Research is showing that many advisory firms talk about the importance of building relationships with clients. However, the clients do not believe there is a quality relationship. So what is the key ingredient to build your relationship performance?
In our work, we talk about the need for advisors to build relationships which emotionally engage the client. Gallup Research has shown the significant impact this can have on financial performance of an advisor’s business. Emotionally engaging the client requires the advisor to demonstrate empathy for the client. The clients motivations and needs need to be understood, they need to feel listened to, they need to believe the advisor and the firm cares about them not their money, the advisor needs to be approachable and friendly and the advisor needs to openly communicate on the clients terms.
The next issue to address is whether the culture of financial services allows for an empathetic service to be delivered. Recent SEI research in the UK is showing that the clients believe that financial services is “too me” first from the advisor perspective. The advisors and their firms have made success about what is earned and not how clients are helped. Therefore, significant cultural and financial re-alignment is needed not only by advisors but also by the firms and the industry as a whole before there can be true relationship performance based on empathy. The firms and industry need to show that they stand for client care.
In many cases the advisor is left alone by their firm to build the relationships. However, in the future the organization will have to equip the advisors to build client centered relationships. This will include providing them with the right tools, including client profiling.
So what are you doing for high quality client engagement?