Monthly contacts and periodic portfolio reviews give you an opportunity to remind clients of your value and make the case for adding additional assets from outside relationships.
Read: How to rein clients in
The following is an excerpt from my book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor.
Ongoing conversations with clients
Your explanation of what sets you apart is often part of the process of turning a prospect into a client. But people don't remember everything they hear.
There are several ways to highlight the value you add to the relationship. This is often a great opportunity to compare your service to what clients get from relationships with competitors.
You may be contacting the client on a schedule, not to deliver sales presentations but to touch base. Here are some examples of good conversation topics.
- Status of asset allocation vs. model. "We are roughly in line with the firm's model for a growth and income investor like yourself. Although some rebalancing may be necessary, I'm inclined to wait until the end of the quarter."
- Stock news. "You probably saw the story on the news this morning about the drop in earnings at XYZ. You have a position of (X) shares in your various accounts. Our analyst issued a report this morning, and I'll be sending it to you. But I'm calling to get the news to you right away. Here's what we think."
- Comparison to service at other firms. "I realize you have substantial holdings at ABC Investments. Do you hold any XYZ stock there? What was their analyst's view when your broker called with the news?
Whether it's a quarterly or semi-annual review on the phone or a face-to-face meeting, this is another opportunity to show your value.
- Retirement assets at employer. "Before we meet for your review, it would be helpful if you'd fax me a copy of a recent 401K statement. It's important to look at the bigger picture when we review your asset allocation."
- Outside assets. "I realize the assets you hold at other firms are being reviewed separately by your brokers there. But I would appreciate seeing the statements so I can look at your asset allocation through a broader lens."
- Outside stocks. "You've told me about stocks you hold and manage through online accounts. Could you fax me a recent statement before the review? We probably have research opinions on most of those stocks."
- Comparison to service at other firms. "How are your holdings outside our firm doing? A blended index for your portfolio gives us a yardstick of X% for comparison. You know what we feel about the market going forward – what has your other broker told you about the point of view at their firm?"
Progress to goals
If possible, it's great to have a rate-of-return figure investments would have to meet to accomplish client goals. This enables you to compare performance versus the return they want versus the broad market indexes. Often a client's assets are invested conservatively, yet they measure performance against the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 or the NASDAQ composite, which may assume more risk than the client is comfortable accepting.
- Showing your value. "We're working together because accomplishing your goals is important to you. Personally, I like using the return we need to achieve as our benchmark, rather than market averages. This way, if we outperform the expected return we can recalculate the rate we need to achieve your goals and reduce our level of risk accordingly."
- Comparison to service at other firms. "How does your broker at the other firm measure your progress? How often does this review take place?"
You attend many out of office meetings. You may be studying for the Certified Financial Planner™ designation outside office hours. Do clients know this?
- Showing your value. "I apologize for not being available when you called yesterday. I was attending off-site training–part of our firm's ongoing continuing education process. I'm sure you realize this industry is changing all the time and it's important to keep up on recent developments. Here's an example of something new I never heard before (pick something relevant to the client)."
Within the financial services industry, confidentiality is assumed. You don't talk about clients—their identities are confidential. Can you think of many other industries (besides finance and medicine) that have such high standards of confidentiality? Probably not. Use this to your advantage:
- Showing your value. "As an aside, I ran into a friend we have in common last night. You may not realize this, but I never mention that you and I have a business relationship. It's confidential. You may have mentioned it to friends but I don't even acknowledge it if they mention your name in conversation. The rules are very strict about that."
- Referrals. "I know you're happy with our relationship—you've mentioned it several times. I hope you realize I won't tell anyone about this. Our relationship is confidential, unlike a lot of other businesses. If you're happy, you can tell others—please do tell others. You can tell anyone you want that I'm your broker. But I won't tell anyone you're my client."