5 ways to improve client engagement and intimacy

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In our third and final instalment in this CPD series, we will guide you through how to produce your own to-camera videos and where to post them so potential clients can find them. We’ll also take a look at social media and how it might help you and we’ll finish off with ways to ensure your clients can receive service that really is about them. 

(Click here to read the first instalment in this series and click here to read the second instalment.)

Making a ‘selfie’ video

Making a ‘selfie’ video It’s only natural for some people to recoil at the thought of having to appear in a video however, the really very simple rule is to just be you – don’t try to be something or someone you are not – just think about it as a conversation with another person. While you might find that you feel uncomfortable when you begin filming a video of yourself and you might look very ‘wooden’, just keep the camera rolling and it’s very likely that when you start talking about topics that you are passionate and knowledgeable about, you might almost forget about the camera and the ‘real’ you begins to show-up in the vision.
To help you to relax a little more it can help to not look at the camera but rather look to someone who is sitting next to the camera. That person could genuinely ask the questions – interview you – or you could simply pretend the question has been asked and you are responding by talking to that person.  For many people, talking to another person – speaking naturally – will be far more natural and far easier to do than reading to camera from a prepared script.

Context

That said you do need to think of the context of the scene you are creating. If you want to be seen to speak directly to the person who has ‘clicked’ on the video on your website, for example, you will need to look and speak directly to the camera.

However, if you want the scene to be more akin to the viewer watching you have a conversation with another person – or be seen to be interviewed by someone else – simply look just off to one side of the camera.

Plan the production

You need to plan ahead when you film your video and be prepared with a range of topics or issues you wish to address in the video. However, it’s important to avoid scripting your dialogue because it can come across as very disingenuous and do more harm than good. (recall some of the most disliked television commercials over time)

Editing – the ‘polish’ on the end product

There are various applications and software that you can access to assist with editing your vision and audio. Editing really can improve the raw footage and can bring a video to life full of the best aspects of your filming minus the not so beneficial sections.

However…

If you experiment with some video production and no matter how well prepared you were – no matter how hard you worked at editing it, if you don’t look comfortable on camera when you watch the final footage back – don’t use it.

It almost goes without saying but you are far better not having video footage of you than footage that highlights your nervousness or other problems. In short, bad footage could just you turn people away from your site – away from your business. If, for whatever reason, your video looks stilted, scripted or so nervous as to be seen as disingenuous, do not use video of you to promote your business on your site or other areas.

Your clients

In addition to or instead of you filming yourself, you could also shoot some video of your clients or even your centres of influence talking about you. Video testimonials from real life clients are very powerful and they are the most effective when your clients talk about their story and the impact your advice has had on their lives as opposed to them saying simply how great they think you are.

It’s in the can! What’s next?

With a video(s) completed you now need to upload it somewhere where it can be ‘hosted’. This can be on your website via – for example – an embedded link back to YouTube. To state the seemingly obvious, videos can be very big files so you emailing them to other people is very often not an option.
You can upload the videos to Youtube or Vimeo or host them on a paid site like sproutvideo.com. Each option has its merits that are subjects in their own right.
Once loaded to a service like YouTube or Vimeo, you can then display your videos on your website; on your company Facebook page and the LinkedIn profiles for you and your business’ LinkedIn profile.  If you’re really adept at producing videos you could start a Youtube ‘channel’ for your business.

Some final thoughts on videos. Try to remember that the ‘traditional’ computer screen is now just one of several choices of where your clients and potential clients can watch your videos. Smartphones, tablets and very lightweight laptop computers have revolutionised the way in which consumers access information about you. Be sure to consider how your video vision and audio will appear on various devices.

It really is – or should be – all about them!

Recall that clients want to build rapport with you and they want to know that you genuinely understand their situation and needs. They seek advice that is tailored and customised solely for them. Clients want to know that they’re be treated as individuals and that you are treating their financial affairs with as much attention as you would your own. This may seem obvious but you might be surprised how easy it is to overlook in the day-to-day bedlam that running a business can sometimes be.
The moment a client senses that she is just a number to you is the moment that any trust you may have been accorded by the client to that point will begin to erode.
Let’s recap a point from an earlier article. This tip does not negate the need for creating standard processes in your business.  Nor are we suggesting that you should templates should not be part of your document preparation. Your procedures and your templates can actually enable you to customise your advice to each client in a more efficient and consistent way rather than leaving it to the chance that you will find the time to ‘re-invent the wheel’. Note however that this is only effective if you use templates well.
So let’s look at a few tips on how to make sure that your clients do not feel that they are just numbers.  In person, on the phone and in their Statement of Advice (SoA), you should present all your recommendations and discussions in the client’s terminology using words and phraseology that will resonate with them.

This might sound obvious but you might be surprised at just how many advisers use a templated SoA that has pre-formatted text with comments such as (in the client’s objectives section):

“You wish to travel.”

If an objective of the client is to travel then you need to gain a deeper understanding of where they want to go and why. What significance does travel hold for the client and then refer to specifics in the SoA– destinations and timing – when you are discussing the subject with her.

Financial planning advice ‘101’ – correlate objectives with recommendations

Yes – this is incredibly obvious but we have to say it: Ensure that your recommendations actually deliver on the client’s objectives.  When presenting your recommendations explain how they match what the client is seeking – or how they feel about a subject.  However, if it is not possible for recommendations to deliver on objectives then you must say so and explain why.
Another example. Simply recommending a ‘salary sacrifice’ superannuation strategy because it saves the client tax will not be as meaningful as if you then explain how that tax, re-purposed, will be a core tool to enable them to achieve (what she is specifically wanting to achieve)
You can force yourself to do this by making sure your templates require you to fill in the key areas, such as names and addresses, objectives, assets etc.

Extreme Care!

More than one adviser has accidentally delivered an SOA with their previous clients‘ name in it, because they have failed to make proper use of a template.

Mapping

A great strategy that can really demonstrate a thorough understanding of a client, and enable them to see their life on a page, is to use mind maps in the discovery phase of your client relationship, then regularly update the clients mind map at their review meetings.

A visual representation of your clients‘ affairs will help you ensure you’ve captured all their information and also help confirm to them that, to you as a professional person, they are not ‘numbers’.

Packaging services

You can also customise your ongoing service offer for each client. When you establish your pricing model and determine the ongoing services you can provide for clients, it can be more efficient to create set packages or at least determine minimum price bands based on a pre-defined set of services including the number of contacts per year – meetings and phone calls etc.  When presenting a recommended service package to your client, you can present it in such a way as to demonstrate that the ongoing contact level is designed specifically to suit their needs.

Newsletter tagging

Newsletters are often a part of advisers‘ communication strategy with their clients, to keep them connected to the firm between meetings. An old style hard-copy newsletter can be expensive and time consuming and provide limited value to clients when it is a standard document with the same topics for every client. An alternative is to use a solution that customises the article content to your clients.

Use of CRM and email marketing systems enables you to tag your content and create rules around what articles are used for different sections of your client base. If you have a multi-generational firm, you wouldn’t send articles on retirement villages to your 30-year-old entrepreneur clients. When your newsletters are created electronically they can save both time and printing costs and drive people to your website more often.

Network

Get involved with your clients’ other professional advisers. If they have an accountant contact the accountant and discuss the client’s situation and, if relevant, send the accountant any information that might assist with preparation of the mutual client’s tax returns.  By mentioning to your client that you have spoken with their accountant – after gaining the client’s authorisation – it serves to reinforce with the client that you have considered the impact of your advice beyond their professional relationship with you and gives clients a sense of comfort that you are prepared to liaise with their accountant.

Social media

Yes – we know you are constantly being told you need to use social media. But with an increasing weight of evidence as to the reach and power of it, we can only recommend that you get involved with it.

Social media is much more than just a way to advertise your business to new clients. Used properly, it is a way for people to get to know you and your business better and for you to communicate with your clients between the times that they see you in person.
You can use Twitter to source and ‘Tweet’ links to articles that would interest your clients.
People can either just ‘Follow’ you and enjoy the resources you connect them with, or they may even tweet back to you and have short conversations so you can interact – albeit limited to 140 characters.
If you hold client functions you can also keep people updated on dates and venues etc by using Twitter and Facebook for example.
Your company Facebook page or Pinterest board can keep clients in the touch with what’s happening in your office – pictures of your office move, your events or even your staff karaoke night will allow them to feel like they are a part of your life. Even better, you could invite your clients to post their holiday pictures, or their retirement pictures to your Facebook page or comment on your page when they’re enjoying one of the goals you helped them achieve.
You can use LinkedIn to engage in conversations in various groups that might interest your clients. You could be an advocate for them, or also show that you are interested in what’s important to them outside your office. Of course, this works best when you’re working in a particular client niche, so you don’t need to follow matters in 1,000 different groups!
You might decide to write a blog – either about financial matters, or perhaps something totally unrelated, and yet important to many of your clients.
If the large majority of your clients are retirees who love to travel you could do a great blog on Life Begins at Retirement.
Or you could blog about things that are of interest to you outside of financial matters. Your clients and others will be able to use the blog to connect with you on a non-business level.

Care!

A couple of final comments on social media. To be successfully engaged in it requires substantial time and effort.  Done well it can be a highly effective tool in bringing new clients to your business and retaining existing clients. However, if left unattended for lengthy periods, your audience can disengage from your sporadic posts and tweets. Notwithstanding, we believe that social media will increasingly become a vital way for financial services businesses to market to both new and existing clients.

In this 3 part series of articles we have addressed five ways that you can deepen your client relationships and improve your engagement with them. We have addressed:

  • Embedding processes into your practice to achieve continuity
  • How to can make the potential new client’s first impression of you really positive and how to start building your client relationship before they meet you
  • Using video to really engage with your prospective and existing clients
  • How to deliver high levels of personal, tailored, service and that your focus really is on the client
  • Some ways to use Social Media to create and deepen your client relationships.

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Note: The accreditation for this CPD article is no longer current. Please visit our CPD section for current CPD quizzes

 

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