Know What Your Clients are Thinking Before It's TooLate

    02.08.18 03:19 PM Comment(s) By Scott Winters

    You have probably heard the saying, 
    “it’s a lot more work to get a new client than to keep the one you already have.” 

    One of the biggest mistakes that I see the average financial advisor making is not dedicating the proper attention and resources to keeping their clients happy. 


    Know Thy Client

    Do you really know your clients? I'm not talking about the superficial stuff like salary, net worth, etc. I am talking deeper here. Do you know their true preferences? Do you know how they are feeling before they ever voice their opinion? Do you know without a shadow of a doubt that they are 100% satisfied with your service? Do you survey your clients?


    Imagine a world where—gasp! !—corporate America doesn't survey their customers. Without constant and measured feedback how would our favorite brands understand the changing preferences of their user base? How would a CEO of a fortune 100 company know when their product or service is no longer competitive in time to adjust? How would the product design team figure out what to build and deliver to the market? How would the management team know if they are delivering on their company’s unique value proposition?


    Customer surveys are an essential tool in almost every facet of business success. Without this important voice, the operators of American business would certainly fail to live up to our expectations.


    Now that we have established the critical importance of survey, I need to ask the 64-million-dollar question. Why are most advisors so arrogant that they don't think they need to get their clients' feedback?


    Excuses, Excuses

    I have asked hundreds of advisors this very question, and I usually get a response that is some variation of "my clients love me, I don't need to survey them," or "I know my clients, and I know what they want" or (my favorite) "it's just too much effort."


    I am going on record right here and now, that is a big bunch of hogwash.


    If there is even a semblance of truth to those excuses, then the average client retention in our industry would be substantially longer than six years. It wouldn't be the case that at any given moment in time 35% of your clients are receptive to getting a second opinion from another financial advisor.


    The world that we live in is changing at a pace so rapidly that without a mechanism for regular feedback you may wake up one morning to a practice that is suffering from Blockbuster Video syndrome. 


    Benefits to Surveying Your Clients

    Now that we have established that you need to survey your clients, here are some benefits that you might not have considered. 


    1. Surveying your clients will give insight into which clients are unhappy with your service and may be getting ready to move to another advisor. You may be afforded the opportunity to make necessary changes before your client makes the ultimate change.
    2. Surveying your clients can help you refine your offering. Client preferences, along with environmental factors are constantly changing. Make sure you find out what your clients need and want before they get it from someone else.
    3. Surveying your clients can provide you with proof positive that you should stop wasting your time doing certain things that may be time consuming and expensive yet provide very little client benefit.
    4. Surveying your clients will let them know that you care enough to ask their opinion. 
    5. Surveying your clients will help keep you top of mind with the people that you serve and hopefully lead to better client retention and more referrals.


    So far we’ve determined that it is critically important to have a venue for monitoring and measuring client preferences. We have also concluded that there are substantial benefits to be had for those that effectively open up the channels of communication with their user base.


    But we’re not done yet.


    The bad news is that surveying your client in and of itself won't make you successful, there are many other aspects that go into building a business, but not doing it might lead to failure.  The good news is that we can learn the techniques used by big business to scale and achieve massive and sustainable growth.


    How do we do this? Start treating your financial advisory practice like a business. Start surveying your clients quarterly right away and reap the benefits of happy clients, more referrals and consequently greater success.

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