Recently we have been doing quite a lot of work around client engagement. By engagement I mean getting clients to be engaged with their long-term financial planning on an ongoing basis. Nailing client engagement can be tricky at the best of times but it can be particularly challenging for financial advice businesses.
Most advisers are looking to hold on to the profitable clients they have, at the same time as generating leads for new clients. So how exactly do you get clients, and prospects, to engage with financial planning on an ongoing basis?
Two key challenges are that many financial plans, may not actually come to fruition for a decade or two, or even three, and many clients can’t picture themselves (or don’t want to) in twenty or thirty years’ time. It’s all to do with tangibility and emotional engagement.
If we take banking, (not from a financial advice point of view I hasten to add) it’s far easier to engage with clients – everyday banking helps people service their day-to-day needs: homes, cars, food, clothes, holidays, luxuries etc. On the other hand longer term investments can feel more like putting money into a bottomless pit, with no tangible gain until some form of income is taken or large purchase is made.
Everyday banking solutions by their nature are far more tangible and what’s more, clients are engaging daily with them – through every purchase they make, as well as keeping track easily via mobile apps. So, how do we achieve the same for financial planning where the tangible gain may not be felt for some ten, twenty, thirty or even forty years?
It’s not uncommon for advisers to have clients with tens, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds invested one way or another, but they find it difficult to get them to engage! It can be like pushing water up a hill. It’s easy to stop trying to engage these clients and put them in the ‘lost cause’ pile.
Bryony Thomas, in her book, Watertight Marketing, introduces the concept of the “Logic Sandwich” where emotion and logic play different roles at different stages of the buying, or decision making, process. At the start emotion plays the key role, before moving into a more logic driven decision making process, before finishing with the emotional need for confirmation that you’ve made the best decision. Advisers can be great at the logical and technical content, but sometimes aren’t so good at the emotional piece of the puzzle.
To overcome this, think about how you can engage your clients emotionally and be sure to bring what your proposition offers to life in the clients mind. An example I saw recently was a simple call out box with the message that saving a little more each month could make the difference between the retirement you’ve always wanted and a retirement spent worrying how to make ends meet.
This simple message strikes an emotional chord and is also tangible. A comfortable retirement is something that is likely to be important to the client making it emotionally engaging and tangible. All of a sudden the client becomes more engaged with financial planning for their future. Make sure all your communications have emotional and tangible aspects to help with client engagement.