If you thought you knew your clients, read on! Here are 10 surprising things you didn't know about your clients:
Surprise #1: Your clients believe what you tell them! Your clients might seem skeptical, but they believe you. They will believe you when you say that you saved them tax dollars. They will believe you when you tell them that their portfolio is doing well. They will believe you when you conclude that they don’t have to go back to work. Your duty is not to betray that trust!
Surprise #2 (You know this one!): Your clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care! Money is personal. Your clients won’t feel comfortable opening up to you unless they believe that you care about them. This feeling can’t be faked! If you truly care about your clients, let them know. If you don’t, get a new career.
Surprise #3: Your clients are all different. You might think that they all want the same thing, but they don’t all want the same thing from you! Some like more hand-holding; some like facts and figures; some don’t mind the wild ride as long as they take advantage of bull markets and some are more concerned with losing principal than anything else. You should always do your best for every client, but remember that they are all looking for something different.
Surprise #4: Your clients want you to say “no” (sometimes). Sometimes clients know they can’t afford to give their daughter a down payment on a house. Sometimes they know they shouldn’t take an expensive vacation. At these times, when they come to you, they’re hoping that you’ll say “no.” Then, they can tell their daughter or wife that their financial advisor said they couldn’t afford it. It’s easier to blame you and your clients want that!
Surprise #5: Your clients don’t care if their tax returns are extended (or projects take longer than expected)! Your clients are less concerned with whether their projects are done on time than with whether you communicate with them. If you need more time, just tell them! Your clients will be okay with that. They won’t be okay with your being late without communicating.
Surprise #6: Your clients want to feel like they have control! Yes, your clients know they can’t control the market, but they want to feel like they can control something. So, give them something they can control. For example, when the markets take a sharp drop, suggest that your clients reduce their expenses by five or ten percent. Offer prizes for the best saver or most creative saver. Get creative and allow your clients to get involved with their own success!
Surprise #7: When your clients say you’re expensive, they’re not necessarily complaining! A surprising number of clients actually believe in the saying, “You get what you pay for.” When a client says, “You are sure expensive!” don’t automatically get defensive. Wait. The next sentence could easily be, “But you’re worth it!”
Surprise #8: Your clients don’t think you want more clients because you always tell them you’re busy. Think about it. When your client calls and asks, “How are you?” do you always say, “I’m so busy!”? To your client, you’re saying that you’re too busy to take on more work. So, next time you’re asked “How are you?” answer “I’m doing great!”
Surprise #9: Your clients want you to say “yes” (sometimes)! Let’s be honest. We have a lot of clients who are so used to saving that they hardly spend anything! If it’s not their goal to leave a fortune to their heirs, it’s your job to encourage them to spend some of their money! I’ve found that suggesting they take their family on a group vacation is something they will enjoy and gives them an opportunity to create lifetime memories.
Surprise #10: Your clients want you to communicate even if you can’t change anything! When the markets are in turmoil, your clients want to hear from you. It doesn’t matter whether you email, send letters, give live presentations or make phone calls, communication is essential. Many clients changed advisors during the last downturn merely because their previous advisors never contacted them. Don’t make this mistake with your clients.
Whether or not this list is truly surprising to you, it should remind you of what is important when it comes to client relations. When all is said and done, we have a service business and we should never forget to provide it!