During the past few months, we have all ridden an emotional rollercoaster, with ups, downs, loops and lots of adrenaline. Business continuity plans have proved essential and readiness to deploy, monitor and adapt have become the necessary norm. But this is also a time when client and prospect engagement is paramount to the sustainability and growth of your investment firm’s business.
With that in mind, we are sharing our Three E’s for building deeper connections with clients and prospects: Empathy, Engagement and Ease.
The simple act of reaching out to clients with interest in their well-being can build emotional equity. Take the time to actively listen to concerns and be consultative as they focus on their future, both professional and personal. Your empathy can calm and reassure while creating partnership and commitment.
- Create and execute a plan to connect. Develop a plan with the frequency and content of your outreach, while taking into account each client’s preferred method of communication. Populate your calendar or client relationship management (CRM) software with your plan. Then put this plan into action.
- Be sincere in your outreach. Perfunctory communications are easy to detect and will not build empathy. Be genuine.
- Document conversations. Your plan should incorporate ongoing outreach. Take notes so you can follow up accordingly.
- Share stories that build commonality. Your clients and prospects have different needs, so it’s important to tailor what you share. For some, you may want to share stories that illustrate a move from surviving to thriving. For others, stories that demonstrate fundamental commonality with communities and peers to let them know they are not alone.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Ensure that your communications are direct, productive and useful. Be mindful of clients’ time.
- Make meetings effective. Create and send an agenda prior to your meeting. Then follow up with agreed-upon actions, next steps or a simple summary of your discussion.
- Leverage digital resources. Virtual face-to-face meetings can be very powerful. At Ultimus, we have seen our face-to-face virtual connectivity lead to effective brainstorming and idea sharing. Through virtual calls with clients, we’ve helped shape new product discussions and new marketing strategies.
Use digital resources for more than virtual meetings. Also connect with clients and prospects by sharing social posts, podcasts, blog posts and interesting articles.
- Partner with clients on new strategies. Help clients recalibrate or create strategies that optimize their business or identify previously unseen opportunities. For example, as a fund administrator, Ultimus has worked recently with clients who’ve created new exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to diversify their asset gathering channels. Continue to discuss trends you are observing in the industry.
- Keep prospecting. Create dialogue continuity by actively and regularly reaching out to prospects. Data suggests it takes more touches to move someone to a decision during these highly unusual times. Be persistent. Don’t stop too soon.
Now, more than ever, clients welcome simplicity and ease as they engage with you for service and execution. Consider ways to simplify and enhance your clients’ experience.
- Conduct service audits to identify opportunities. Uncover areas for improvement. Identify —and then fix — points of frustration for clients.
- Develop your team’s skills. Arm your team with additional knowledge through online training on new applications or process improvements. Then think about how the skills can be applied to benefit the client experience. At Ultimus, for example, we are launching a professional coaching series to promote personal and professional growth; we believe this will have positive effects for clients too.
- Make it easy for clients to reach you. With many people continuing to work remotely, it’s critical for clients to feel connected. Your accessibility is important, as is your prompt response to emails and calls.
Engaging with clients and prospects is a journey and there are many more ways to enhance the experience than those discussed here. But we believe our Three E’s — Empathy, Engagement and Ease — go a long way to building trust equity with your clients as it has with ours. Trust is an essential component for turning prospects into clients and for maintaining healthy client relationships. Do the work. It will reap rewards.
8449 UFS 9/9/2020