5-minute Finance: What Motherhood Taught Me About Optimal Client Care
By SUNNY ISTAR LEE
As a mother of two sons, I’ve found that I can apply much of what I’ve learned from raising my kids to providing better care for my clients. Not only has this unique perspective set my practice apart, it’s helped me ensure my clients feel comfortable with me as well as confident in their financial future. Whether you’re a parent or not, there are a few simple takeaways I’ve learned that you can implement into your practice to provide your clients the best care possible.
Understand The Big Picture
Oftentimes, client’s financial goals might be short-sighted, but it’s our job to help them understand that what they do now can affect them 40 years into the future. To put concepts into relatable terms, I compare products like a 401(k) to my sons’ chores. While my sons don’t enjoy chores and would prefer not to do them, as someone with more perspective it’s my duty to help them see the bigger picture. I remind them that chores teach them hard work and habits for their future responsibilities and success. My sons are more likely to agree with me once they remember the future benefits. I’ve found that using this kind of simple metaphor helps my clients understand that it’s their prerogative to invest or not. However, if you can help them see what their future looks like with a healthy 401(k), they’ll be much more likely to agree and invest with you.
In that same vein, education is key. Ask questions to discern what your clients don’t understand and encourage them to voice their own concerns. The more they understand about the products you’re recommending, the more prepared and confident they’ll feel about their financial future. Taking time to invest in your clients’ financial education will also set you apart from advisors who simply recommend products and don’t explain further. If we educate our clients on how the products we recommend relate to their big-picture goals, clients will recognize why they need certain elements rather than feeling forced to buy a product they don’t fully understand.
Don’t Forget The Details
Even though the big picture is important, be intentional with the small things as well. I’ve found that the best way to make sure your clients continually feel cared for is to remember the details, regularly ask about their loved ones and follow up when you say you will. Make sure that you wish a client well on their birthday, or if a client’s daughter moves into a new house, send her a gift. It’s so important to keep an ongoing relationship with your clients and their families, and they should feel that you are sincerely invested in their well-being. In fact, they should almost feel like an extension of your own family.
I teach my sons ownership of their lives through a three step pattern I call “Remind, Routine, Reward.” This pattern is set in place to ensure follow-through, and I find that it works well with my clients too. For example, when you propose a new product for your client you’ll need to remind them why you’re proposing the product and how it helps them achieve their big-picture goals. The next step is the routine: they accept the product, sign the paperwork and return it to you. Once they’ve completed their routine, I make sure to provide a reward. This could be homemade cookies, a special Korean tea or a small gift. This pattern establishes that the client is valued while also ensuring they feel a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Caring for your clients involves respect, honor and strategy. Your goal is to be thorough and thoughtful in both their day-to-day life and their overarching goals. If you take the time to make sure your clients feel you are invested in them, their trust in you increases. They will feel confident you have their best interest in mind and that they’re well prepared for the future, no matter how unpredictable it may be.
(Featured on the AdvisorNews:)
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Sunny Istar Lee, a.k.a. “The Eagle Mom,” has been featured in LA Parent Magazine, AdvisorNews, Hedonist, on CBS News and many radio shows and podcasts. She is a founder and CEO of Good Life Advisors in Los Angeles and a Million Dollar Round Table member. Over the last few years, she has spoken to more than 30,000 people around the world about teaching children responsibility from a young age, and educated more than 2,000 underprivileged inner-city school students about financial literacy. Sunny is the author of six books including “Is Your Child a Money Master or a Money Monster?” www.moneymasterkids.co