In the realm of relationships, we always need to be aware of expectations. Just as a man in the city is expecting his train to arrive soon, your clients are expecting you to take care of their financial future. We always expect people and things to show up on time, on our time. In this article, I will discuss 8 tips to manage client expectations.
When was the last time your spouse replied in a concerned tone “That’s not what I meant”? At its core, expectations are strong beliefs that “something” will happen in the future and are only brought to the surface through communication. In order to best understand client expectations, you must understand how your client thinks about value, time, and money.
1. Client Communication
Client communication is essential in order for expectations to brought to the table. In its simplest form, if you want to find out what your clients want you need to talk to them.
The first thing that I would ask a financial advisor who struggles with client expectations would be “When was the last time you spoke to all of your clients?”. If your answer is last year, then there is the cause for your dilemma.
Frequent communication is essential to understanding client concerns and expectations. Think of client communication as learning a new skill. In the book Outliers, Malcolm preaches that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. But what about us who don’t have that kind of time to devote to learning a skill like communication?
Well, according to Joshua in his article ‘5 Steps to Take to Master a Skill’, it starts with recognizing where you’re at and taking action.
What can you do today to start improving client communication?
2. Client Values
Have you ever thought about who your target client is? Look at your A-Level clients and decide what they have in common. Once you determine your target client, you can determine your client’s values.
Determining what one values is much more difficult than you may think. It requires an introspective person to truly understand what they value, let alone what someone else values.
Once you can pinpoint your target client and what they value, you can tailor their experiences with yours to match their values. For example, say you have a client who values competition. In order to align with their values, you can mention that their portfolio is performing way above average, assuring them they are on the winning team.
What questions can I ask my target client to determine what they value?
Kicking horse pass- James Wheeler
3. A Client’s Time
Time is a mysterious thing. It only goes forward and never backward. In the movie Interstellar, time is depicted as a three-dimensional object within a black hole. The main character is stuck reliving his life from a room in his house where emotions ran wild between him and his daughter.
Clients value time the same way we all do. It is commonly understood that time is the only resource we all have an equal amount of. However, like in Interstellar, we all remember the times when our emotions ran wild.
Assure your clients that you value their time and that yours is just as precious. Make the times they are with you emotional, empathetic, and filled with joy. The best advisors who can do this make friends and family that will last a lifetime.
How can you fill your clients with joy?
Money is always a difficult topic. In America, we have more than we need, yet always want more. What do your top clients think about money? If your top clients are concerned about paying their bills or buying groceries, you may need to reconsider how you are helping them achieve financial freedom.
Clients expect you as their family CFO to be taking care of their money and putting their interests first. Make it clear that you are qualified and continuously learning how to make better investment decisions based on market changes.
What is your view of money? Is something earned, given, consumed?
5. Client Goals
When you first meet with your clients, you probably have them fill out a “Client Profile” with basic information, including what their main goals are for choosing you. Usually, that’s about it.
The first step you need to take as a financial advisor is to ask questions to determine their goals and give recommendations based on their situation. Not every client who walks into your office will know what’s best for them, so it’s your job to keep your integrity and guide them towards financial success. You are your client’s personal financial counselor and, in that role, can have a huge effect on the outcome of your client’s personal and professional life.
Second, make your client’s goals accessible and visible for them to see and track. Any project, client, or business needs to have goals posted in visible places to remind everyone involved why they are doing what they are doing.
How can you make client goals visible and trackable?
6. A Clear Path Forward
Managing client expectations can be hard alone. The first step is to recognize those around you who have an impact on your clients.
The second step is to recognize if you need to bring people into your business to help keep your clients in a framework and serve them with excellence.
The third step is to take action. Your business will never improve if you don’t take action.
What is the first step I need to take to improve my business?
7. Posting Your Expectations
When you are onboarding a new client, what are your expectations of them? It’s important to show new clients what your expectations are of them. Setting client expectations creates a standard for your business.
Write up a list of what you expect from every client and make it visible, either online or on paper for your clients to see. Not only will this exercise weed out bad potential clients, but it also gives your current clients a sense of ownership over their financial advisor.
What are my expectations for my clients?
8. Reviewing Client Expectations
At its core, expectations are strong beliefs that “something” will happen in the future and are only brought to the surface through communication. In order to best understand client expectations, you must understand how your client thinks about value, time, and money.
Review your client expectations regularly. Make sure your clients feel safe and understand that you value their time and money.
Everyone enjoys fun memories and positive vibes. The next time you meet with a client ask them “If you could spend a week doing whatever you wanted, what would you do and who would you do it with?”. I can guarantee they will appreciate the question and it will give you a glimpse into what they truly value in life.
What can I practically do right now to better manage client expectations?