Irrespective of the personality profile it is important to ensure that when you are building relationships you follow some of the following:
- Remember extend the hand of friendship first and make it clear that you are not looking for a once off sale, but that you want to start working on a long-term business relationship. Important you need to do these actions, rather than telling the client.
- We know that many clients have similar needs, but to make the assumption that all clients need the same solution, will lead to single need selling, which is not relationship marketing. When speaking to clients or asking questions, remember to LISTEN to their answers and always listen for what is different. What makes this client unique and different? Focus on that and you will be proving that you are interested in your client.
- You cannot expect to meet a client at a first meeting and that they will listen to and do everything you suggest, you must allow the relationship to develop and earn the right to give advice. Make sure advice is being sought.
- It is important to always say what you mean or believe, when dealing with clients. This honesty is one of the major building blocks of an intermediary / client relationship.
- When dealing with a very aggressive, impatient client who was demonstrating driver behaviour, who wanted me to just do the deal without all this financial planning red tape, I made the decision to tell him, very politely, that unless I was going to be allowed to follow the correct financial planning process, I suggested he find another planner. Unfortunately my professional ethics would not allow me to compromise my position in this matter. He was a little taken aback, gave a little smile, asked how much time I was going to need and did the business with me.
- The professional does not try to pretend that they know everything, and it is important to know when to ask for help from a specialist or expert and who to ask.
- Show genuine appreciation for the business, and, that the client has agreed to allow you to be their intermediary. This does not mean you should try to flatter with false praise.
The trust relationship will grow over time rather than appears suddenly. It is based on rational thought that balances up behaviour and activities, as well as the emotional aspect of people simply liking each other.
The relationship always is two way and you as the intermediary may be doing everything right from your perspective and unless the client wants the relationship it will never exist or develop.
Elements that grow trust
Focus on the CLIENT
The first rule of building relationship with clients is to show with everything you do and say that you are focussed on the client’s needs and everything else is secondary.
If you take care of the client’s needs then everything else will take care of it.
Meet the client’s needs and you will meet your needs:
- Personal revenue targets;
- Personal career goals;
- Company targets and goals.
If you focus on Personal Revenue Goals, Career Goals or Company Goals at you client expense you MAY have short-term success but you will not be a professional, trusted or complaint intermediary.
“Get them to know your credentials but do not appear to be boasting” - The Trusted Intermediary - Maister/Green/Galford
The opportunity to be forced to prove your credibility without the appearance of boasting is created by RDR and FAIS with the requirement to disclose your financial planning status, level of competence, professional membership and other information in the required Disclosure Document.
You have an opportunity to point out to the client that you are:
- Member of the Financial Planning Institute as a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) or FSA™ (Financial Services Adviser) or AFP™ (Associate Financial Planner) or RFP™ (Registered Financial Planner);
- What courses you has attended or what formal qualifications you have;
- What products you are qualified or certified to market;
- What companies you can market for;
- Which major company you are a registered representative for – Who is backing your advice.
Be prepared – have the knowledge, skills, attitude, resources and financial planning techniques - so that you can deliver the service and planning that the client need, while always delivering on your promises. Never appear to be betraying the client’s confidences. Always under promise and over deliver!
Appropriate intimacy is required when developing a strong professional relationship. This requires a fair amount of courage on the part of the trusted intermediary to be prepared to open up, begin the process of developing this relationship. It is important to always test if you are moving the process and growing the relationship too quickly. This can make the client uncomfortable and this is not the objective of this exercise.
Successful Salesmanship ©