For three years running, we’ve found that client relationships with a social component produce two to three times the referrals and introductions as purely business relationships. If you’re newer, remember, this concept applies whether you have three clients or three hundred. You want each of them to send you more business, right?
There is a pretty startling disconnect in the advisor/client relationship; 29% of the affluent claim a social relationship with their advisor, while 74% of advisors claim a social relationship with their clients. Part of the issue lies in advisors thinking that a little small talk in meetings is enough to warrant this “social” classification. Think again!
If you’re at all questioning where you stand, use our Relationship Index to gauge your relationship with a few key clients.
Affluent Client Relationship Index
(4 – strongly agree, 3 – mildly agree, 2 – mildly disagree, 1- strongly disagree)
Note: If you know the names of all the children, circle 4, if know some but not all, circle 3, if you’re not sure, circle 2, and if you don’t know any of their names, circle 1.
1. I know the names, ages, and interests of each child in the family.
2. I have invited my client to dinner at my home over the past 12 months.
3. I have socialized with my client (both spouses) over the past 12 months.
4. I know the names of my clients’ pets.
5. I know my client’s charitable interests.
6. My client knows my charitable interests.
7. I’ve exchanged a friendly hug with my client.
8. My client knows the names of my children.
9. I interact with my client on social networks.
10. My client has invited me to a social event over the past 12 months.
40 – 36 Excellent!
You have a strong personal relationship with your affluent clients. These clients are likely to be loyal advocates. Continue the good work and make certain that you are uncovering names of family members, colleagues, and friends to whom you can ask for a personal introduction. You will get introduced.
35 – 30 Good work
With a little effort, you can transform your affluent client relationships into true loyal advocates. Select a couple of areas to work on and you are likely to see immediate results.
29 – 25 Average
Let’s face it, nobody like being average so make it a priority to improve your scoring into at least the “Good” category. Use this Relationship Index as an agenda item at every team meeting. Make it a commitment and your score will improve.
< 24 Poor
You’ve got to change your thinking. Today’s affluent want more than simply a business relationship with their primary advisor. Since they want their primary advisor to oversee the totality of their family’s financial affairs, it makes sense that they want their advisor to know their family on a personal level. There is a lot of work ahead of you. It’s work that involves mixing business with pleasure.
If you didn’t score as highly as you’d like, use this assessment as a guide to getting better. Learn those childrens’ names, find out their hobbies and passions, and connect with them online. All of this happens one relationship at a time, over time.
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com