Put on your game face: Demonstrating your value to clients

The most successful advisers have the same mentality as top athletes and coaches. They all understand the value of preparation, but they also realise it’s all meaningless unless they put their game face on during investor meetings and show exactly how they have been adding value to their clients.

The lesson: think of your client meetings as a ‘game day’. You can work endless hours but the most important time you will spend is the time spent with your best clients. That is when you can best demonstrate your value to them. Here are four factors to consider when demonstrating value to clients.

1. Listen

Building a strong relationship is key when dealing with clients. One of the biggest attributes when meeting with your client is to sit back, let them talk and listen. By listening you will understand more about what they want, need and aspire to financially and personally.

Try sitting down with your very best client and ask one simple question: "Tell me your story. Where did you grow up? How did you choose your career? How did you meet your spouse?" Keep quiet and take lots of notes. If you hear something interesting or something the client appears passionate about, ask additional questions if you don’t get all the details. It can be a little uncomfortable the first time, but you will learn more than you expected. If there are some gaps in the quantitative aspects of their situation, try your best to gather that information before or after the meeting. Your best clients are often your busiest clients and the last thing they want is to spend an hour with you updating you on where all their money is and whether you have their correct postal code or e-mail address.

2. Knowledge is power

After taking the first step to listen to your clients and really understand what they want and need from you, it is key to turn this knowledge into something tangible that is completely tailored to their needs and what they want. That’s where the real value is added. What makes your clients competitor-proof and your biggest advocates is that you know more about them than anyone else. In essence, you now have an extensive scouting report on them and you can use this information to get them organised.

That in itself is demonstrating value to that individual as it is showing them their adviser has delved deep to find out what their future aspirations are to make a plan tailored to their individual needs.

  • A financial plan is created to give the client clarity on how much they need to save to meet current spending needs and for retirement
  • The client is given peace of mind that their family will be taken care of if anything were to happen to them
  • Income and tax situations have been considered
  • A will is produced to ensure the clients wishes are followed through after they are gone

3. Go above and beyond

Showing your value to clients comes in many forms and strategies, but in the end, it is all about providing the personal touch. This is something that clients will really appreciate and remember. As soon as you do something for another person which shows you have gone above and beyond, that solidifies your relationship and makes it something that will not be comparable to others. Consider designating someone in your team the role of 'Director of First Impressions.'

"Before every meeting our adviser sends us a note thanking us for the time we are going to spend with him, along with a copy of our Roadmap, which outlines what we are going to review. When we arrive we are greeted by one of the staff and bought a copy of our favourite magazine. We always meet in a bright room with fresh flowers, cold water and a bowl of chocolates in case we missed lunch. By the time we start the meeting, we are always more relaxed than when we arrived and are ready to work on the tasks at hand."

4. Keep it simple

We need to keep reminding ourselves that most investors appreciate clear language and documentation, therefore the key is to keep information that is given to them simple. As Einstein famously said: "if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough".

Your client is not interested in looking at complicated statistics or reporting periods and benchmarks that are not relevant to them. Give them a simple health check and just make sure they are ‘on track’. Use all the knowledge you have, show your client exactly what is relevant to them, use your short period of time in your meeting to demonstrate value they will appreciate (put on your game face!)

To conclude, demonstrating your value to clients is all about helping them understand all the work you do behind the scenes to protect their portfolio and put them at ease. Just as in sports, you could argue that winning over clients in this business is 30% preparation and 70% demonstration.