By DAVID BATCHELOR
When I started in the financial services industry I focused on building a customer base. My main concern was satisfying my customers’ wants and needs while making the sale. Once I had been in the business a little longer, I realized that a customer has a rather casual connection with you. I decided that instead of creating customers, I had to create clients.
More Than Just A Customer
Clients, unlike customers, go beyond just a casual connection or sale. With the client, it is less about selling them a product and more about constructing a strong, trusting relationship. Once you have built the foundation of this relationship, you’ll work with the client to determine their best financial course; this will naturally lead to repeat business. After you understand how to create a client, transition your clients into someone even better: an advocate.
The advocate is more than a customer or a client. They have a relationship with you, but they also have a deep understanding of what drives you. They recognize what you are trying to achieve and totally buy into your mission. They also know that, for you, it’s not just about the sale and it’s not just about repeat business. Instead, it’s about making lives better, and it’s about making a difference. The advocate is valuable because they will not refer people to you-- they will drive people to you. They will fight in your corner and be a part of your team. The advocate will also encourage you towards your goals because they have a similar mission. To create an advocate you need to do two things – share what motivates you and build a like-minded community.
- Share what motivates you
First, share what inspires you with your clients. In Simon Sinek’s book, Begin with Why, he explains that you must have a purpose to your business that your clients understand and believe in. In our practice we are lucky enough to have a strong and universal purpose. We believe in building and protecting legacies for future generations, one family at a time. This goal communicates what is at our core, and it’s something we can share with all clients because it resonates with everyone. It’s not about money. It’s not about profit. It’s about building something meaningful, one family at a time.
- Build a like-minded community
Determining why you do what you do and sharing that drive with clients will give your business purpose. To create strong advocates, you’ll also need to spread that purpose within a client community. The best way to create a client community is to ensure your clients meet with each other on a regular basis. Host a wide variety of client-focused gatherings, such as an annual client conference, a charity event or a client review workshop and invite your clients to attend. They’ll get the chance to meet other clients, share their experiences and understand they are not alone in their financial journeys. Instead they are part of something bigger.
To create a client out of a customer, focus on relationship-building. Then, provide your client with a like-minded goal and a community that believes in that goal, and you will establish an advocate. Advocates will not only help you win unsolicited referrals, they’ll also provide you with the encouragement and inspiration needed to reach your own goals. In the end, you’ll both drive each other closer to building and protecting legacies for future generations.
David Batchelor CFP, Dip PFS is founder and managing director of Wills & Trusts Chartered Financial Planners, a founding partner of Solidus IEP and a founder and board member of the PersonalFinance Society. David is a 22-year MDRT member from Thame, England.