How to Host Targeted Client Seminars

Beverly Flaxington

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We are embarking on a series of workshops targeted to different markets. We are focusing on a few dedicated areas. We use a certain investment philosophy. It really doesn’t matter whether the client is – for example – a retired doctor or a young career woman. We follow market movements and allocate based on client concerns and needs. In these workshops, how can we say that we change things for different market segments?

Name withheld

Dear Financial Advisor,

Why are you doing the targeted workshops? I get the sense from reading your inquiry that someone else told you to do so, and you are going along – but not willingly! That said, I am a big proponent of creating educational and networking events around interests that clients may have, or similarities in their styles or backgrounds. Of course, not all retired doctors have the same issues and concerns, but there is something we humans like about being in an environment with our peers. It makes people more comfortable to open up if they think they are understood.

You needn’t change your basic presentation or the way you talk about your investment philosophy. You do what you do and that’s what makes you different from your competition.

What you can – and should – do is to convey the information so that the audience connects. This can be as simple as using a case study (without names, of course) about a retired doctor. Share the issues they dealt with and how your approach resolved them. You should include language in your presentation or on your slides that appeals to the audience. Talk about the number or percentage of clients you have with similar attributes.

Adults learn information best when they can filter it through a lens they recognize. If you talk to people using language they relate to, telling stories they can see themselves in and acknowledging what matters to them, people will be much more responsive to what you are saying.

Dear Bev,

Last week our largest client left the firm. They were frustrated by our “lack of communication” and felt we did not respond in a timely manner to their needs. My team knows that we aim to turn around client requests in one business day. I think the client was entirely unreasonable and left for other reasons that he didn’t want to share with me. How should I follow up with him to see how it is working with his new advisor?

Name withheld

Dear Financial Advisor,

First, my sincere condolences. Not only is there a financial ramification, but your note implies that you are emotionally upset about this too – and rightly so! I get the sense you are proud of your staff and hold everyone to high standards, so this feels very unfair.

I agree that it makes a lot of sense to stay in touch with this now ex-client. Things do change and people’s impressions can change as they have different experiences.

It never makes sense to argue with the client that his impressions were wrong. We all have our own view and sometimes we don’t use facts and data; we interpret things the way we need them to be or would like them to be. If he wanted an excuse to leave, he is going to find fault no matter what your staff did or didn’t do.

But, keep him on your mailing list. Tell him you are going to call him once in a while to see how it going. Let him know you do care about him as a person and that you want to be sure whatever he does next, it works for him.

Put your feelings aside and focus on his needs. When we sincerely do that, people feel it from us and respond in kind. Sometimes it is not easy, but it pays off in the long run.

Beverly Flaxington co-founded The Collaborative, a consulting firm devoted to business building for the financial services industry in 1995; in 2008 she co-founded Advisors Trusted Advisor to offer dedicated practice management resources to advisors, planners and wealth managers. She is currently an adjunct professor at Suffolk University teaching undergraduate students Leadership & Social Responsibility. Beverly is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA).

She has spent over 25 years in the investment industry and has been featured in Selling Power Magazine and quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal,, Investment News and Solutions Magazine for the FPA. She speaks frequently at investment industry conferences and is a speaker for the CFA Institute.

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