IN Daily Opinion/Column

Service levels: Getting the message out

Feb 23, 2010 @ 9:52 am

By Maureen Wilke

I was reminded yesterday of the importance of communication — in an unusual way — as I checked out of a hotel in Miami where I was attending a meeting. I noticed that the person standing next to me looked familiar. Turns out it was John Travolta, who was in Miami filming a movie. He looked at me, smiled and had his friend or bodyguard snap a picture of me with him.

To be sure, I don't have a business relationship with John Travolta. But in a sense, I'm a customer in that I pay to see his movies. He knows that, and whether he's truly as nice as he seems (and he did seem genuinely nice), he took the time to snap a photo with me and in the process made me a fan for life. In fact, by taking a moment out of his day, he communicated to me and everyone who was milling around that his fans are very important and he has time for them. Keep that message in mind when you are communicating with your clients, because you want them to rave about you, too.

Every touch makes a difference and reminds clients of your value.

One successful adviser in California realized that his clients couldn't enumerate and didn't understand the services his practice delivered that contributed to their financial and personal success. While he had a brochure and website to explain what he did, he never promoted these tools to his best clients or even explained his services in his discussions. When he realized he was missing an important opportunity, he began to include his branding statement in e-mails and his quarterly newsletter.

Even if you think your clients understand what you do for them, it's important that you remind your best clients of the value you bring to them. You're not going to offend them by tooting your own horn; they're probably too busy to notice all the high-level services you bring to them. Also, be sure to celebrate and share the ways you have helped clients and made a difference. Now is the time.

Here are few tips to execute your plan and measure results:

 Commit to a quarterly review during the last week of each quarter (put it on your calendar right now).

 Identify three communications that need to happen each quarter.

 Assign team roles and responsibilities – have job descriptions, goals and specific responsibilities for each team member. Hint: One adviser tied quarterly bonuses to each team member's ability to attain the practice's overall goals. The result was that every member developed a sense of ownership and excitement.

Need more? These three client messages require little or no time commitment and position the value of your practice.

1. Create a quarterly e-mail newsletter with a perspective on the markets, risk management or Roth IRA conversion information. Call your key wholesalers this week for an approved newsletter or see the MMI's website for an industry white paper on risk management.

2. Send a checklist for clients on the Roth IRA conversion opportunity to help clients determine if they qualify. Again, leverage any resources your wholesalers have available on this subject that have been approved by your firm's compliance department. Even if clients don't qualify, they may have family and friends who do.

3. E-mail top clients your communication, seminar and event calendar for the year. Proactive communications to clients reinforces how you are helping them achieve their goals and keep them in mind; clients often leave a practice due to lack of communication. This calendar can be a great referral tool.

SIGN-UP FOR THE STAY CONNECTED NEWSLETTER TODAY for client retention, referrals and asset gathering strategies and best practices.

Register for the Stay Connected newsletter and keep taking your practice to the next level.


What do you think?

View comments

Upcoming event

Oct 22


San Francisco Women Adviser Summit

The InvestmentNews Women Adviser Summit, a one-day workshop now held in six cities due to popular demand, is uniquely designed for the sophisticated female adviser who wants to take her personal and professional self to the next level.... Learn more

Most watched


Young professionals see lots of opportunity to reinvent the advice experience

Members of the 2019 InvestmentNews class of 40 Under 40 have strategies to overcome the challenges of being young in a mature industry.


Young advisers envision a radically different business in five years

Fintech and sustainable investing are two factors being watched closely by some of the 2019 class of InvestmentNews' 40 Under 40.

Latest news & opinion

New Jersey fiduciary rule: Pressure leads to public hearing, comment deadline extension

Industry push results in chance to air grievances on July 17 and another month to present objections.

InvestmentNews' 2019 class of 40 Under 40

Our 40 Under 40 project, now in its sixth year, highlights young talent in the financial advice industry. These individuals illustrate the tremendous potential of those coming up in the profession. These stories will surprise, entertain, educate and inspire.

Galvin to propose fiduciary rule for Massachusetts brokers

The secretary of the commonwealth is proposing a fiduciary standard in response to an SEC investment-advice rule he views as too weak.

Summer reading recommendations from financial advisers

Here are some books that will keep you informed and entertained during summer's downtime

4 strategies for Roth conversions

There's never been a better time to do a Roth conversion, and here are several ways to go about it.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print