Published in Risk Adviser 5 July 2017.
Invest in what is important to clients and nurture your relationship with them, and you will make the right moves towards meeting their expectations.
As we know, the client should be at the centre of all we do, regardless of our role. How we define the client is important. It’s also important whether we gauge our own success by giving the client what they want or give them what we think they want.
To put the client at the centre of everything you do, it’s important to remember that initial interviews work both ways.
During the first meeting, you are interviewing your clients and they are interviewing you. It’s important to understand all the things that clients are interviewing you about. Of course, the interview doesn’t end with this first meeting.
Integral to the next meeting is how well you have listened to what they want and what they are likely to want.
I’ve been matching friends and colleagues with financial advisers for some time now. To a great extent, this is already part of the interview process. It’s also a blind date, set up by a friend. There is a recommendation, but there is still a need for further interviews.
The following has been drawn from personal experience and from the experience of my friends. These are the things your client is looking at and judging you on in the first interview.
- How was the appointment organised? Whether by phone, in person or via email, clients will take into consideration what the initial contact was like. Did the pre-appointment conversation give the client a brief on what you needed from them – the time, length of the meeting, what you would be covering, the cost and the potential next steps?
- The meeting place – Is it conveniently located, is there parking, easy to get to? Is it well-appointed and comfortable? All these factors could affect how potential clients may perceive you and your business.
- How is your team? Is your team friendly, happy and at the level you’d expect from a professional financial advice office? Do they seem engaged in the business and would your clients be happy to see them every time they come and see you?
- Now it’s over to you. Are you equally attentive to your clients, especially when they are a couple? Are you not just hearing, but also listening to them? Can you see a natural fit for them with you and your business? If not, you may choose to consider how this working relationship will operate in future and if they would be better supported by someone else.
When you finish the appointment, are you and your client clear on next steps?
Remember that the client is at the centre of all that you do. Invest in what is important to them and nurture your relationship with them. And always make sure you are making the right moves towards meeting their expectations.
Julia Newbould, Stella Network Leader, BT Financial Group