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Navigating the Customer Journey: A Financial Advisor's Guide to Engaging and Retaining Clients

Jada Sudbeck
Aerial View Financial Advisors on Couch
Aerial View Financial Advisors on Couch

In 2020, many people found themselves with extra time on their hands due to lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions. Naturally, this led to an increase in self-directed investing, as more people turned to online trading platforms such as Robinhood, E*TRADE, and TD Ameritrade to manage their own investments.

According to J.P. Morgan, more than 10 million new brokerage accounts were opened by self-directed investors in 2020. This trend has challenged the traditional model of financial advising, which makes customer loyalty a growing priority as the financial industry becomes more competitive. With the constant industry changes and competition for clientele, learning how to build business connections is critical to long-term success.

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More than 10 million new brokerage accounts were opened by self-directed investors in 2020.

SOURCE: J.P. Morgan

Strong relationships are the cornerstone of any successful business and require advisors who can deliver real results with personalized attention. To remain effective over time, it's crucial to examine all aspects of relationship building in business — from present difficulties when maintaining client relationships to potential value adds for clients and any external elements that could come into play along the way.

Challenges Financial Advisors Face in Retaining Clients

Financial advisors are tasked with gaining and retaining increasingly knowledgeable clients' trust while navigating an ever-evolving financial landscape. With economic volatility on the rise, consistent results can be challenging to achieve — particularly in light of digital platforms offering self-directed investing opportunities that can undercut traditional advice.

As the financial world continues to evolve, it can be difficult for advisors to sustain meaningful client relationships. With new technologies disrupting traditional business models and economic turmoil that may impact results, much is at stake with every relationship forged in today's landscape. Additionally, the aging workforce invites an added challenge; adapting strategies that meet the needs of older clients who have been around long enough to experience various shifts throughout their lives requires a high level of diligence and creativity to be effective, personal, and genuine.

The Value of Relationship Building in the Financial Services Industry

Financial advisors are uniquely positioned to build long-term client relationships through personal connections, and leveraging the power of emotion is key. By emphasizing strong, meaningful connections with clients and appealing to their feelings up front, it's possible to create lasting trust and retained relationships.

It's not just about being liked, however. Studies suggest that as much as 90% of people's decisions are emotionally driven. Research also suggests that many people struggle with emotional issues related to money, such as anxiety, stress, and fear. As a result, many financial advisors — especially those focusing on growing wealth for their clients — spend the majority of their time being therapists for their clients with money trauma and navigating past encounters, all while educating them on how to use money wisely.

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As much as 90% of people's decisions are emotionally driven.

SOURCE: City National Bank

By tapping into these emotional issues and helping clients navigate their money trauma, financial advisors can build stronger relationships with their clients and ultimately help them achieve their financial goals. Those who focus on building emotional connections with their clients are ultimately able to generate more revenue and retain clients for longer periods of time.

Bridging the Gap: How to Build Business Connections Effectively

Understanding the challenges in retaining clients and the value of personal connections is the first step toward building successful and lasting relationships. Here are a few practical strategies and tactics to bridge the gap, overcome challenges, and reinforce personal connections with your clients for long-term successful relationships in the financial services industry.

1. Emphasize human touch.

Many people attach a great deal of emotional significance to their finances, and managing money can be stressful and complex. In this context, being a financial advisor who your clients can trust and confide in is essential to making good financial decisions and retaining client loyalty.

Building a strong relationship with your client is critical to establishing the necessary trust and communication. Genuine human interactions, face-to-face meetings, personalized messages, and thoughtful gestures can all help to build trust and establish a sense of shared commitment to your client's financial well-being. By prioritizing these emotional factors in the customer journey, you can help your clients feel more comfortable and confident in their financial decisions, ultimately leading to a more successful outcome for both parties.

2. Utilize technology to enhance personalization.

While technology can be a double-edged sword, it also offers opportunities to improve personalization. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, data analytics, and other digital tools can be utilized to better understand your client's preferences, anticipate their needs, and tailor their offerings accordingly.

An excellent example of how technology can be leveraged to enhance personal relationships in financial services is Hallmark's Connect e-commerce platform. This innovative solution provides an easy way to amplify the client journey by developing heartfelt, personalized relationships with your customers while maintaining control of your brand messaging. The platform's capabilities have been showcased in a recent case study, demonstrating how Connect can help financial advisors unify messaging and increase emotional impact — ultimately leading to increased client retention and long-lasting relationships.

3. Build a tailored customer journey for financial services.

When it comes to managing finances, emotions can play a significant role, and clients often value a more personalized and thoughtful approach from their financial advisor. By tailoring the customer journey and incorporating touchpoints in all media types, such as emails, direct mail, phone calls, and texts, you can create a more personalized experience for your clients.

Sending personalized Hallmark Greeting Cards, for example, can be a thoughtful gesture that demonstrates a genuine commitment to your client's well-being. Greeting cards not only have a longer shelf life of 17 days, but they can also create a more personal connection with your client on one of the most important issues in their life — their finances. This can help build trust and establish a stronger relationship between yourself and your client, leading to a more successful outcome.

Average Life Span

From USPS Mail Data

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Ready to Begin Relationship Building in Your Business?

Ultimately, incorporating emotional factors and personalized touchpoints into the financial services customer journey can help you build a stronger relationship with your clients and ultimately lead to better retention and more satisfied clients. Just be sure to choose the option that guarantees your communication has an impact from start to finish.

As a financial advisor, having meaningful relationships with clients is essential to retain and grow your business. Creating connections is key. To make sure you're efficiently building trustworthy partnerships that last long-term, start by understanding the current trends shaping finance today, investing time into relationship-building strategies, then employing tactics that strengthen existing bonds between yourself and your customers.