Ask Abby, Marketing Maven

Asking the Client for Advice

Dear Abby,

I have heard time and time again that I should do a Client Advisory Board meeting.  I feel somewhat awkward with this.  Why should I be asking the people that I serve to turn around and serve me?  It feels somewhat unnatural and I am not comfortable with the idea, and yet I know other advisors do them successfully.  Can you comment on this?

Michael, Baltimore, MD

Dear Michael,

I can understand your concern, but it is somewhat unwarranted.  People, in general, LOVE to be asked to be on a “board”.  It feels like an honor.  If you position the request in a way that you are flattering them while asking them to be on the board, they will feel really good about it and will want to help.

We script that initial conversation for many of our advisors.  We often tell them to start by explaining the purpose of the board; to solicit valuable feedback about your business from people that you respect and admire.  The fact you are willing to discuss intimate details of your business with them and really desire to get their honest feedback, will position this as an honorable position rather than a burden to the client.

Every board meeting I have participated in has been successful.  The key is to have a real agenda, talk about real business issues and always bring up the topic of how you can grow your practice.  This last subject will get them very engaged in wanting to help you grow and always translates into new business for the advisor.

It’s important to take the time to prepare for the board meeting.  It should not be a client appreciation event, but rather a working session.  Board members should also be rotated every other year so you get some new perspective and new referrals!

Give yourself six weeks to pull it all together.  Go for it!

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