Go deep to build client engagement

Practice Management

Go deep to build client engagement

As services become commoditized, advisors are focusing more on the relationship

Back in 2001, consulting firm CEG Worldwide did a study with successful advisors asking whether they were focusing more on investment performance with clients or the relationship they had with them. About 80% to 90% responded that the focus was on performance. Ten years later, they asked the question again and this time 80% to 90% responded that the focus was now on the relationship. Why the dramatic shift?

More and more advisors are citing the commoditization of many services they provide. And the proliferation of online trading firms, free research and analysis websites, and robo-advisors means the remaining differentiator for the financial advisor is the depth and quality of the relationships he or she has with clients. One of the best ways to build relationships is with deep discovery.

Many consultants recommend deep discovery as a way to effectively differentiate yourself, discover core client issues and create awareness of the “pain of inaction.” The other long-term benefit it provides is client engagement, which leads to sticky assets, higher wallet share and referrals. In a study done by Julie Littlechild of Advisor Impact, engaged clients were dramatically more likely to provide referrals than the other clients in the study.

The process for deep discovery varies from consultant to consultant, but basically it means you shift gears from being a presenter to being an active listener. It’s about having a process or checklist for asking questions that reveal core concerns and issues, emotional connections, and the cost or pain of inaction. No one takes action until the revealed pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of changing.

Even in these days of 50% divorce rates, more exotic retirement lifestyle desires, longer life expectancy and increased financial complexity, it’s not enough to sell a prospect on your exceptional process. Clients want and need someone who will take the time to “get them,” so they can have the confidence to consolidate assets and move forward with someone who will help them navigate the complex headwaters that lie ahead.

So go deeper with your clients, and take your relationships and your practice to a higher level. 

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