How To Personalize Your Client-Advisor Relationships

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 10:23

How To Personalize Your Client-Advisor Relationships

In last week’s blog post, we covered three important ways to improve the client-advisor relationship. These suggestions were based on a 2020 study on the future of client-advisor relationships, conducted by The American International Group (AIG) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab that reported the indicators that mean the most in matters of client trust and satisfaction: professional expertise, understanding of financial and life goals, and the ability to explain things.  

As we explored those requirements for satisfaction, one key takeaway was that it is crucial for Exit Planning Advisors to expand the conversation to include more genuine and personal topics to deliver more value to clients. Conversation is particularly important when there are so many considerations that business owners must evaluate when looking for an advisor that will help them reach their exit goals.  

This same study, which looked at clients of financial professionals between ages 30 –75, also revealed some statistics that show what specific topics are viewed as most important in the future of client-advisor conversations. In this post, we will go over the survey’s top three areas of heightened client attention and priority as they relate to Exit Planning:  

  1. Health & Security  

  1. Wealth & Lifestyle  

  1. Family & Loved Ones  

Health & Security   

The study found that when it comes to personal health, clients are most concerned about the expenses that might arise as a result. In addition, while not a topic frequently discussed with an advisor, it was found that fraud prevention and identity protection were items that were top-of-mind for clients of all ages.  

In the business landscape, there are a variety of unexpected events or circumstances that could have a drastic impact on an owner’s business, especially events that are related to health and security. As an Exit Planning Advisor, these topics are especially important because they can lead to further discussions on contingency planning and preparing clients for “what if” situations. Whether the business owner was to fall ill, or the business has some sort of security breach, having a plan in place that creates a system of prevention and recovery from these threats is crucial.  

Welcoming and encouraging conversation surrounding health and security will help to cover all the bases for the business, as well as help owners to feel that these topics are important to you as the Exit Planning Advisor.  

Wealth & Lifestyle  

When it comes to a business owner's wealth and desired lifestyle, it is important to get to the root of what they want their life to look like after they exit their company and what their values-based goals are. Sparking conversation on financial plans for retirement, current money management, future goals and aspirations (to include job transitions and new careers) are all topics that will help you deepen your relationship with clients.  

For an Exit Planner, especially those who use BEI’s EPIC Planning software to map out Exit Plans, these topics are incredibly important in the first two steps of the Exit Planning Process. How clients respond to questions about their desired retirement plans and post-exit aspirations, as well as the current value of the business and its current and projected cash flow, heavily determines the timeline and tools best suited to their Exit Plan. It also gives the Exit Planning Advisor an idea of what the business owner values most and what asset gap might need to be overcome in order to achieve those values-based goals.  

The Role of the Advisor in the Creation of an Exit Plan

Family & Loved Ones  

Particularly in the generation of younger clients, there is now more acceptance and preference of communication regarding the client’s family and loved ones. A client’s relationship with an Exit Planning Advisor spans the course of several years and it would be disadvantageous to the advisor to ignore matters related to their client’s family health, finances, and potential expenses as it could affect the business owner's exit goals and involvement.  

From taking a back seat in the business to care for a family member, to budgeting for their child to attend college, or dealing with family friction, there are a variety of situations that are important to have on the radar when it comes to mapping out the details of an Exit Plan. The ultimate goal of an Exit Planning Advisor is to ensure that their business owner client is able to make the most out of their lives’ work. This means it’s important to get to know both their work, and their life, on a very personal level.  

Conclusion:  

“Having discussions about a more holistic set of topics that move beyond purely financial can be important to clients and may strengthen the bond, AIG & MIT AgeLab reported. “Broadening the conversation carries more positive potential than negative risks to relationships and can have a significant role in deepening client relationships over time.” 

Most advisors are comfortable with conversations that stick to business, especially within their area of expertise. However, in a social landscape that begs for deeper connection, business owners, especially younger business owners, will appreciate and respect an effort to form deeper, more meaningful relationships. 

The topics mentioned in this post fall outside the realm of traditional conversations between clients and business advisors. Broaching these topics with intention and genuine interest will ensure you are your client’s first call in any situation that may affect their business.  

Ready to dive in? Schedule a meeting with the BEI team today to get the tools to start having personalized conversations with clients.