High touch in a high-tech worldArticle added by Steven Plewes on February 6, 2012
Steven A. Plewes

Steven Plewes

Joined: February 06, 2012

With the countless technological mediums you can use to communicate today, the challenge lies in being conscious of the need for face time with your clients and prospects.

It is tempting to believe if you’ve sent an email or mailed a newsletter to your clients, then you’ve done your part in communicating. Not so. Setting up informal meetings with your clients, even if no business is discussed, makes a big impression as more and more technologies are introduced. The more high-tech things get, the more valuable being high touch becomes.

And I’ve learned you don’t need clever gimmicks or special tricks to achieve success in the financial services industry. After more than 30 years in the business, I’ve discovered I am best at earning the trust of clients and prospects simply by talking with them in person.

When you get in front of people, you receive energy and can gauge their interest. In turn, they get energy from you. Sometimes working on being the type of person your clients and prospects trust and are comfortable with is worth more than all the brochures and other third-party materials. Simplify your process.

Effective marketing is also key. While most people would say the intention of marketing is to generate leads and prospects, to me it is the process of creating an environment where people can recognize that they need what you have.

That’s different than trying to convince someone they need what you have. It’s creating an environment that even encompasses your office. If you’ve been quoted or recognized for something meaningful in your community, make sure it is displayed.

Even the most subtle things can help people feel good about doing business with you. I’ve created a wall of recognition in my workplace that basically highlights my involvement. I also keep a bowl of thank you cards and notes of gratitude clients have sent my practice over the years in the reception area.

And, in the same area, I have a digital picture frame with images of my clients in retirement. The photos show my clients wind surfing and mountain climbing — all sorts of bucket list types of activities they’re enjoying in retirement. Prospects coming in for initial appointments always ask me who the people in the picture frame are. When I tell them they’re clients in retirement, they feel encouraged. They see I’ve helped countless others into retirement and feel I will do the same for them.

Beyond making an effort in person and creating an environment, I’m a big proponent of finding your strength and honing it. I’ve learned spending time trying to improve on a business practice that just isn’t natural to you really won’t help you grow your business in the long run.

Instead, take some time to determine your greatest skill. Consider asking your current clients why they enjoy working with you to learn more about your strengths.
Many advisors avoid face-to-face interaction because of a lack of confidence, particularly those newer to the business. How can this be overcome?

I’ve discovered that as my competence improved, my confidence followed suit. In other words, if I focused in areas where I knew what I was talking about, I was extremely confident. And when I was confident, I was more inclined to get in front of someone. Choosing a specialty in this business that comes naturally to you and you’re passionate about will further your competence and increase your confidence.

Because I’ve realized I do my best work simply by talking with people, I conduct small-group discussions, usually with current clients and their co-workers who they feel would benefit from speaking with me. I put together a four-point conversation with statistics on the topic of retirement and we talk in a much less formal setting than a seminar.

It costs me nothing; all I have to do is show up. And, a qualified source — my client — is offering me immediate referrals. And these prospects almost always set up a one-on-one meeting with me following our introductory chat. It’s basic, but it works.

Being high touch, making your clients and prospects feel special, and finding your niche are all necessary to achieving success in this business. At the end of the day, what really cements everything together for the long term is the relationship. Making solid connections with your clients will get you through a lot of tough times, whether it be markets or life events. Break away from the pack and be the difference so many people are looking for today.
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