Make an impact
Make an impact

Sep 01 2022

Make an impact

8 ways to show clients they’re important.

By Bryce M. Sanders, BS, MS

Topics covered

I was touring a winter home with a wealthy philanthropist, and as we walked around the study, I noticed a framed photo collection of birds on the wall.

“That was a gift from my financial advisor,” he said.

The bird photos became a permanent part of his home’s décor because an advisor paid attention to his client’s passion for his hobby. You can rise above being perceived by clients as just an investment manager or an insurance advisor by acknowledging what is important to them. Here are eight ways you can achieve that kind of staying power.

1. Solve a major life problem for a client.

Your client’s wealth is connected to the business they built, and that company has partners. If one of them dies, their family inherits a share of the business. The options for your client are to buy them out or invite them into the day-to-day operations since they are part owners. You can bring your financial expertise to bear by anticipating this scenario and suggesting the purchase of key person life insurance that covers each business partner. The policy is a company expense, and the understanding is when a partner dies, the business is valued, and their estate receives a cash payment equal to the proportionate share of ownership in the company. Thanks to you, the business can continue to operate if one of the owners is no longer around.

2. Walk alongside them through an illness.

Everyone wants to be your friend during the sunny days but not during the storm. If your client becomes ill, their routine changes. They’re not going out to dinner with friends regularly. They’re unable to show up at their favorite places. When friends say, “Please let me know if there is anything I can do,” that offer can be like asking for a referral, and the client’s mind goes blank at that moment. You make a similar offer but specify practical tasks, like grocery shopping or carrying out the trash cans on garbage pickup days. You visit them in the hospital and bring books by their favorite authors. You send cards or notes every few days. If the illness is serious, their spouse is in a very stressful caregiver role. So, you offer to sit with your friend. Then, the spouse can have an afternoon free to run errands or simply recharge. Regardless of the outcome, you are seen as a true friend. Someone who really cares.

3. Send champagne on their cruise.

You know your client is taking a cruise. You know the ship, itinerary and dates. Call the cruise line or work through your travel agent to arrange for a bottle of champagne to be delivered to their table on the first formal dinner night. Include a card that says, “I hope you enjoy your voyage as much as we enjoyed ours.” They’ll probably be dressed up and sitting at a large table with other guests in the dining room. As they look over the menu, the wine steward approaches with champagne and everyone wonders who it is for. They’re thrilled to learn it’s for your client and ask who sent it. Your client reads the card aloud and explains that you have been their advisor for many years. The fellow diners remark that they must be a very important person to their advisor.

4. Support their favorite charity.

Many wealthy and successful people are philanthropic. Although they write lots of checks for donations, one charity is their favorite. They might even sit on that organization’s board. Donate a check to that charity and include a personal letter, indicating you’re recognizing the good work your client and the organization are doing. Send it to the charity or ask your client to deliver it. They will realize you are supporting a cause dear to them.

5. Help their child find a job.

Finding a job after finishing college isn’t always easy. Your client’s child graduated, moved back home and is still looking for a position. Meanwhile, your client is wondering why they spent so much money on tuition if their child is back in their old bedroom. You can help because you know many people in different industries who you can introduce into the graduate’s network. Maybe you graduated from the same school and know alumni who the graduate can reach out to. Perhaps you could informally coach their child on job hunting and ask people you know if they can offer an informational interview, look at the resume or submit the application to a hiring manager.

6. Save them money. 

The wealthy love to save money. That is how they got to where they are and how they hold on to what they have. If you are a good shopper and know where to find things, like a good bottle of wine at a good price or hard-to-find items in short supply, share those opportunities so they can get a bargain. You might become their go-to person when they want to buy something special, earning you a loyal client.

7. Invite them to an exclusive event.

Your firm might have entertainment opportunities because it has a skybox at a stadium, sponsors a museum exhibition or has a connection with a professional sports team. Put in a request for tickets and attend the event with your client and their spouse. Introduce them to notables and make a fuss over them. If they are lucky, they might get into publicity photos with celebrities or athletes. If not, take some yourself. They will feel honored.

8. Raise money for their favorite charity.

You have the unique skill of looking people in the eyes and asking them for money. Many wealthy people connected to nonprofits will give money to these organizations but don’t want to do the fundraising. Do it for them. Contact the nonprofit or ask your client if they can suggest potential donors to contact. Make those calls and go out on appointments to raise money for the client’s charity. The organization will be thrilled and will heap praise on your client for getting you involved. Your client will be grateful.

In each of these situations, you made a big impact on your clients’ lives, specifically by doing something that is important to them. These actions should promote you from merely being a service provider to becoming their trusted advisor.