By Matthew Collins
We’re often overloaded with clients, which makes it difficult to cultivate strong, personal relationships with each one. When you have less time to meet with each client, there isn’t much room to build those deeper connections.
I’ve found that being more selective about your client base enables you to pour your energy into fewer, selective clients, allowing you to strengthen those particular bonds and form longer-lasting relationships.
Here are three steps to take, to start cultivating those deeper client relationships:
1. Play to your strengths
First, you’ll want to determine who you work best with. Reflect on your client meetings and evaluate your connection with each of them. Take note of the meetings that flowed naturally, and the ones that didn’t go as smoothly. Reflect on what went well, what didn’t and why.
Let’s say you’re highly analytical and do a great job communicating the intricacies of the industry to your clients. If you have a client who prefers a generic overview, rather than an in-depth explanation of industry insights, your communication style may not be a match for them.
Being able to recognize who is a potential non-match for your practice relies a lot on your knowledge of your personal strengths. Take the time to reflect on any potential non-matches and seek to understand why there is a disconnect between your strengths and their preferences. Once you have an idea of who you work well with and why, you can begin the process of narrowing down your client pool.
2. Refine your client base
Understanding who you best serve will help you begin parting ways with non-matches. Although it can be difficult to end a client relationship, you’d be doing yourself, and them, a disservice by keeping them in your pool. It’s common for advisors and clients to not connect – it doesn’t mean that you made any mistakes. Being able to respectfully end a client relationship will open doors for you to spend more time deepening your relationships with your identified client pool.
When you’re ready to part ways, let them know why this might not be the best fit and ensure them that you are making this decision with their best interests at heart. I like to suggest a colleague that may better suit their needs and reassure them that you’re still available for further advice if necessary. It’s important that the client understands that you’re invested in providing them the best possible guidance.
3. Deepen your connections
Once you’ve narrowed your client base, be intentional about forming stronger relationships with those that remain. For example, let’s say you have a client that you clicked with in the initial meeting, but your original workload didn’t allow you to spend as much time with them as would have liked. Take some time to invite them to lunch or dinner, and don’t just discuss their financial concerns or needs. Try getting to know them on a deeper, more personal level by asking questions about their family or hobbies.
Clients can be skeptical of advisors only working with them for revenue, so it can take a while to gain trust. However, by taking a genuine, personal interest in your clients, you’ll prove that you’re dedicated to providing them the best possible service. Showing more dedication to them and appreciation of their business will lead to more personal, sustainable relationships.
And, as you strengthen the connections of those you work best with, you’ll put yourself in a position to evolve alongside those clients and foster longstanding relationships.
About the author
Matthew Collins is a principal and shareholder of Financial Decisions, a financial services company in Sydney, Australia. Matthew is a 17-year MDRT member with more than 25 years of experience in financial services.