by Trish Gottesman
One of the easiest ways to up your client service game is by talking to your clients about the next generation. After all, in many cases, your client’s children impact the family’s financial plan. College funding? Wedding planning? Business succession planning? The list goes on. Helping your clients plan with an eye toward their kids isn’t just a best practice, it’s best practice insurance.
Second Generation in the First Conversation
When building a relationship with a new client, establish a relationship with his/her children as well. This will help develop the necessary connection you need with potential recipients of your client’s wealth. By cultivating such relationships early, you can assist your clients with estate concerns and provide additional insight on potential investment options. A quick introductory call may also yield insight into what keeps your clients up at night, e.g. a child’s tuition payments, a new grandchild on the way, mortgage payments on a vacation home, etc.
Another reason for including the next generation early is to lay the groundwork for your future business. If a client has an existing plan in place that transitions assets away from your book of business, this is the time to find out and provide input to preserve your relationship. The old saying, “it’s easier and cheaper to keep a client than to find a new one” applies in this situation.
Simple ways to Create and Maintain the Relationship
Connecting with your clients and the important people in their lives on LinkedIn is a great way to passively maintain a relationship. Linking in through the internet allows for easy access to your contact information, and it allows you to easily provide “thought leadership” without a pitch.
A monthly newsletter containing relevant information that can be pulled from your company library is another way to increase your value. Stay away from the sales pitch – the second generation may not be in your target yet. Offer valuable information for FREE, and lay the groundwork for a profitable portfolio transition.
If you’re already in the practice of sending brief handwritten notes to clients when they hit a milestone, add one more to the pile. It doesn’t have to be overly heartfelt or “salesy.” Just simply check in to say that you enjoy your relationship with their parents. Want to make it even more memorable? Splurge on custom notecards that showcase YOUR brand and real stamps. By postal mailing a custom notecard, you not only share that you are willing to take the time to connect, but you stand out from the canned direct mailers and bills that plug up mailboxes.
Here’s my personal story about how my parent’s advisor became mine
My financial advisor called me after a first client meeting with my parents a couple of years ago. During that initial call, my advisor introduced himself and he immediately started building a personal report. He wasn’t trying to “sell” his services, rather, he wanted to introduce himself to my parent’s daughter and make sure I had his contact information for my records. He offered to chat about my current financial plan but he didn’t push.
I ended up calling him a couple of months later as I had been thinking about my own financial plan. By then, my parents had given me their approval as did the family friend who referred him to my parents. I had done my research on him and vetted my options. Today, we talk twice a year for no more than 30 minutes in which he answers my questions and I update him on any changes in my life (career, family, etc.). While I’m not his biggest client (by FAR), I trust him and I know my financial goals are in good hands. I am confident my advisor is working for me, which means by implementing his financial advice, I know my investments will only grow and thus, so will his!