Highly-satisfied clients are great. Emotionally connected clients are invaluable.
Like most successful advisors, you take pride in the relationships you've built with your clients. After all, keeping them satisfied is an important part of your job. However, you may be surprised to hear that clients who are "emotionally connected" are twice as valuable to you as your highly satisfied clients.* Bottom line, emotionally connected clients are more apt to follow your advice and even recommend you more often to others.
So how do you build upon a relationship that's already strong?
1. Less jargon. More plain speak.
Have you ever walked out of a doctor's office, scratching your head and wondering what was just said to you? Clients sometimes have the same reaction when it comes to financial jargon. Words matter. While that may be obvious, the next time you speak with a client, just pay attention to how often you use terms and expressions that are normally reserved for a colleague.
Instead of saying: Let's manage your longevity risks.
Try saying: Let's look at ways to make sure you have enough money to last the rest of your life.
Instead of saying: Do you want to combat inflations risks?
Try saying: Is affording your current lifestyle important to you in retirement?
2. Make listening an action step.
One of the keys to making a more emotional connection is your ability to listen closely. Start by asking more open-ended questions, such as, "How do you feel about retirement now that you're getting closer to entering retirement?"
You don't have to have fire back an answer right away. Instead, sit back and listen. Then rephrase what your clients have said in such a way that demonstrates you not only heard their words, but that you understood their concerns. Knowing that they have an advisor who puts a lot of thought into finding the right solution for their needs can go a long way in creating an emotional connection with clients.
3. Be authentic. Be positive. Be thoughtful.
Your clients appreciate working with an advisor like you, who is sympathetic, conscientious, and genuine. So, continue to look for ways that make it easy for them to learn more about who you are and understand how you approach their individual challenges.
Communicate openly about your rationales. Strive for transparency. And never underestimate the power of sending a birthday card or a personal note every now then.
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*Alan Zorfas and Daniel Leemon, "An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction," Harvard Business Review, August 29, 2016.
Lincoln Financial Group® affiliates, their distributors, and their respective employees, representatives, and/or insurance agents do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. Please consult an independent advisor as to any tax, accounting, or legal statements made herein.
About the author
For more than 22 years, Christopher H. Price, JD, LLM, CLU®, ChFC®, AVP, Advanced Sales, Lincoln Financial Distributors, has helped advisors and their clients accumulate, distribute and transfer annuity assets by using a holistic approach. In 1983, he began his career as a trust officer with Sovran Bank (now Bank of America). Chris moved into financial planning, and followed that by managing an insurance agency that served some of the wealthiest families in the country. In 1994, Chris joined Delaware Investments, formerly a member of Lincoln Financial Group, where he was responsible for the product management of Delaware mutual funds and eventually Lincoln variable annuities. From 2000 to 2004, Chris used his expertise to help financial advisors and their clients with advanced case issues. In 2005, he transitioned to the Lincoln Advanced Sales team. Chris holds a BA in history from Vassar College, and law and master’s degrees from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary.