Why clients don’t do more business with you

Have you ever heard a client say, “I never knew you did that! You never told me!” I have. Years ago, when I was a financial advisor at my former firm, the company got into the mortgage business. Advisors would receive notifications when clients applied for a mortgage elsewhere and their in-house assets needed to be verified. The advisor would comply, then call the client and say, “We do mortgages. Why didn’t you ask me?” You can guess the answer.

Let’s look at five strategies you can use to drive referrals or do more business with clients.

  1. Who answers your phone when you are busy? When you are out at an appointment or meeting with a client, does the person answering the phone say, “She’s not here. Can I take a message?” If so, here’s a better approach. Without violating confidentiality, you can let your assistant know why you’re in a meeting with a client and how you’re helping them. When the phone rings they can say, “She is meeting with a client and helping them set up a college savings plan for their new grandchild.” Or “She’s talking with a client about how they can save every month on their mortgage.” Your clients gradually learn about the range of your capabilities.
  2. The seminar introduction. When you’re presenting at seminars and speaking engagements for local organizations, you are introduced before you speak. Develop a concise introduction that mentions how you help people. It might include, “He holds certifications to help clients with their wealth management, insurance and lending needs.” This plants the seed that you are qualified in more areas than the one you are speaking about that day.
  3. Do your friends know what you do for a living? Probably not. In casual conversation, mention, “We have known each other for five years. You know I work at (firm). When you tell your friends about me, what do you say that I do?” The truthful answer might be “I’ve never told anyone about you,” but they cannot say that because it’s too rude. They might say, “You sell insurance.” You might follow with, “That’s part of what I do, but I also do …”. Another approach is to say, “Selling insurance is what I used to do, but now I also assist people by …” You are drawing them out and building on their answer.
  4. Do you know what your friend does for a living? Like the earlier strategy explained, the answer is probably not. Why? Because we make assumptions about people. If they are a lawyer, you may assume they’re a criminal lawyer like the ones we see on TV. Yet, there are probably more than 100 specialized branches in the legal profession. Or your friend might be an engineer. At least, that’s what they said when you first met 10 years ago. Now, they might head the department or were transferred to another division. Give them a chance to tell their story. Many people like talking about themselves. Out of politeness, they should ask, “What about you? Tell me more about what you do.” If they don’t, you can find a way to take the conversation in that direction.
  5. How do you start review meetings? People often seek out financial professionals when they have a specific need. After you have addressed that need, you have become “their insurance guy” or “their bond guy.” They are unaware you do other things to help people. When you have an annual or periodic review meeting with your client, you might start by listing the areas where you have been helping them. This can lead to a wider explanation of how you help other people in general. You are recapping how you helped this client, then you are pulling away the curtain and revealing the big picture.

Encouraging clients to do more business often starts by raising their awareness about why they need you.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

More communication ideas for finding more clients:

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