Keeping clients through good and bad times – Part 1

11 April 2019 Myra Knoesen

Financial advisers spend time, hours and effort in finding good clients and prospects that will generate a long-term stream of revenue for their business. 

While there are countless tips and expert advice on how to attract clients, much less has been said about how not to lose them. Keeping clients for life can be every bit as challenging as finding them. 

The most important skills

Andrew Beattie, author of ‘Keeping Clients Through Good And Bad Times’ says, the ability to maintain client relationships is one of the most important professional skills.

“In good times, business flows easily because the demand for services often outstrips the number of people able to supply that service. In hard times, however, the demand shrivels, and clients become far more selective about who they take their business to. This process weeds out all the weaker providers.”

In this article, we will look at some recommendations Beattie provides to keep clients happy in either good times or bad.

Here are the first three recommendations according to Beattie:

  • On time or early, never late - Consistency tops the wish list for clients in almost every industry. Whether they themselves are punctual or not, clients hate to be kept waiting for any kind of meeting. Unfortunately, consistency with existing clients often slides when there is new business coming in. Advice on striking a balance between adding new businesses to the pipeline and keeping established customers happy fills volumes in bookstores. Client management software and many other innovations have automated traditional processes, but the essentials haven't really changed.
  • Create a newsletter - In the days before Internet, advisers and investment professionals would mail personalised updates to preferred clients. These were not stock tips, as such, but commentary on the market and the state of the economy, which can now be done for all of your clients with just a few emails. There are multiple layout templates to choose from, so the focus is more on producing content. Most newsletters feature a mix of commentary on current events, specific updates and practical advice. For example, in 2008 an accountant may have written about how the lack of proper risk analysis led to skewed balance sheets for banks, and then transitioned to a simple tip like numbering receipts every calendar month to make tracking spending - and potential write-offs - easier. Each newsletter should, however, carry some indication of your personal approach to your profession - a "this is what I do and what I think, see if you agree," type of write up. This way your newsletter will also become a tool to attract and filter potential customers, helping you get a higher percentage of clients who match your style.
  • Go digital - Encouraging clients to sign up for the email/online edition of your newsletter in every print issue will help make the transition to digital copies less intrusive than sending messages that could be considered "spam." You can also look at more cutting edge ways to keep in touch, such as Twitter or podcasts.

In part two we will go through the final three recommendations.

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