What can cost you clients

People love the word “smart.” We have smart water, smart cars and smart phones, for example.  

We also tell clients that we want to be smart with their money, and we do it in a very specific way. For example, this is our 30-second smart statement when a client asks about fees: 

“So, Jim, first of all, thanks for asking about our cost. It’s important to me that we’re smart with your money. What you pay matters to me. I feel that it’s important for you to know exactly what you pay so that there are no unexpected or unexplained costs. 

“As my client, you should know that my ultimate goal is to make sure you achieve your financial goals. And with that in mind, we’re always looking for ways to design long-term, diversified investment strategies built within a planning process and are always looking for the most cost-efficient, high-value way to manage your money. And with that said, the costs are as follows …” 

3 parts behind the communication 

My statement is constructed that way because it 

  • Acknowledges my respect for clients’ costs  
  • Quickly reminds the client of what they’re getting. I say, “Look at what you’re paying for. This is what you’re going to get.” It’s not nine minutes or 13 points on the value of whole life insurance. It’s concise.  
  • Provides a straightforward description of the costs, which typically works better in percentages  

What’s important to clients 

I want clients to know that what they pay matters to me. I actually think about it. It’s important for clients to know exactly what they’re going to pay because I want to make sure there are no unexpected and unexplained costs. Clients may leave you if they find unexpected expenses or fees. You do not want to be there.  

Most importantly, whatever you say to clients, it’s got to be in your own voice.  

Gary DeMoss is the director of Invesco Global Consulting. This article was excerpted from the 2018 MDRT EDGE presentation “New word order: Language matters with clients.” [MDRT members only] 

For more about effective client communication: 

  • As Dr. Tony Alessandra says in what he calls his platinum rule, “treat others as they wish to be treated”. What matters to them, matters to me and what matters to them is of most importance to me. So, addressing with respect and understanding and answering what’s being asked in simple and clear terms is not only acceptable but appreciated by them

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