Five Ways to Relate Better to Clients

Beverly FlaxingtonBeverly 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 Readers,

I received a call this week from a very good friend who has amassed a great deal of money and has been working with an advisor. But her family is very unhappy with the performance and, more importantly, they are unhappy with the way they have been treated. I happen to know the advisor well and was asked by this family to give a couple of references to other advisors who would be good alternatives.

Listening to the experience this family has had through their lens of being a client, I decided to give some broad-based coaching on areas advisors consistently overlook.

So here are Bev’s five best tips for improving your relational skills with your clients.

  1. Learn to self-reflect in a meaningful way. While most human beings can quickly point out their foibles and areas for improvement, I’ve consistently found with advisors that – in many cases – they believe themselves to be excellent listeners and communicators, when (in surveying their clients or talking to COIs) the truth is that the people on the other side do not perceive them as so. It can be hard in a client survey to ask whether your client perceives you as a good listener, but you certainly can have someone outside your firm do a qualitative interview to find this out – or ask your clients directly. Or ask team members. Or ask someone close to you. Seek to understand where you can improve. This isn’t about beating yourself up or uncovering more to work on, but it is about being honest about what might be holding you back.