When it comes to educational opportunities, you’re faced with a mind-boggling array of choice. Despite that, a majority of advisors still love conferences. That, according to new research I’m doing on the source of the best ideas and the biggest transformations for advisors.
In looking at the early results of that study, I was struck by a connection to client engagement. More specifically, there are three characteristics of conferences that tell us something important about engagement: questions, conversations and community. Part of the reason we love to go to these events (beyond having a legitimate reason to travel to great locations and stay at nice hotels) is because:
- Speakers raise (and hopefully answer) questions we haven’t thought of before; they help us look at the world through a different lens
- We have great conversations with peers who share ideas and challenges
- We feel like part of something bigger, a real community
As a result, conferences seem to engage us in a way that other educational activities do not. This got me thinking about how we might borrow some of that magic and create a similar impact for our clients, on a much simpler level.
I’m going to suggest that a quick client poll can create some of the same benefits as those conferences we love to attend.
What’s A Client Poll?
A client poll is a single question that you ask of your clients to tap into their thinking or feelings on a specific topic. Here are a few examples of questions that fall into different categories and how you might use the information.
1. Questions that tap into thinking on current topics
Q: We’ve all been reading a lot about cybersecurity threats in the media. How concerned are you about the safety of your personal data? (Response code: 1 = Not at all concerned and 5 = Very concerned.)
Using the information: For you, the results of this type of poll will help you determine if you need to provide education to clients on this topic, and ensures you’re seen as addressing important issues proactively. Clients will be interested to see how they compare to others.
2. Questions that open up conversations about real challenges
Q: How would you rate your level of concern with each of the following? (Response code: 1 = Not at all concerned and 5 = Very concerned for each one. Include ‘Not applicable’ as an option.)
- Leaving a financial legacy for a charity
- Caring for elderly parents
- Leaving a financial legacy for my children
- Ensuring my partner/spouse is taken care of should I pass away first
- Coping with a significant market downturn
- Maintaining sufficient assets to meet lifetime income needs
Using the information: For you, the results of this type of poll will help you understand what’s on the minds of your clients and where you need to focus your time. For clients, it will open up a discussion on an area where they could use some support (e.g., as an agenda item at the next review meeting).
3. Questions that support an effective client experience
Q: If you could attend just one educational event at our office this year, which of the following would you choose? (Response code: Please select one.)
- Keeping your personal data safe
- Social security planning
- Financial literacy for young adults
- Succession planning for business owners
- Investing fundamentals
- I’m not interested in attending educational events
Using the information: For you, the results of this type of poll will ensure that your client communication strategy is meaningful. For clients, it will create a sense of partnership (a light form of co-creating the client experience).
4. Questions that allows you to share ideas
Q: How did you teach your children to make good financial decisions? (Response code: open-ended)
Using the information: For you, the results will uncover potential gaps for some clients (e.g. they indicate they haven’t done a good job in this area). For clients, they can tap into ideas from other clients when you share the results.
5. Questions that are quirky
Q: When you think about retirement, what one word comes to mind? (You can provide a list or, better still, leave it open.)
Using the information: For you, this kind of poll will help inform your messaging. For clients, it poses a question that gets them thinking about the future.
How Can You Execute?
Survey technology is both simple and advanced now, so execution is relatively simple. Consider a tool like Survey Monkey. For a poll like this, the free version may be all you need. You can create a one-question poll and include the link in an email that you send, inviting clients to participate. You can also create polls so they show as a pop-up on your website.
You can click the link below for a live example. This took less than five minutes to create and results are accessible via an easy-to-use dashboard.
What’s the Impact?
Going back to the initial hypothesis that polls can create some of the same engagement benefits as conferences, I’d suggest the following:
- Questions. Asking a great question adds value because it gets your clients to think in a different way.
- Conversations. The results of your poll will open up different and (potentially) deeper individual conversations with your clients.
- Community. Sharing the results of your polls allows clients to tap into the ‘client community’ of which they’re a part. They’ll get some great ideas in the process.
There’s a real power in asking great questions. They get your clients thinking and provide you with meaningful information. Sometimes the best client engagement ideas are the simplest.
Thanks for stopping by,