We understand who the affluent are and their most important financial concerns. We look at the six core characteristics that our clients want in their wealth manager.
These are the characteristics that build authentic loyalty.
Character is about the personal qualities clients want in their wealth manager. Integrity is perhaps the most important quality, but trust and dependability also rank extremely high.
But we can’t just tell our clients that we are honest, trustworthy and dependable. We have to demonstrate our good character through our actions.
Chemistry is the ability to be “in sync” with our clients. We have chemistry when we connect with them—we know what they want to talk about, and we see eye to eye on important issues.
Our Discovery Meeting is key to demonstrating this quality to our clients. When we have conducted a thorough discovery process—and this will be about much more than just financial issues—we will understand what they care about most so that we can connect with them on a fundamental level.
We must be genuinely concerned about our clients’ well-being. They are more important to us as people than making money is.
It isn’t enough to just care, however. We have to be able to show clients that we care. Our best opportunity for doing this, again, will be during our Discovery process. Our Discovery will uncover not just our clients’ financial issues, but also their most important relationships, interests, goals and dreams. If our Discovery process stops short of uncovering what’s most important to our clients, we will fail to communicate that we truly care about what’s most important to them.
Competence is about being smart, technically capable and an authority in solving the financial challenges of our business owners who need to exit from all or part of their business. But being competent is not enough; we must demonstrate our competence.
Being cost-effective means we deliver true value to our clients for the cost of our services and products.
How do we demonstrate to our affluent clients that we are cost-effective? By addressing their entire range of financial concerns, including those beyond investment management. By doing so, we have the potential to provide peace of mind, which is simply the highest value that we can offer as a wealth manager.
This is the most important of the six factors. When we are consultative, our client relationships are framed as ongoing partnerships over time. This makes it the most effective characteristic for building client loyalty.
While many financial advisors talk about being consultative, in our experience a true consultative approach is relatively rare. There are three central components to a consultative approach:
- Cooperative orientation. Most affluent clients want to work with their wealth managers in a collaborative relationship. We do not make the mistake of assuming that they just want us to hold their hands and take care of everything for them. Instead, we work with our affluent clients. Not only will we address their challenges more effectively, we will win their loyalty.
- Contact. We build the loyalty of our affluent clients by contacting them appropriately—on both financial and nonfinancial matters. While it should be self-evident that clients want to be contacted about their financial affairs, the advisors who are most successful in building loyalty know that their clients want contact on non-investment issues as well. It is this type of contact—when we and our clients discuss family issues, current events and the like—that fosters the close interpersonal relationships that are crucial to client loyalty.
- Customized communications. In general, the affluent are looking for customized communications tailored to their specific preferences. To build true client loyalty, we need to understand how clients want to be contacted, how often they want to be contacted and what they want to be contacted about. Uncovering this information will be one part of our new Discovery Process.
The Client Loyalty Framework
The six factors work together in building client loyalty, but some are more important than others. According to our experience and observations, character, chemistry, caring and competence provide the foundation, together accounting for about half of client loyalty. Cost-effectiveness adds another 10 percent. The consultative factor is far and away the single most decisive, accounting for 40 percent of client loyalty.
As we see again and again, high-quality client relationships are extremely important to our success. The well-thought-out wealth management process we will implement at the beginning of every client relationship is designed specifically to foster trusted, long-lasting relationships with our clients.