February 1st, 2017
Understanding how to cultivate strong customer relationships is the key to success, especially for those in advisory roles. Research has proven that established clients cost less to service and refer new clients more often, without you incurring additional costs. Focusing on nurturing existing client relationships, looking after your existing client base and nurturing your trail book, can all support business growth in ways you might not have thought about before.
Here are some of the ways you can nurture your client base to build stronger and more rewarding client relationships.
1. Build trust
Trust is essential to any long-term client relationship. While building trust is a straightforward process involving the management of expectations, effective communication and delivering on what you promise, it can often take time for clients to truly trust their advisors.
Consistency over time and timely updates are vital components of a trusting client-advisor relationship. The goal is to set the foundation for client interactions where the client feels comfortable enough to be open about their goals and trusts you to work for them to the best of your ability.
2. Personalise interactions
Another way to nurture your client relationships is to personalise your interactions. You can do this in a number of ways. For example, you can build rapport by sharing some personal details or experiences that are relevant to your advice. If a client has come by way of referral, remember to use the person that referred them as common ground to start with.
If you have used the Questionnaire function in Mercury before you meet with your clients, you will also know a whole lot about them. This allows you to ask them more meaningful questions and discover their future plans. These small things can allow your clients to see you as a person as well as an advisor, making your interactions more personalised and deepening your connection.
To easily navigate your relationships with clients, having access to the best management tools is essential. Our Mercury software has been proven to strengthen a broker’s ability to deliver strong results for their clients. Why not try a free demo today to see for yourself?
3. Provide strategic advice
The greatest way to add value for your clients is to provide strategic, actionable advice that goes beyond the most obvious solutions and empowers your clients to realise their goals. Whether it’s saving more money on products, finding the best package, or offering insights about changing laws that can impact the client’s financial position, strategic advice shows clients that you deliver true value and helps you nurture long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
At the end of the day, it’s about delighting your clients. If you provide them with real assistance that helps them achieve their financial goals and more, they will become advocates which could lead to referrals down the track.
4. Be consistent
Consistency is another critical element of successful client relationships. Any trusting relationship between client and advisor is based on you doing what you say you are going to do, when you promise to do it. Updates and timely communication allows you to set realistic client expectations if things don’t go completely as expected.
Connective’s Mercury software allows brokers to manage their workflow more efficiently. By using the system to maximise opportunities and keep track of tasks, you can maximise your workflow to consistently achieve desirable results for your clients. If you deliver what you say you will, clients will trust you more and more over time. But remember, consistency also means being realistic about what you can and cannot deliver. Always show your clients that you’re doing everything you can, which is no less than what your competitors might be able to do.
5. Recognise it takes time
As an advisor, you need time and patience to build rapport with your client. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the first week, first month, or first few months of engaging a new client. Tell them upfront how long it takes you to verify their ID, to confirm preliminary approval from a lender, to gets docs signed. If you are open and honest from the outset about how long things take, the client will feel confident that you know what you are doing and are delivering on what you set out to.
Clients may not trust you until your third or fourth interaction, or maybe even longer. As long as you are focused on delivering consistently and offering a real solution to their needs, your clients will begin to see that you are working in their best interests, which allows you to build a fruitful relationship.
6. Be inclusive
Whether you are working on your own or as part of a team, there might be other people you know that your client could benefit from connecting with. Think broadly and inclusively to include any other partners or team members who could enhance results for your clients. By being inclusive and working with other partners or team members to support the client relationship, you are more likely to deliver quality results for your clients.
7. Show you are accountable
Another proven way to gain your client’s confidence is to own their outcomes. Show that you are acting in their best interests and are fully accountable for results, outcomes and impacts on their interests. Manage expectations, be realistic about the possibilities and always communicate to the client that you will deliver as you say you will. If you encounter any setbacks, update the client immediately and continue managing their expectations in a clear, open manner.
8. Focus on quality
In every aspect of your client relationships – from keeping in touch and delivering results – focus on quality rather than standardised processes and short-term outcomes for your business. By focusing on delivering quality and personalisation over the long term and in your everyday client interactions, you are more likely to fulfil client expectations, avoid useless interactions and foster meaningful interactions.
A focus on quality requires that you understand what your client is looking for, whether it’s what they expect from your first meeting, over the next six months, or over the long term. Make a point of asking them what they want on a regular basis and go the extra mile in sourcing the best options for them. Understand your client’s needs in the context of their background and always get back to them quickly. Check in with them on a regular basis and ask them whether you are fully meeting their expectations, so you have accurate, clear feedback on how you can further improve your services.
Connective supports its members in nurturing effective, profitable client relationships in a variety of different ways. For difficult clients and scenarios, you can rely on the experience of our expert Broker Support Managers to suggest appropriate techniques and solutions. You can also rely on a highly effective, broker specialised IT Platform to support effective communications and an industry leading professional development program to constantly help them improve their skills. To find out more about how Connective can help you foster more profitable client relationships, just click here. If you’re already a member, have a chat with your local Broker Support Manager today.