Engaging prospective clients requires earning their trust and respect in order to win their business.
“Different clients are concerned about different things,” advises Terry Kirby, senior vice president at Franklin Templeton Investments Corp. in Toronto. Kirby says this means developing a deep understanding of their objectives and expectations as well as getting clients to appreciate how you can help them accomplish their financial goals.
Doing this involves a lot of two-way dialogue, hand-holding, regular communication and updates. It also involves educating them about what you have to offer, Kirby says. “You must have as many face-to-face meetings as possible,” Kirby says, in order to persuade clients to work with you.
Here are some steps to consider when engaging with prospective clients:
1. Sharing insights
Once you’ve connected with clients, discuss the products and services you offer and how you will work with them to meet their expectations, says Kirby. He recommends sharing insights about your strategies and how they fit with the client’s objectives. Kirby also suggests discussing various investment themes and topical issues that might be interest. Provide clients with specific tools that make it easy and efficient for them to achieve their objectives.
2. Find synergies
Find out as much as possible about clients’ objectives and how they are currently striving to achieve them. Kirby advises that you determine their “hot buttons,” time constraints and risk tolerance. You should then try to find points that mesh your capabilities with their objectives, he suggests. It’s important to recognize differences in clients’ objectives: for example, some might be concerned about volatility while others are more focused on income streams.
3. Nurture the relationship
It might be necessary to have several meetings with clients. Use education as a tool in follow-up meetings, advises Kirby. For instance, provide clients with relevant research, information on the merits of different strategies and proprietary reports, suggests Kirby. Your goal is to impress upon clients that you are at the “top of your game” and that you are driven to achieve positive results.
4. Maintain on-going communication
Kirby advises that you communicate with clients on an on-going basis. He advises that you be honest and transparent and be prepared to discuss any issues that might have arisen since you made your initial presentation to them. For example, market conditions might have changed and you may need to address underperformance of specific strategies. Provide clients with options in terms of the meeting format: for instance, do they prefer in person, telephone or online meetings?
5. Make the engagement mutually beneficial
Your client engagement strategy should be mutually beneficial. It should feel less like a sales initiative and more like establishing a partnership. The feedback you receive from the client will allow you to listen to what they are saying, while giving you an opportunity to make them comfortable that you understand what they are saying. This can boost their confidence and create a ‘win-win’ situation for both you and the client.