similar.
4. Client advocacy
Referrals are the best way to get new business, and the best type of referral is word of mouth. This means that your relationships with your existing clients can also be your strongest marketing tool and biggest asset. Happy clients can become great advocates, and high-worth individuals can be particularly useful in this regard.
By targeting highly satisfied clients, whatever their worth, you can begin the process of helping them to help you. Obviously, acting at the right time is a key element of success here – there’s no point in asking a new client who you hardly know to start putting the word out for you – but by the same token, a successful outcome might mean that it’s opportune to ask a client for a referral.
Knowing how to have the right conversation here is essential to the success of the approach, so asking someone to let people know how you helped them is far better than suggesting that they say how reasonable your fees are.
Any tips for achieving better client engagement can never provide a “one size fits all” solution – it’s up to you to take the ideas and apply them to your own unique circumstances. However, if you practise client engagement by using these four concepts, you will improve your relationships with your clients, making them more likely to recommend your services and use them again.
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