Your clients deserve to feel special!
In a world where emails and text messages can be overwhelming, sometimes it’s nice to get a handwritten card. At a time when your firm and strategic partners may be practicing “mass customization”, a personal letter can be a door opener. In an environment where even your most loyal clients are considering new advisors, personal communication tops the list of client retention strategies.
And a dose of old fashioned letter and note writing may be just the right remedy:
- When is the last time you wrote your clients a personal letter that wasn’t filled with market statistics or somebody else’s words?
- In the past few months have you penned a handwritten thank you note or birthday greeting?
Handwritten notes stand out; the extra attention creates a bond of loyalty. Think of the birthday cards you receive (or don’t) from businesses and other professionals with whom you do business. There is a big difference between the cards that are signed by “Your Fiends at XYZ Company” and the ones that comes with a handwritten comment (even if the handwriting is hard to read). In both cases, the intentions are appreciated, but the second card is more memorable.
In some cases, your personal attention will also counter the “mass customization” practiced by your firm and strategic partners. Your clients are tired of phony personalization. They see right through communications that begin “dear valued client” or pretend to offer “important information about your account”. Only to be followed by meaningless market news, empty thanks for their loyalty or offers of a new product or service.
Let me repeat, your clients deserve to feel special!
Yesterday, I read an article in Investment News in which a consultant predicted that 20 to 30 percent of clients will leave their advisors. It won’t happen all at once. But wealthy clients are shopping; they’re taking a wait and see attitude with their current advisors. And the level of personal communication you bring to your relationships will be paramount to your success in retaining your clients.
Does this sound like a difficult challenge? It may be. Changing your client communication routines can disrupt your everyday routines. You may have to break habits you’ve been practicing for years.
But you must remember that you’re in the relationship business. Personal attention is NOT an unrealistic expectation. It may take some extra time and effort, but the payoff is huge. You end up with a book filled with happy clients who are willing to give you all of their business and promote you frequently to their friends.
Let me offer some concrete ideas to get you started:
- Create a routine for sending your best clients a personal note, card or letter at least once per quarter. (See chapter 8 of “Delivering the Ultimate Client Experience”) When you consider birthdays, holidays and other special events, some of your efforts to provide personal attention may already be a part of your practice. You may only need to decide how many “other” personal touches you would like to make via handwritten notes or personal letters each year.
- Write a short note on your regular monthly statements or quarterly performance reports. Most advisors have a system for reviewing electronic or paper statements. This review process represents an excellent opportunity for sending handwritten notes. You do NOT have to write a note to all of your clients in the same month; simply divide your ideal clients by the number of months you plan to undertake this process. For example, if you have 120 ideal clients and you spread this activity over 12 months, that’s only ten notes per month.
- Develop a system for calling your clients based on their importance to your practice. While on the surface, this approach may seem to require an inordinate number of phone calls; your focal point should be implementing the process, not the actual number of clients you contact on a monthly basis. Over time, the discipline of the process will have a dramatic effect on your practice. From business you uncover on your outgoing calls to clients calling back when they need investment help, you have all but guaranteed that you are their advisor of choice.
- Use the EncorePartners.com communication planning tool and our customizable letters to generate your personal client communication plan. EncorePartners.com is filled with communication tips which can easily be customized for your style of doing business. We add new ideas every month. Whether you’re making calls, writing notes or sending letters, you can use the ideas in our library to design your own client communication plan.