The Surprising Way to Deepen Client Relationships

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.Dan Richards

Among the countless ways advisors have attempted to increase client loyalty, I’ve found a simple approach that deepens relationships.

You highlight, in an appropriate fashion, some of the things you do in terms of community involvement and activity.

Increasing your likeability quotient

When I talk to clients who are really happy with their advisors, it’s remarkable how often I hear something along the lines of “I simply like her (or him).”  In fact, one of my most read articles last year related to how to increase your “likeability quotient.”

Some of the qualities that make advisors likeable will be no surprise – an upbeat optimistic outlook, asking questions to engage clients in conversation and demonstrating that you’re listening closely.

But others are less evident.  American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has been quoted as saying, “You have to bring more to the table than your own appetite.”  And communicating that quality to clients – that you bring more to the table than your own appetite – is one of things that helps make advisors likeable and deepens client relationships.

“Bring more to the table than your appetite”

That’s why I’ve come to the view that many advisors would benefit from incorporating a signature charity into client communication. People like to work with people they like. And by having clients feel that your motivations extend beyond your own material wellbeing, you become more likeable in the process.  

Having a signature charity doesn’t have to entail writing big checks, or for that matter writing checks at all – one advisor has profiled volunteer efforts by him and his family at a food bank and gotten a great response from clients.

And it doesn’t mean you have to select high-profile charities – to the contrary, I’ve had advisors tell me about terrific feedback from their efforts to support small, grassroots organizations. Here are four guidelines to making a signature charity work for you:

Find a cause to which you can truly commit

First and most important, the signature charity has to be something that you are truly passionate about.  To achieve the desired effect, your commitment has to be genuine and one that you would sustain for an extended period, even if you get zero benefits in terms of client goodwill.

Many advisors already provide extensive support to great causes, but have simply not incorporated this into client communication.