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Turn clients into ‘extended sales team’

Referrals are becoming increasingly important for securing business and planners should implement strategies to maximise lead and retention potential, says business coach Nathan Williams.

The relatively poor performance of equity markets, regulatory environment and negative mainstream media coverage have led to consumers becoming more cynical about financial advice, making referrals more important, Williams told ifa.

“Now that planners are compelled to be transparent about their fees and service offerings they need to develop skills around how to have that conversation and how to get outcomes from clients that most advantages them,” he said.

“This means having a system in place to really get productive feedback from clients and ensure there is proactive contact going on.”

Williams, who is managing director of referral specialist Customer Return, describes client feedback as the “cornerstone of professionalism” and cites Securitor research that indicates only 15 per cent of financial advisers are implementing regular client feedback procedures.

However, receiving positive feedback from clients is only half the job, Williams said. Planners need to ensure that feedback leads to referrals and new business.

“The goal is to make clients ambassadors, part of your extended sales team,” he said.

In order to turn clients into ambassadors they must be provided with training and become educated about your value proposition and service offering, he advised.

Before that can take place, planners must first “earn the right to have that conversation,” he warned, through strong communication, results and relationship building.