I cannot remember how many times I have been told that ours is a business of building and maintaining relationships. To achieve success, you must focus on preserving and respecting relationships with your colleagues as well as your clients.
This does not mean that your success will be guaranteed if you do these things. After all, you do have to sell your products and services so that you can build a financially successful practice. But you must learn to strike a balance between building relationships and building your business.
And building relationships does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. Today’s technology is making our business so much more efficient — all we have to do is use it. For example, you no longer need to spend 10 minutes on a client phone call. You can email or text a client when you have a reason to be in touch. With so many ways of communicating, there is almost no reason why we shouldn’t be staying in touch with clients regularly.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am advocating here. I am not saying that you should inundate your clients with frequent messages. However, at least once or twice a year, you must touch base with them for reasons that are not related to making a sale. This is a great way to maintain a good relationship.
Keeping Clients Happy
Here are five things you can do right now to keep your clients happy.
1. Show up. If you have a client who is involved in a charitable endeavor or a community event, support him or her by attending the event, volunteering to help or even writing a check. When clients see that we are supporting what they support, it helps create and sustain a bond with them.
2. When a client reaches out to you for anything — whether it is advice, guidance or information — get it for them. If you don’t have it at your fingertips, let them know you will get back to them with whatever they asked for, and make sure you do so, and do so in a timely manner. If you make a commitment to a client, honor it. If this seems simple, it is. So there is really no justification for not doing it.
3. Be honest. When going through an insurance application, for example, please be forthcoming about the process and the potential issues you foresee. I have always found that clients appreciate it if you properly prepare them for a rating, a decline or a premium increase. So many times I have been conservative in my quotes, only to end up with a better-than-predicated offer. It really makes clients happy when you bring them good news.
For example, the standard rate offer you were expecting turns out to be a preferred offer. This is more desirable than showing a preferred quote and having to go back with a standard offer or an offer that is worse. Keep your clients in the loop as you go through the underwriting process, and let them know if you are having trouble obtaining additional information from one of the professionals they use. Ask them for help if you need to. Clients appreciate your candor.
4. Connect your trusted colleagues with your clients. Nothing pleases everyone like a successful and mutually satisfying introduction. Obviously, before you start, make sure you thoroughly vet the person you are introducing. We all have stories about making a referral or a connection and then having it backfire. Take time to research the person properly, because when the introduction or connection goes well, everyone wins.
5. Don’t wait for your client to contact you when they need something. Reach out to clients — and not just to sell a new product. If you know about the meaningful times in their lives — whether they are good or sad — let them know that you know and are willing to help. If you hear of a death in the family, pay a visit and acknowledge the loss in whatever way is appropriate for your client. If a baby is born, send a gift or a card. If you have group clients and you know something about changing regulations that will affect them, send them information. If a new form comes out that could be useful to them, send it to them. Don’t wait for them to ask.
If you persist at these strategies, you will find they will make your clients happy. All of us know that the best source of new sales is a current client — so keeping a current client happy will keep you happy as well.