Investing $15 to Create an Unshakeable Client Bond

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Dan Richards

Recently, I hosted a roundtable lunch with a group of affluent investors on behalf of a midsized, independent investment firm that wanted to test some new ideas.

One attendee was a senior partner in a leading law firm and made a comment that caught the attention of everyone in the room:

I don’t know how she does it,” she said, “but my financial advisor is amazing.”

One client’s story

This woman continued:

“Just after we started working together about twenty years ago, I made an offhand comment that I was taking up golf and three days later this very funny book on golfing came in the mail with a note from her wishing me luck. I showed it to the pro that I was taking lessons from and he just about fell over laughing.

“Then maybe ten years ago we were talking about our kids and I told her that my daughter-in-law was expecting our first grandchild. The next day, a courier arrived with a note of congratulations and three hilarious books of cartoons – one for me on becoming a grandparent and one each for my son and daughter-in-law on the joys of pregnancy from the mom’s and dad’s perspective.

“And then, to top it off, when we were booking a meeting earlier this year, I told her that my husband and I were taking our six- and eight-year old grandchildren to Disneyworld … and wouldn’t you know, she comes into the meeting with a guide to taking kids to Disneyworld, with all kinds of tips and ideas.

“I ask you … how could you not love someone who cares that much?”

How much do you care?

That led to a conversation about how much the investors in the room felt their advisors truly cared about them and their financial success, beyond the revenue that they generated from their accounts.

Most felt fairly comfortable about this, but a few harbored some doubts … and no one came close to the first client’s level of enthusiasm for her advisor.

In fact, after the lunch I noticed one of the other attendees ask this woman for her advisor’s name.

The power of consistency

I was intrigued by this story – and asked the woman for her advisor’s name as well … and called this advisor later that afternoon.

She laughed when I told her about the lunch.

“I’m glad that Susan’s impressed,” she said, “but there’s really no magic to this.

“When I came into the business 30 years ago, I decided early on that I needed to do something to ensure clients knew how much I appreciated their business. I also wanted to do something that really stood out.

“I talked to some other advisors about what they did. Some took clients out golfing, or to lunch or dinner or to the theatre, but that’s not really my style … and besides, I was just starting out and didn’t have much money to spend.

“So what I thought about were key moments in clients’ lives like buying a house or having kids – and whether there was something I could do to tap into those.”