“I understand the importance of emotionally connecting with clients, and you make a solid point for why this is crucial in relationship-building, but my challenge is how to organize all of this within my team,” lamented Terry. “Do you have any simple suggestions?”
Terry and I had been discussing client acquisition and the topic of emotional connectivity had come up. It was obvious that his team had yet to make this a priority. As I explained this to him, I noted that the upcoming holiday season is a perfect time to start and that he could start small with his top 25 clients and key COIs. Once he heard this, his expression was one of relief.
Our affluent research has been consistent and is quite clear on this topic – advisors who have established an emotional connection with their affluent clients rank higher in every statistically significant metric. I suggested he begin by surprising and delighting his clients, as it’s perfect for the season and his entire team can get involved. The beauty of surprise and delight (little personal gifts) is they activate oxytocin from a distance, which strengthens trust and stimulates word-of-mouth-influence (referrals).
Here are the 4 simple steps I shared with Terry to help build emotional connectivity with his clients, prospects, and COIs:
Step 1: Review all the information you have on each top 25 client and important COI. This includes names of family members, birthdays, graduations, sports, hobbies, anniversaries, pets, vacations, restaurants, and so on.
Step 2: Most likely you have enough information on most of your top clients to begin. However, make it a priority for every team member to gather personal information in every conversation. It’s not just for note-taking, it also serves to strengthen emotional connectivity. All that’s required is extending client conversations.
Remember: NEVER send clients any type of form to gather this type of personal information! This is mechanical and comes across as disingenuous – it’s a big no-no. Personal information must be gathered in a conversational, personal, manner.
Step 3: Select the right gift. The idea is to make it personal (which is usually inexpensive). I recently listened to one of our coaches tell how an advisor she was coaching acquired an affluent client within minutes of receiving a book about a winery in her hometown – she lived three states away and was “in tears.”
Step 4: Now you will institutionalize the power of emotional connectivity through surprise and delight into your team’s process by simply adding it as an agenda item to be discussed at your weekly team meeting. It’s a great time to check in on what’s been sent and to brainstorm future gifting opportunities. You can go a step further by setting a goal and tracking gifts sent each month.
Essentially, you’re encouraging everyone to become an emotional connectivity advocate, helping transform your top clients into ideal clients and increasing the referral flow from your COIs. From here your team will be ready to make face-to-face socializing a priority activity. The holiday season is perfect for both gifts and socializing – just make sure to make it personal!