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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Say Goodbye to Clients

If you don't have an aggressive financial advisor marketing plan to keep clients, you will lose them.

In the past, marketing plans were all about how to get clients. But now, there are several factors which force you to focus on client retention or else they will say "bye bye." The factors are:

  1. The level of trust in financial professionals has eroded due to questionable ethics on Wall Street (e.g. the ten largest brokerage firms admitting they peddled crap stocks during the dot come era and paid $1.4 billion in fines, the mutual fund scandal where institutional interests were placed above the individual shareholder interests, company CEOs treating corporate assets as their own financial play ground--e.g. Dennis Koslowski, Bernie Ebbers, Ken Lay).
  2. Failure of investors to make money. The Dow was about the same level as it is today in March of 2001. So many people had big losses from the dot com bust and have never earned it back.
  3. Failure by you to add value. If all you provide is information (i.e., you explain to people how products work--a features and benefits conversation) and do not provide insight (the act of creatively matching clients personal desires with financial solutions), clients will perceive no value so why should they remain loyal?
  4. And the most persistent and easily remedied reason of all, as Spectrem Group has reiterated in a recent survey (Financial Planning May 2008): the most common reason that clients leave their advisor is lack of contact.

Therefore, you need a marketing plan for client retention. That marketing plan could look like the following:

  1. make sure every client call is returned within 12 hours
  2. make personal contact with every client every 90 days by phone or in person
  3. make contact every 30 days via newsletter or postcard or letter
  4. have 2 client events per year--barbeque in July and holiday party in December
  5. create a webinar every 3 months and post on your web site explaining what is happening in the economy and how it impacts your clients.

There are services that can make implementation of such a marketing plan for client retention easier. But the best part is, you may be able to tear up your financial advisor marketing plan to gain clients when you start getting a continuous flow of referrals by treating clients appropriately.