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Joey Coleman on the First 100 Days Approach to Never Losing a Customer Again

Part Two in a series of podcasts from Brad Johnson.


Recently on the show I had the pleasure of speaking with Joey Coleman, CEO of Design Symphony, for over an hour. Joey gets hired by corporations like Zappos and Hyatt Hotels to assist them with their customer experience, so I couldn’t wait to ask Joey about the First 100 Days strategy, and how it could apply to financial services.

Need to Know: A Customer’s First 100 Days are Exponentially More Valuable

Joey says that the first 100 days in a client lifecycle are exponentially more important than the remainder of their days when it comes to customer retention and loyalty. In fact, if your clients reach the 101st day as a raving fan, stats show they will stay for a minimum of 5 years. That’s what I like to call an asymmetrical risk vs. reward ratio—invest heavily in your clients’ first 100 days, and at a minimum they’ll be with you for 1,825 days! (That’s a 1,725 percent ROI!)

Joey’s First 100 Days has been built around a couple interesting ideas:

  1. When someone becomes a customer, a clock starts ticking that determines what type of experience they’re going to have. Anywhere from 20 to 70 percent of your customers who are newly acquired will stop doing additional business with you before they reach their 100-day anniversary.
  2. If a firm thinks it’s okay to keep their customers in the minutiae of completing paperwork, funding accounts, and other frustrating tasks during the first 100 Days, their customers will not refer people, and they will look for other options down the road. (Who wants to refer their friends in to repeat their own painful experience?)

Listen to Joey Explain it Here:

The cold, hard truth is that if you don’t get the experience right in the first 100 Days, you’re in trouble. But if you DO get the first 100 days right, they will stay a customer for at least half a decade.

Let’s be honest: Many financial advisors focus their time on sales and marketing—how will the funnel be filled? How are we going to bring in customers? How are we going to convince them that they want to work with us?

Once a visitor becomes a client, firms pass them along to some of the lowest-paid employees, with little or no training in customer experience.

Does this send a positive message to the customer? Do they feel taken care of and appreciated? 

Coleman says that you need to look at the first 100 days and make them remarkable. That is where the magic lies.

Okay, so what are some things that you can do to get the first 100 days right for your client?

Need to Do: Survey Your Six Methods of Communication

Joey breaks down the six ways to communicate with clients. All of them should be utilized in the first 100 days.

1. In Person

This does something dramatic for the client: it gives them a feeling that each team member has an equal level of importance, and defines their role for how they can best serve your clients.

Quick Intro Script Example: “Mr. and Mrs. Client, I’d like to introduce you to Joe, our Director of Client Services. As I’m sure you can understand, with me being the founder and responsible for overseeing the operations on a daily basis, I can’t be all things to everyone. I also pride myself on being completely present in meetings—you didn’t see me taking phone calls or checking emails, right? Well, first off, I’m always available to you if you’d like to schedule time in the future. However, Joe’s role is to act as a client concierge and serve you at the highest level possible. When day-to-day things come up … I don’t want you to have to wait around for me to finish an appointment—as I like to say, Joe’s here to create a Ritz Carlton type of experience, operated with FedEx efficiency.” 

2. Email

3. Physical Mail

4. Phone

5. Video

In your process, simple videos shot using a smartphone or webcam can be a great way to bridge the gap between appointments. Overly produced videos that look like an evening newscast lose the personal touch. A simple quick video addressed directly to the client is far more powerful! A tool like can be quite helpful in making this quick and easy to do.

6. Gifting

So many advisors get this wrong. Let’s think about some of the little “tokens of appreciation” you have received from a business … usually the gift has that company’s business logo and contact information on it, right? These “gifts” typically feel like we are receiving marketing materials rather than a real gift. Sometimes we see right through it, and other times we feel it subconsciously.

Instead, Joey Coleman tells of a time when he and his wife were given a high-end kitchen knife. On the knife was the inscription “Handcrafted for the Family of Joey and Berit Coleman.”

The key difference? Underneath the inscription was the logo for Joey’s business, Design Symphony. How could you use a similar strategy?

How to Get Started:

  1. Create a grid of all six communication channels Joey describes.
  2. In your client’s current first 100 days, how many of these are occurring? List them.
  3. Look to add at least one new “touch” in each category within the first 100 days. Brainstorm with your team and get creative!
  4. BONUS: Joey recently pitched the 100 Days concept to five different publishers, a bidding war ensued, and his new book will be published soon

If you want to learn more about how to turn new clients into raving fans, feel free to reach out to me, as we’ve had a number of clients do this creatively. Happy to share more examples!

Full show notes here:

Brad Johnson, vice president of advisor development for Advisors Excel, mentors a small group of the country’s most elite financial advisors. Find more episodes of The Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast at

TAGS: Marketing
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