How ‘Advocate Clients’ can grow your practice
By Ravi P. Rajpal
Insights like those in this article are collected from MDRT events like Annual Meeting or Global Conference and are accessible to all MDRT members globally.
Clients can be your strongest allies when working to grow your business. As you continue to build relationships with clients, they can then refer you to other people within their network. There is nothing more powerful than client testimonials to show prospects that your work is effective and helps others achieve their financial goals. We call these types of people “client advocates.”
An “advocate” is defined as “one who supports or promotes the interest of a cause or group.” So, what make a client an advocate? This is a client who promotes you in your absence and talks about how they benefit from your financial planning.
To help your clients become your advocate, become an advocate for them as well. Start by listening to their future financial plans. Based on their vision, you can develop strategies to help them increase their wealth and reach personal and financial goals.
Types of clients
There are many different clients you will work with, and you can categorize them into four types:
1. Advocate: A client who speaks about you in your absence
2. Loyal: A client who will hear other advisors but will do business with only you
3. Open to others: A client who will hear proposals from other advisors and do business with them as well
4. Risk: A client who you have decided not to do future business with or who has decided not to do business with you
You can also categorize clients based on their profession and annual income. This data can be helpful while networking with clients and prospects. Categories can also include prospects and close associates based on the relationships you share, area of work and assumed income.
These categories help define where a client may be in their professional relationship with you. Perhaps they have the potential to advocate for you, but it may take time and a little effort on your end.
Every month I allocate time to introduce my clients to each other, my friends’ associates and my contacts, based on their common interests and opportunity to benefit from the introduction. Here are a few examples of networking meetings and the domino effect they can create:
• While planning for three of my clients’ retirements who are working at the same company, I learned that their entire retirement depends on the equity shares they hold in their own eLearning company. I introduced them to my chartered accountant client and a couple of clients who lead private equity funds. My eLearning client was touched by my gesture. Through these connections, they sold their eLearning company for $210 million in 2020, and four of my clients each got $8 million in their hands to invest. The private equity fund introduced me to a large family of offices, knowing that I have such genuine connections. Building these connections helped me to qualify for MDRT in 2021. Now, they are my advocates and have introduced me to the new owners of their company and workforce of 9,000 employees.
• One of my clients has a child with special needs and worried, “If something happens to me, who will financially support my child?” I took this opportunity to take care of the client’s concern by meeting with a few clients who are lawyers. We identified how a trust could be made to financially safeguard the child. Next, this client became my advocate. This relationship helped me quality for MDRT’s Court of the Table in 2018. The client invested in lifetime endowment plans for the child and has blessed me with love, friendship and recommendations.
Creating opportunities for connections
Every three to five years I have a high tea or dinner party and invite clients for a networking event. I host this party to thank them for their trust, help them meet fellow clients and open opportunities for new financial planning. This allows me to be a connector and be seen as something beyond a financial advisor – I am someone fun and trusting. This strategy helps clients move beyond being satisfied with your work and leads to them advocating for your abilities as an advisor.
Beyond hosting events, there are other ways to build meaningful connections with clients. For one, always be sure that your intention is to increase their wealth, bring in value and take away their financial concerns. And to gain trust and stand out from the competition, find ways that are quick and impactful that touch, move and inspire your clients and prospects. Examples may include:
• Install financial apps that clients use on your office software and coach them on how to monitor their funds via the apps;
• Send resources for them to read about where their funds are invested, along with a comparison of competition;
• Purchase subscriptions to money magazines for their spouses and teenage children;
• Host seminars for their spouses and kids about how to monitor family wealth, encouraging them to invite friends as well;
• Invite clients to sessions related to savings;
• Create twelve touchpoints (opportunities to see or talk to clients) each year.
Having clients who advocate doesn’t happen by chance -- but by your dedicated efforts to show you are invested in their well-being. This is true both for what you can do for someone’s finances as well as what you can do for their overall lives.
Many of the examples provided above include opportunities to connect my clients with one another while taking special interest in their lives. If you can implement these ideas, you will have a line of potential clients piling up outside your door, and keep your current clients happy and financially secure and successful.
About the Author
Ravi D. Rajpal is a 17-year MDRT member and a speaker at the 2022 MDRT Annual Meeting in Boston. Rajpal is the founder of My Money Management, a financial planning and wealth management firm that specialize in serving as a financial coach and executing wills of their clients.
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