Are your clients talking about how great you are (Here’s how to make it happen) | FP Advance

Are your clients talking about how great you are (Here’s how to make it happen)

BY brett

For most financial planning firms, the vast majority of their time is spent on servicing existing clients. 

Much of that time is spent preparing for and delivering client reviews; or ongoing planning meetings, as some people prefer to call them. 

Your ongoing planning meeting is the engine-room that delivers client satisfaction, that determines many of the processes within your firm, and allows your business to create long term value.

And it’s the part of your service you want your clients to be talking about to their friends, family and work colleagues. So, it better be good, and it better add value.

What do clients think?

There’s an Aussie company I partnered with a good few years ago now, called Business Health. They run a global client survey that’s asked more than 60,000 clients all over the world, what they thought about their adviser. 

They’ve conducted this survey in all of the developed financial planning markets; places like the US, the UK, Australia, Singapore, and South Africa. 

The most interesting statistic for me was this one:

Clients rated the idea of an ongoing review with their adviser as basically 11 out of 10. They liked it a lot.

However, what they actually received from their adviser at review time, they rated only 3 out of 10. 

So why the discrepancy?

Basically, advisers spend too much time talking about investments. 

Most clients don’t say anything to you when you do that, but most of the time they haven’t got a clue what you’re on about. 

So what makes an amazing client review service?

Only two things: 

  1. Show me that everything is going to be alright. And naturally, if it’s not going to be alright, tell me what to do about it.
  2. Politely remind me what you’ve done for me lately.

 That’s it.

Let me be very, very clear. The first point; show me that everything’s going to be alright, is more important by a factor of 10.
 
If all you did at your review meetings was show people that everything’s going to be alright and left, they’d think you were fabulous, and you’d have a great and thriving business. 
 
So you have to get this one right in my opinion, and it’s not very hard to do. Using a cashflow model skillfully is the key to that. 


The second point; politely remind me what you’ve done for me lately, is more important for you.

Why?

Because you want to be reminding people in a polite and gentle way what you’re doing for them, and how much value it adds. 

And most importantly, you need to be doing this in all of the good years, where clients are already happy with you. 

If you wait until there’s been a market crash, or there have been three years on the trot of negative investment performance and clients are on the offensive with you about how much you charge, bringing out how much value you’ve added will just seem like you’re defending the indefensible. 

Don’t wait until times are tough to let clients know how good you are and how valuable your service is. 

For me, this is the icing on the cake. 

So, although our first point is super important, I think this second part is the bit that takes you from ‘good’ to ‘amazing’ in the eyes of the client. 

We’re trying to show the client how we’ve added value to them during the course of our relationship.


So my first question is, “What is value” in the eyes of the client?

As I said when we looked at point one; “Show me that everything’s going to be alright,” this is the highest value thing you do for clients. And when you do successfully show me that everything’s going to be alright, what are you delivering?

That’s right. It’s ‘peace of mind’ or ‘certainty’ or ‘clarity’, or some other hugely valuable emotional outcome for the client. That’s why I say it’s more valuable by a factor of 10. It’s the big stuff. 

However, It’s also a tricky one to hang your hat on with some clients in some situations.

Sometimes it takes a bit of time for clients to get to feeling that peace of mind. Maybe we can create it with some people very early in the relationship, like after a couple of initial meetings. However, with other clients, we might be working with them for 2 or 3 years before they feel that peace of mind like I want them to feel it.  Sometimes it’s a slower burn.

And let’s be honest, it’s a big ask of people to trust us at that level. If it takes a new client some time to get there, I can sort of forgive them for that. I know I’m trustworthy. But they don’t. 


So what else might the client consider value?

In my view, the other area we add a ton of value is in strategies that generate a cash win for clients. And this one is much quicker and easier for clients to get their heads around.

For example, If I’m a client, and I’m paying you £5,000 per year for your advice, when you show me that a particular strategy you recommended saved me £10,000 of capital gains tax, I can get my head around that really quickly and easily.

I paid you £5,000. You made me £10,000. 

Ka-ching! 

That’s an easy to understand piece of value-added.

Or maybe you’ve set me up in an investment proposition that has lowered my annual costs by half a percent pa. If I’ve got £500,000 invested with you, that saves me £2,500 pa. 

Ka-ching!

Or maybe you’ve done some work on my estate plan and that will save my estate £400,000 on my death. 

Ka-ching! 

I’ve spoken about this idea of demonstrating your value in cash a lot over the years in my public presentations and my consulting work and some very good advisers that I’ve worked with have had a bit of a problem with this approach. I don’t mean they hate the idea, but they feel very strongly that it somehow demeans the truly high-value stuff that I’ve already alluded to; the peace of mind that advisers deliver.

I actually understand and respect that viewpoint. I really do.

But, I’m going to go into battle on behalf of the client here. 

Understanding all of that really high-value stuff is difficult and involves seriously high levels of trust. Understanding a quick cash calculation; that is, I paid you X and you earnt me Y, is much easier to understand; ESPECIALLY in the early stages of our relationship, where we’re still getting to know each other. 

2 or 3 years down the road, maybe that changes: (in fact I know it changes); although I’d STILL be showing my clients the value I’ve added in cash at every opportunity.


Conclusion

If you want to run an amazing review service that generates you more word-of-mouth referrals, then focus on doing only two things: 

  • Show me that everything is going to be alright. And naturally, if it’s not going to be alright, tell me what to do about it.
  • And politely remind me what you’ve done for me lately.

That’s it.

If you want more ideas on how to make your client review service more referrable check out this 30-minute webinar I did recently for the Personal Finance Society. It’s called Future Proof Your Client Review Service and it’s free to view. It’s also got a great freebie in it too that you can download.


“Money is one of the rewards you get for adding value to the lives of others.”

Paul Mckenna


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Don’t wait until times are tough to let clients know how good you are and how valuable your service is.


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ABOUT BRETT DAVIDSON

When you work with FP Advance you work with me, Brett Davidson, directly. My motto is ‘advise better, live better’ and I practice what I preach. I’m straight talking and get to the heart of an issue quickly. There’s no beating about the bush, just a focus on helping things improve. Ask my clients – what I teach works.