I came upon a funny quote by Woody Allen recently.  “If my films make one more person miserable, I'll feel I have done my job.”  This is a director who clearly knows his audience.  But how well do you know the audience that helps you drive growth in your practice?  What makes these clients tick and what’s important to them on a day-to-day basis?

In our approach to business development and marketing, we talk about Relationship Quality where you truly “know” your relationships and over time build promoters for your business.  That means you know who your fans are, and systematically collect and capture sufficient information about them – their hobbies and personal interests, affiliations, philanthropic interests, communication preferences, and more -- that can be leveraged in building long-term deeper relationships.

How do you go about this?   In working with advisors, we came up with an approach that helps them consistently focus on the steps that are essential to driving deeper engagement.  We call it the “3 Cs” approach - Collect, Capture, Capitalize - designed to:

  • Collect the right information,
  • Capture it in an easily accessible place, typically your CRM system and
  • Capitalize on the key insights to shape your conversations and tactics when connecting with your primary audiences.

The Approach

It’s important to gather a variety of information about your clients, prospects, and center of influence (COI) relationships. This means not only asking the obvious basic business questions around financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences, but also the more exploratory questions to identify key areas that are important in their personal lives. It’s not unusual for advisors to assume that they already know everything about their clients, especially if they’ve been working with them for a long time. Put those assumptions aside and try to dig deeper so you can get to the root of each answer.

Advisors should remain curious about the people they serve and care about the things that are important to them. Even if you’ve known your client for a long time, try to find new areas of interest and new questions to ask that may help open additional doors of opportunity. You should also extend your interest to members of a client’s family, including children and grandchildren. Not only will this approach help illustrate your attentiveness, but it may also help you establish relationships with the next generation in the family.

At Fidelity, we provide our advisors with an extensive set of questions they can use to uncover hidden gems of information. Here are just a few examples:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Where did you go to school and why?
  • Where do/did members of your family go to school?
  • What are your hobbies, and, (if applicable,) your children’s hobbies?
  • What are your priorities for your children outside of financial stability?
  • What are your philanthropic or volunteer interests or goals?
  • - What are the names and birthdays of the members of your immediate family?

Many times, an advisor’s client relationship management (CRM) system contains only basic information - names, addresses, and possibly portfolio objectives. It rarely includes specific information about the client’s personal life and goals. Even if an advisor knows his or her client intimately, the details don’t necessarily make it into the firm’s CRM system.

But when clients call, it’s critical that they feel “known” by everyone they interact with throughout your firm. If you record what you learn and share it with others on your team, any member of your organization with access to your CRM system can assist your clients and make them feel comfortable.

In addition, as you compile information about a client’s interests, you may begin to see themes that may inform additional engagement opportunities..

The fruits of your labor truly come together in Capitalize.  It is here that you get to leverage the knowledge you’ve gained and put it to use to develop stronger relationships.  Let’s look at an example: