Love your clients

If you loved me, you’d know.

The publication date for this post falls on Valentine’s Day so it only seemed appropriate to talk about what it means to love your clients. Many advisors like to talk about how much they care about their clients, how deep the relationship goes. Maybe it’s just me but sometimes it comes across as exaggerated, puffery, hyperbolic. Maybe I just read too many advisor websites.

What do you do to express your love for clients?

What do they most want from you? If you loved them, you would know. Seriously. Because you would have asked.

Julie and I just recorded an amazing  podcast episode with Jim Asplund of the Gallup organization. You’re going to love it. We started by talking about client feedback. This is a national polling organization, of course. But we progressed into some really interesting territory that he is currently researching. One of the questions he brings up is how would you talk if you really cared about clients well-being?

You would want to know what’s going on in their lives. You would remember the names of their family members. You would communicate how you value them in a way that deepens an emotional connection. He went on to describe four levels of emotional attachment, but we will wait for the episode to be posted…

It’s less about what you say than what you do. Listening deeply expresses love. Getting feedback is important, of course, and it’s a good idea to survey, interview, and have a client advisory board. But it goes beyond that. How much time do you commit during meetings with clients to listen to what’s on their minds even if it does not directly relate to their financial plan?

We like to draw parallels between the advisor client relationship and marriage. But really, it’s more like friendship. What do you do for friends? You try to help them solve their problems, even if they are not the ones you get paid to solve. You connect them with opportunities. You invite them into fun things going on in your life.

Recognize them thoughtfully. Send a note that does not relate to business. Offer a gift that may not be expensive but has meaning for them. (That’s on the podcast, too – you can listen to it here. And, by the way, if it has your logo on it, it’s not a gift.)

Be spontaneous. Even if you have to plan it. There are a few things I will do for my wife in my calendar. Maybe her feeling will be “you remembered” and maybe it will feel spontaneous. If she knew it were in my calendar she might feel like I was checking a box but I know it’s important enough to me that I want to make sure I don’t forget.

How do you show love for clients?

By the way, my sweetheart just published her FOURTH book. It came out on Valentine’s Day and features a heart (to bassists) on the cover.

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