A Hidden Driver of Client Engagement

“I knew it!”

That was the thought that exploded inside my head (but which may have been out loud) when I uncovered something about client engagement that I suspected, but had not proven.

For many years I, among others, have said that when clients have a clear understanding of the value you provide – and can articulate that value – they can ‘refer better’. And that’s still true.

But there’s more.

It turns out that the most Engaged clients (those who not only provide all your referrals, but are among the most satisfied) are nearly twice as likely to say they understand the full the range of services that you provide. And, they are almost twice as likely to say that they could, if asked, clearly articulate the value that you provide.

You can see the substantial gaps on two key statements from our on-going research among high net worth clients.


Why Does It Matter?

A focus on driving client engagement matters because our research shows that Engaged clients:

  • have higher share of wallet
  • are more loyal
  • are more profitable
  • are less fee sensitive, and
  • have greater confidence and clarity about their own financial future

Client engagement is not only good for your clients, but for your business

A New Way to Define Your Value

So this is a big deal because driving engagement isn’t only about your growth but about creating a better experience for clients. That means that rather than assuming (or hoping) clients can articulate your value, you need to be intentional about the process.

The funny thing with value is that you can’t really tell someone what it is. They feel it and they experience it on their own terms.

You can “define your value” all you want to your clients. You can craft the perfect statement. You can put in on your wall and in your communications. You can share it one-on-one. But that statement will never be as meaningful as when they describe it to you.

We spend a lot of time trying to articulate our value and I don’t think that’s wasted effort. I believe, however, that we might invest too much time in putting words in our clients’ mouths rather than the other way around.

When clients write their own script to describe your value, it sticks and it gets shared.

If you’ve ever tried to deliver a presentation that someone else has written, you’ll know the difference. If the words are yours, it’s easy to remember what you are trying to communicate. If they are not, it’s more about memorization and let’s face it, there is no real motivation for your clients to memorize your version of a value statement.

Maybe it doesn’t matter that your clients are sharing different versions of the value you provide. Maybe, in fact, it’s a better idea.

Helping Clients to Articulate Your Value

To help clients write that script, ask them two simple questions (in person).

  1. If someone asked you what we do, how would you describe our services?
  2. If a friend asked you about the value of working together for all these years, what would you say?

Then stop. Be as quiet as possible and take good notes. Let them stop, start and ramble. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just real.

When that’s finished try summarizing it in a few sentences. “So what I’m hearing is…….”

If the summary process doesn’t come naturally to you, take some time and respond back in an email to ensure you captured the essence of what they said. Through that back and forth you’ve helped them articulate your value, in their words.

But here’s the magical part of all of that. As they are thinking about and articulating your value, the level of engagement is deepening because it’s a powerful reminder of everything that you do for your clients. And when all of that bubbles up to the surface, they not only feel more engaged but are more likely to share the message (and share it well).

Thanks for stopping by,

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2 Responses to A Hidden Driver of Client Engagement

  1. Josh Patrick July 4, 2019 at 8:33 pm #

    HI Julie,

    These two questions are great ones. I would say in general we need to ask more questions with our clients about what we do to see if they have a good understanding of the services we provide.

    The truth is most clients put us in a box. A challenge is to figure out how to get the box of what a client might think we do. Asking questions and helping them discover all the things we do is a good way to do this. This is especially true for advisors who offer many types of services and can deliver a high quality outcome in those many areas.

    • Julie Littlechild
      Julie Littlechild July 4, 2019 at 8:43 pm #

      Great points, thanks Josh.

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