Have you ever thought about what genuine connection is and why it matters so much to your client relationships?
Deep connection in client relationships really is crucial. Do you believe you have genuine connection in your client relationships? Consider this for a minute: Are there client relationships that you have that drain you? Do you leave meetings with some clients and feel frustrated or defeated? Do you feel overwhelmed or paranoid? Chances are high, those cases, that you do not have a genuine connection with these clients.
On the flipside, are there other client relationships that you have that truly energize you? Do you leave meetings with them feeling affirmed as well as encouraged? These are likely client relationships in which you have genuine connection. The feeling you have when you are working with these clients is intangible and may even be indescribable.
Why Connection Matters
When you have genuine connection in a client relationship, it really meets the basic human psychological needs. Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which you likely learned about back in Psychology 101. As a refresher, at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid are physiological needs, followed by safety, belonging/connectedness, feeling of accomplishment and, ultimately, purpose at the top of the pyramid. In summary, feeling connected in relationships, both personally and professionally, meets our essential human needs.
In the business book Fired Up or Burnt Out, author Michael Lee Stallard explains that when people enter a new relationship they are usually “fired up” and energized. This rings true for the advisor-client relationship as well. However, over time, that same relationship, which was once a raging flame, can be reduced to a simple flicker. In other words, we must work at client relationships and build strong connections to keep that fire burning.
Client Experience is Key
So, how can advisors keep their client relationships from burning out? A strong, consistent experience builds deep connection with clients.
Think about retail consumer businesses for a moment. When you think about strong client experiences, what major retailers pop into mind? Apple, Nordstrom, Amazon, Starbucks and Ritz Carlton are just a few that routinely make the J.D. Power and Businessweek Customer Service Champions lists.
The question remains: Why should a financial advisor’s business be any different than these major brands? Investor clients want to be given the same superior client experiences they receive from big brands like Apple and the Ritz Carlton.
Matter of fact, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in an interview that Starbucks is not even in the coffee business. He said, “It’s what we sell as a product but we are in the people business.” Schultz went on to say that Starbucks is all about human connection.
Being in the business of human connection is powerful and the key to strong client experiences. This should hold true to an advisor’s business as well. While financial advisors are in the business of building wealth for their clients, they are also in the people business. A financial advisor’s business should also be about genuine human connection. Is yours?
Your Current State of Connection
What is your current state of connection with your clients? Do your current client relationships energize you? Are there any clients that come to mind that you believe you have lost connection with? What actions can you take to restore that lost connection?
An even tougher question you may want to ask yourself is whether any of your clients have disconnected with you? If they have, do you know why? And is the disconnection repairable? These are hard questions to think about, but it’s the tough questions that help you to take a serious look at your business and to, ultimately, take meaningful action.
The Bottom Line
Genuine human connection in client relationships is irreplaceable. It’s a new year and an ideal time to take a look at the client relationships in your business that truly energize you, as well as those clients that cause you to feel defeated and paranoid. It might just be time to consider whether those clients that leave you feeling frustrated are no longer a match for your business.
Keep in mind, the less clients you have that lack genuine connection leaves you with more time and resources to focus on the client relationships with which you have a deep connection and leave you feeling fired up.