Client management

Strengthen your relationships and reinforce your value to protect and retain your top clients.

Strengthen your relationships and reinforce your value to protect and retain your top clients.

Are you strategic in your client management?

Being intentional about the type of clients you serve, and the level of service you provide them, will allow you to dedicate the right amount of time and money to the clients who positively impact your business. Without a careful client management plan, you put yourself at risk of:

  • Dedicating time to clients who don’t contribute to the success of your business
  • Wasting time prospecting clients that you are not well positioned to serve
  • Spreading your resources too thin
  • Failing to meet expectations of top clients
  • Spending money on client appreciation tactics that don’t have the right pay off
  • Providing inconsistent experiences that obscure your brand image
  • Losing clients to competing advisors

The quality of your client relationships is more important than the quantity. Focus on attracting and retaining the ideal clients who contribute the most to your success.

We recommend the following strategies to build client connections:

  • Define your ideal client
  • Segment existing clients
  • Show clients appreciation

What factors do you look for in an ideal client?

Determining which clients substantially contribute to your success allows you to focus marketing activities on the people you’re best positioned to serve. Prioritizing the quality of your client relationships rather than strictly focusing on the quantity is the key.

Use the following factors to define your target market:

Objective attributes

Objective attributes are facts about clients that provide measurable reference points. They include:

  • Investable assets
  • Annual revenue
  • Life stage
  • Occupation
  • Investment risk tolerance
  • Investment knowledge
  • Number and type of interactions they receive from you (per year or quarter)

Define the objective attributes you want in an ideal client so you can market and serve them with ease and enjoyment. 

Subjective attributes

Subjective attributes are the less tangible elements and behaviours that affect your client interactions yet still significantly influence the overall value of your client relationships. These attributes may include:

  • How compatible you are with a client
  • How easy or challenging a client may be to deal with
  • A client’s professional affiliations or hobbies that you relate to
  • How likely a client is to be a good referral source (number of referrals per year)
  • Client expectations regarding time spent with them (minimal, moderate, frequent)
  • Client decision-making preference (active involvement, passive involvement)

Disqualifying factors

Disqualifying factors are just as important as positive client attributes because they identify client scenarios that can drain your time and emotional energy. As you grow your business, understanding when to say no is just as important, if not more difficult, than understanding which client relationships to nurture.

When evaluating existing and potential clients, watch for these characteristics:

  • Frequent contact expected concerning insignificant or non-business matters
  • Low probability of future business
  • Slow to return your calls
  • Tendency to consistently question your advice
  • Refusal to provide full disclosure of critical information necessary to provide insurance and investment advice

Do you segment existing clients?

Client segmentation enables you to better match the level of your support with the needs of clients. As your business grows, effective client segmentation will help you design a sustainable service model and meet clients’ expectations.

Use the following elements to segment clients:

Classify clients

What attributes make an ideal client? Consider segmenting clients by more than just the revenue they represent. Think about what types of clients you can serve best, and which ones are the most likely to give you a referral. Sort these clients into a tiered system, such as AA, A, B, C and D clients. 

Dedicate time to clients

Make a conscious decision to put a greater amount of time and resources toward the clients who make a significant contribution to your business.

Get specific. Outline who on your team will serve each client tier, how many one-to-one meetings you expect to have with clients in each tier in a year, and which clients will be included in any client appreciation events. If you’re not specific about the experience you’re aiming to provide for each segment, it’s nearly impossible to track if you’re delivering on your desired level of service.

Stay committed to your segmentation model and ideal client framework. Fewer top-tier clients now doesn’t justify over-serving clients in other tiers. As your business grows to include more top-tier clients, you want to be able to tailor your service to meet their expectations.

Market to clients

Set up your marketing plan to target each segment with a specific goal.

Give top tier clients more of your attention

Offer these clients concierge services, appreciation events and the largest number of one-to-one meetings per year. Maximize the amount you spend on marketing, and consider how much you’re willing to spend to maintain their loyalty.

Build your relationship with middle tier clients further

Which of these clients can you convert to the top tier? Allocate your marketing budget appropriately. Generating more revenue from existing clients is often more cost-effective than prospecting for new clients.

Stay top of mind with bottom tier clients

You have an obligation to still service clients who may not contribute as much to your business. Consider circulating articles or newsletters that include industry insights or trending topics. Service can focus on self-serve options or activities that you can delegate to a team member. A poor client experience may lead to negative reviews and complaints and affect your reputation.

How are you giving back to clients?

Client recognition and appreciation events build engagement and create loyalty, which means long-term stability and growth for your business. Determine the client experience you want to provide to each tier so you can invest more energy into your most meaningful relationships.

By engaging with clients outside of the office — and making gestures of appreciation — you can show that you’re invested in their well-being. Client recognition and appreciation events don’t and shouldn’t have to be extravagant, but they do have to be consistent with your personal brand.

Use the following suggestions to show appreciation:

Proactive opportunities

Create scheduled touchpoints, both social and financial, with clients. Some ideas for proactive opportunities are:

  • Semi annual review meetings
  • Annual family meetings
  • Celebrate milestones and accomplishments through cards, flowers, lunches, and other personal touches
  • Networking events

Reactive strategies

Be on the ball by following up with clients and the important events happening in their lives. Some reactive opportunities include:

  • Send a card, flowers or gift baskets for condolences, thinking of you, and congratulations
  • Create a personal touch when sending small gifts, such as personalized key rings for a new house or car, email content on best restaurant recommendations in a new city they move to, and a custom wine label for congratulations on a major purchase

The best way to increase attendance is to call guests personally and extend an invitation. Emphasize the opportunity to network with other guests. If your guests believe that this event will also help them build a community, then they’ll be more inclined to attend.

By building a community of supportive clients who are engaged in your practice, you’re more likely to generate referrals, increase trust, and build loyalty.

Client segmentation

Watch this video to learn how to segment your clients using the Client Segmentation Tool.

Use the Client Segmentation Tool to segment clients.

Referring prospects elsewhere

It’s not easy to turn away prospects, but sometimes they aren’t a good fit for your business. Watch this video to hear Robert Trasolini of Safe Pacific Financial Inc. share insights on how he handles these situations.

Client service model

Watch this video to learn more about planning the services you’ll provide to each client segment.

Get your toolkit to manage clients more effectively. 

Get your toolkit

Ask your Sun Life relationship manager for access to the Client Service Model to help you define your service experience for your client segments.

Define your target market using the Ideal Client Analysis Tool

Segment clients using the Client Segmentation Tool