Greensboro, NC: - “I feel like this is an easier replay of what we went through in 2008,” explained William, “Although it’s reassuring, I wasn’t expecting such a level of trust from our clients. A few were more nervous than others, but essentially they were telling us that ‘we’ve been down this path before and we trust your judgment.’ It’s strange how this crisis has become another bonanza for new clients, as my clients are introducing me into their centers-of-influence.”
William is an elite advisor by all our measurements (client loyalty, services provided, and client acquisition). Because he was proactive in communicating and meeting with clients in 2008, his job is far easier today. In simple terms, like most elite advisors, he excelled on two important fronts; client loyalty and client acquisition.
This crisis is an opportunity for every advisor to strengthen client loyalty and acquire affluent clients – to model elite advisors. This elite methodology revolves around being strategically proactive.
Elite Advisor Game Plan
- Strengthening Affluent Loyalty – The number one criteria for strengthening the loyalty of your affluent clients is solving a problem, communicating the resolution clearly, and making absolutely certain that they understand and are okay with the resolution. This is precisely what elite advisors have done back in 2008. This is what’s making William’s job that much easier today. Elite advisors calmed the psyche by proactively meeting with their top clients. Now their clients are less worried. You must take the worry out of the equation! This will not only strengthen the loyalty factor, but position you to offer a 2nd opinion or risk-audit for people in each client’s COI.
- Affluent Client Acquisition / aka Rainmaking -- A loyal affluent client will gladly allow you into his or her centers-of-influence if you help them help you by sourcing names. This is the ideal environment for acquiring new affluent clients. Affluent dissatisfaction is rampant - the market volatility and sub-prime debacle don’t want to go away. Our research tells us that the majority of affluent investors are dissatisfied enough to entertain having a 2nd opinion.
It’s times like this that separate elite advisors from the masses. The following will help you put into action modeling elite advisors in crisis:
- Be Proactive: This seems simple enough, but I’m always surprised by the number of advisors who don’t even do this with their top clients. Spooked affluent clients calling you are an indication that you’re not doing your job. Contact must be proactive! You’re simply re-enforcing the fact that you’re monitoring their financial situation. You can say something like, “Hi John, we’ve been closely monitoring your portfolio amidst all of this volatility – our focus is on achieving your objectives of _____ and ______.” From here you want to get face-to-face with every top client in a social context if possible. This is counter-intuitive, but people crave social interaction during challenging times.
- Be Prepared: Our research on the affluent revealed 16 statistically significant criteria the affluent use to select a financial coordinator. You want to make certain you’re meeting expectations on all professional fronts.
That said, you also need to be prepared to know about what’s going on within their family. The idea is to blend the personal with the professional. So, if your clients don’t have a formal financial plan, you put this on the agenda. If they have a daughter who is a budding freshman at Duke University, you’re prepared with a surprise and delight for the daughter and a conversation about college.
- Be face-to-face with affluent clients: Depending on what you discovered in your preparation step, you will want to proceed accordingly. If you’re meeting socially, be careful not to discuss much business, if any at all. Everything should revolve around something that’s important to them on a personal level (i.e. daughter attending Duke etc.).
If you happen to be meeting for business, create an agenda that covers the criteria that needs to be addressed. Remember, your role is to be the solutions provider for the multi-dimensional aspect of their financial affairs. That means you must be on point regarding their psyche and the solutions you’re providing. One without the other will not work in today’s environment.
Whether it’s a social or business face-to-face, you’re in what William refers to as a “natural Rainmaking opportunity” – which leads us to …
- Be Rainmaking: This environment has heightened the anxiety of your clients’ friends, colleagues, and family members. Many would welcome a “risk-audit” on their portfolio.
Your objective is to get a personal introduction and offer your services for a risk-audit (2nd opinion) almost as though you were offering a favor. You can be more assertive in this environment. When you uncover a name you can, dumb-like-a-fox, ask “Do you think Jack has had a risk-audit on his portfolio?”
William claims that he ratchets-up his assertiveness a good 50% in this environment. When asked why, he simply said “Because I know my value and I recognize the opportunity.”
Follow the above and you’re essentially modeling the actions of elite advisors in crisis; strengthening the loyalty of affluent clients and acquiring their friends, colleagues and family members as new clients. Be proactive -- this is your time!
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