Continuing on from last week’s post on client communication; Simon Boulter and Mo Bowen, from leading UK Financial Planning firm BoulterBowen WealthCare, have shared more great client communication tips. Once again, these tips show the lengths to which great firms go to maintain simple, high quality communications.
Client Communication: The Magazine
In this clip Mo and Simon discuss aspects of their client magazine Seasons. Many firms subscribe to generic, templated magazine or newsletter services. It could be argued that sending something is better than nothing. However, for firms aspiring to be positioned right at the top of the tree, these broad-spectrum-off-the-shelf communication tools just don’t cut it. What’s fabulous about BoulterBowen’s magazine is the thought they’ve put into subject matter. Their knowledge of the topics that will be of interest comes from a deep understanding of their client base. They have previously commissioned research into the key issues for segments of their client bank. This research, which was shown as part of their final presentation, convinced me and my fellow judges to grant them the David Norton Award a few years ago. The high level of commitment to understanding their clients (and the money BoulterBowen has invested in client research) has seen their business become one of the best in the UK.
Key sections of the magazine include:
- Introductory Theme: Touching on current topics within the financial industry.
Client Spotlight: Stories showcasing how financial planning benefits the lives of their clients. In one example Mo showed me, a client had paid for a dozen family members (of all ages) to join them on a trip to Easter Island. The family had discussed that this may mean less inheritance in the future, but they agreed they’d rather spend the money now, to enjoy more adventures of this nature as a family unit. A fantastic story to promote the benefits of genuine financial planning.
Community News: Featuring events or topics of interest in the Exeter region, where BoulterBowen are based. One edition of the magazine included a story on local wind farm projects, while other community articles focus on local charities or social enterprises.
Client Events: Showcasing what the team has been doing in terms of client events.
Team Focus: Giving clients greater insight into the people who look after their financial affairs with such care and attention. This helps makes the team ‘real’ when clients liaise with them via telephone or email.
Simon mentions in the clip that they are always on the lookout for new event ideas, rather than simply running investment and pension updates. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a well run and suitably pitched event using tried and tested themes, but the antique clock event shown in the clip, along with some of the other ideas for gardening events that were discussed, highlight how beneficial it can be to think outside the square when it comes to focussing on your audience. James Harvey of James Harvey Associates runs client events that are more of a client social. He finds that getting people together in a social environment provides plenty of opportunity to build community and connection amongst his client bank. Michael and Geoff at Chamberlyns ran a successful event last year which helped them secure a new client (covering their event costs more than 5 times over), as well as generating loads of goodwill from their existing client bank.
Step up the quality of your client communications. Remember, every client knows at least 200 people.
By improving the way you communicate and interact with your existing clients, who may well already love you, there is a real opportunity to generate a lot more leads by referral. It’s food for thought!
By Brett Davidson