Updated September 7, 2023, at 11:50 AM
Financial professionals have a tough job to do. They compete in a fast-paced service industry where building relationships is the name of the game. And building new relationships isn’t easy, but financial professionals continue to find creative ways to reach and convert new prospects every day.
But what about existing clients?
With so much focus on the hottest new lead or brand-new referral, financial professionals often forget that so much of their new business comes from someone else’s “old business.” That means clients that have been neglected or otherwise disgruntled in their existing relationship with a competing professional.
It’s just as vital to nurture your existing clients as it is to build new relationships to avoid the “revolving door” pattern: new business coming in as old business goes out. Here are some things to keep in mind as you reconnect with existing clients:
1. Expand outside the center of your relationship.
Often, financial professionals gain a “central client,” – perhaps a patriarch or matriarch who becomes their “go-to” and the glue to their relationship with the household. No matter how close you may be with the head of a home, continuously expand your connections to include the family as a whole. Get to know the spouse, the children, and the parents of your central client if possible.
Aim to know them just as intimately and become indispensable to all of them. Often, existing business is lost when a widowed spouse or children inherit wealth from a central client. Expanding and deepening your relationship with entire families will ensure that you’re a trusted figure across generations and phases of life.
Just as there may be a central client, there’s often a primary financial professional. You may have a team of professionals, but certain clients only want to speak with you. While this may be flattering, work to expand your client relationships to as much of your staff as possible. You may find that certain family members connect more deeply with various team members. These connections are an excellent phenomenon that’ll make your business feel like a place for the entire family.
It’s the little things: Always address spouses and children by name. Never say, “Bring your husband or wife.” Use their name and take an active interest in their inclusion for events, gifts, or any other client-appreciation campaigns you take on.
2. Pay attention and acknowledge the milestones.
Keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and beyond. It’s a simple way to show you listen and care. Did your clients mention vacation plans? Send them personalized recommendations or a travel journal. Did their child just get accepted to a university? Send them a collegiate blanket for their dorm room.
Don’t neglect the melancholy events, either. Sending a card of condolences for the loss of an elderly parent, sibling, or even a pet can be more meaningful than celebratory moments.
Take note of small details as they come up. If your client mentions their parents’ names, their pets, or a favorite vacation spot, keep a record. Knowing and mentioning these details by name will make your outreach more meaningful during a time of celebration or condolences.
Actions speak louder than words: Does your client have a favorite beverage or local bakery? Have it available at your meetings. Did your client share that they’re not a big fan of flowers or gift baskets? Keep a note on hand so that when gift-time rolls around, you don’t make the mistake of sending them something they openly dislike.
You probably have many clients, so showing that you pay such close attention will make each one feel special and understood. Make sure you have a system in place to keep these detailed notes, such as a CRM tool, Excel sheet, or electronic notebook.
3. Engage with unique and fun events.
Client appreciation events may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s equally important to ensure your affairs are appealing to many groups. Perhaps your go-to event includes boating or golfing; while many clients may enjoy these events, be sure to expand outside your comfort zone to reach clients with different hobbies and interests.
Try to categorize your events (like sports, arts, food, and entertainment) to stay accountable and comprehensive. Also, be sure that you reserve some events for clients only. It can be tempting to expand all events to prospects, but prospects require a lot of time and rapport-building, leaving little quality time with your existing base. Even if you opt for one-on-one time with existing clients instead of events, be sure to set aside time to give existing clients your undivided attention.
Don’t forget to make sure your events are F.U.N.: That’s fun, unique, and no-stress. Educational events can be great, but make sure you spend quality time with your attendees. When it’s time to invite prospects, your clients will remember the genuinely great time they had and will be more inclined to invite friends and family.
By keeping these three tips in mind, you can successfully reconnect (and stay connected) with your most important relationships that’ll drive your business forward in the years to come.