Gradually, the financial services industry is starting to warm up to social media and its applications for marketing. However, the social media platforms that you use to connect with prospects can also be applied later in the sales cycle, when they are your clients and you are offering them ongoing service and support.
Now there is a greater push for financial advisors and other organizations to use social media to gather client feedback and gain insight on demands for future products.
“You’re trying to discover what a customer’s vision and goals are,” Chris Carfi, a strategist for an engagement consultancy, told CIO magazine. “You might be trying to help a customer with a particular challenge or technical issue, but it’s the conversation that will help you diagnose the root cause. These types of conversations will help an organization get to a place where they can help the customer do whatever it is the customer wants to do.”
Social media can also afford you opportunities to stay up-to-date on your clients’ lives and maintain contact in between official meetings and other, more formal interactions. But as the magazine points out, social should only be seen as a supplement to, not substitution for, your ongoing efforts to build customer relationships and amass client capital.
As you work with clients, listen for trust-building opportunities where you can prove your value and your willingness to go above and beyond expectations. In The Entrepreneurial Journey, Norm Trainor tells the story of Barbara Poole, a financial advisor who had been running her business and making $65,000 per year, but who was constantly overworked and was not expanding her company.
One of her clients, Raymond Stiller, was tough, preoccupied, and though happy with her service, did not seem receptive to her earlier efforts to deepen the advisor-client relationship. One day, she saw her opportunity to add to client capital – Raymond’s growing business needed a larger space, but he was too busy to find a suitable location.
Barbara realized that she could connect another client who was a commercial real estate agent – Dave Wylie – with Raymond. After the deal was finally closed, Raymond had much more respect for Barbara, and Dave was also doing more business with her.
How do you combine communication channels when interacting with clients and offering them value-added service? Do you seek to make meaningful connections via social media and in-person meetings? Are you regularly looking for new ways to support your clients, even on issues that don’t directly relate to your business?