Posts Tagged 'Early Career'

Don’t Talk! or Please Listen?

Most advisors spend too much time talking and not enough time listening?

True or False?

Of course the answer is… It depends.

Some recent examples I have experienced:

I was teaching a workshop of 16 advisors and one young man did not find it necessary to listen but found it acceptable to chat throughout the entire workshop to his friend. I am thinking that this was not a worthwhile meeting for him because he certainly did not listen to what I had to say. It would lead me to believe that this same advisor has a hard time listening to his clients or prospects. He wondered why he wasn’t closing!

I met a recently widowed woman who came in with a trusted friend. I asked “How can I help”? She then spent the next two meetings telling me her story, how the other advisors told her what to do and what she needed. At the end of the second meeting I asked if she would like to be a client and she said “Yes, because you listened”.

Now without citing lots of statistics, we know that most people like to talk about themselves and do not like to listen to stories about others. I would suggest that advisors who spend the time to listen will develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with their clients and prospects.

A deeper relationship will mean more loyalty. More loyalty means better retention and better retention leads to higher profitability.

Think of it this way, how would you feel if the doctor gave you the prescription without listening to you first?

Guide – Allow people to tell their story and how you can help them. If you ask them, they will usually tell you if you let them.

Action item – Try to spend much more time being an active listener. Really pay attention and take notes. Let them know you are listening and most importantly, don’t interrupt – It’s rude.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Develop Your Niche! Where do you Start?

 

You have heard this before! Develop a niche.

Become an expert and service that niche!

Right? So where do you start?

Start with this exercise:

First, write down the names of your five FAVORITE clients. These are not necessarily your five biggest (but they could be), but are the five your really like. Whenever they call, you are happy to talk to them. None of these folks should give you that electric probe to the gut feeling…

Now look a the list carefully.

Write down anything and everything these five have in common–age, occupation, geography, hair color, type of car, favorite football team, risk tolerance, goals, whatever.

You may likely see some things in common.  These are the clients you are passionate about.  These are the type of clients that may have caused you to become an advisor in the place.

A pattern may be emerging! 

Now start a second list.

Write down how you came to know each of these great clients. How were they acquired? Who referred them?

Perhaps another pattern?

This may be the beginning of your niche. Try to become an expert in the needs of these people.

Want to serve more of them? Sure!  Let these clients and all your referral sources know that you’d like more new clients just like these!

Guide – Developing a niche gives you the satisfaction to fuel your passion.

Action Item – Let your niche be known and become even more of an expert to those people you love.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Are you clients having a great experience?

 

 
As I was searching for my topic this week, my wife, Kathy, reminded me of the awful experience we are going through with our own local community bank.

Let me share my client? (or just a customer?) experience.

We wrote a check from our home equity line of credit (HELOC) for a planned purchase.

The first letter arrived and asked us if we were having trouble paying our bills because our home equity payment was late.

We had just sent in many thousands of dollars.

Ok, fine….

The second letter arrived and said that our loan was due in full.

Ok, fine….

I called my “personal banker” who very nicely informed me that our line HELOC had expired.

She let me know that they had honored our draw-down even though “they were not supposed to” and informed me that the loan needed to be re-written.

My personal banker delivered the paperwork to be completed but it was all blank.

Ok, fine….

Two days later, my “business banker” from the same bank called to introduce himself as my new business banker.

He is called to TELL me that I needed to refile my annual paperwork for my business line of credit.

He faxed over the cover letter of requirements and a blank (fax of a fax of a fax) form for me to complete.

Ok, fine…

We submitted everything (I was just slightly peeved) and they called to schedule a closing.

I requested that we have the meeting at my office and they agreed to meet in two weeks. Two days before the appointment, there was a message on my HOME answering machine informing me that they would be late.

Ok, fine….

Both loans were underwritten and approved. We had a closing that lasted about 10 minutes and they were all smiles as they went on their way.

I requested a copy of the appraisal for review which they promptly faxed over. Turns out I live in a 2 story home with 2.5 baths. (Neither was accurate!)

Ok, fine….

The following week we made a very substantial payment towards our HELOC and back in the mail came a loan statement.

On the statement was a handwritten note: “this is the wrong acct#”

Ok, fine….

So my spouse said “If we ran our business like this we would be out of business.  I would like a new bank please.”

Here is my summary of what should have happened in my humble opinion (Of course I assumed we were a valuable client of this bank):

  • A call letting us know our HELOC was expiring and needed to be re-written.
  • A completed set of populated forms arrive for our signature.
  • A call updating us on the process as we went through it.
  • A call to our office to reschedule or at least ask if it was ok if they were going to be late.
  • A call letting us know our account number would be changing or has changed.

Don’t treat YOUR client like we were treated.

  • Communicate the process – Even it is negative (your mistake OR theirs).
  • Remember to say please and thank you.
  • Remember that they are the client and you want their business.
  • Provide an extraordinary experience and they will be loyal advocates for years to come.

 

Eliot

 

Guide – Client service is about the experience and not just the result.

Action Item – Make sure your clients are getting an experience better than they expect. This will make them advocates, not just customers.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

 

Please leave comments to share with others by clicking the comment link below the title of this article.

Become a meeting junkie!

One of my first mentors was great guy, who in his two previous careers (before becoming the chairman of a brokerage firm) was a Commander in the Navy and then a surety bond (read risk) underwriter.

He knew little of the business when he began.  He took me aside and said “You need to go to ALL the meetings.  You may not realize you are learning anything but over time you will learn a lot”!

Ok? This guy has money and success so I listened.  Of course I could not travel so I went to every local club meeting I could. ( and most were free) The financial planning meetings, the stockbrokers club, the company presentations, the CFA society as a guest etc.  Boy, was he ever right.

I attended lots and lots of meetings in the early days and yes, I actually did eventually learn some things.

Guide – Presentations are not a waste of time.

Action Item – Go to local meetings and learn stuff!


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