Clients feel they’re getting good service if you contact them six or more times a year. That means a real conversation, not voicemails or birthday wishes. So what’s the reason for your call?
The News Story
Your client owns stocks, either directly or through a separately managed account or mutual fund.
Get to the office early and camp out in the conference room with your newspapers. Read them and highlight relevant articles reporting on companies your client owns.
Call the client as early as you dare. Start by referencing the article and suggest she’s probably seen it already. Recap the high points and explain why it’s good news. If she owns the stock because you suggested it, don’t take all the credit—share it with her.
“We did well to get in early. This news about their new oil find should be well received by the market. It confirms our earlier belief the company is serious about its oil exploration program.” If the stock is a mutual fund holding or in her managed money account, give the credit to the portfolio managers.
This strategy is also good if it concerns the company the client works at.
What does she think? As she sits in her pajamas drinking coffee she realizes you’re dressed and already at the office. You’ve read the papers, so you’ve been at work quite a while. You’ve called about a stock she holds and delivered recent news. You’re paying attention.
It’s tax time. Documentation has gone out and it’s likely she has everything she needs. But it doesn’t hurt to check. Call and confirm she’s received her tax reporting documentation. Let her know how it can also be accessed online. Do she have everything? If her accountant has questions, let her know what to do.
What does she think? She was getting her records together to send to her accountant. She was wondering what to do if the accountant has questions, and you’ve provided the answers without her even having to ask. You’re thinking ahead.
Your client’s planning a vacation. She’s thrilled and talks about it for weeks. Before the trip, you ask if she plans to use the debit card linked to her account. The answer’s yes.
You’ll alert your security department. What countries is she visiting? Dates? You ask for an itinerary with contact phone numbers in case of emergency.
What does she think? It’s as if you can read her mind. She did plan on getting cash abroad and never thought to tell you. The terrible market decline is still a fresh memory and you’ve shown you’ar planning for emergencies. This reduces her anxiety level.
Other Everyday Scenarios
Your call could be triggered for reasons not involving immediate business. Here are a few examples:
- Scheduling a portfolio review
- Personal seminar invitation – Seminars are often used as a prospecting tool. But clients still enjoy attending, and that’s an implicit endorsement of your value. Extend the invitation personally.
- Invite them to dinner – The client-prospect dinner is an effective way to grow your business. Call and extend the invitation. Suggest they bring along “someone you think we might be able to help.” Bear in mind dinner may end up being just with the client. In that case, use the occasion to cement the relationship.
- Do nothing – Sometimes the best advice you can give is to sit tight. When you don’t explain this point clients may assume you aren’t paying attention. If the market is volatile and they’re well positioned, call and explain they own good companies with sound fundamentals.
- Feedback – You’re developing a business plan and reviewing your practice. Are they happy? What do they like best about the relationship? Are there places they feel you have room for improvement?