I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me.  Entitled, A Simple Way to Earn Client Loyalty, the story goes like this:

A husband and wife in their 60s was referred to a financial adviser by their insurance company.  They were interested in purchasing additional life insurance to cover the mortgage on a new property they’d recently purchased so the wife could keep it if the husband died.

Instead of just emailing them an answer and collecting his commission, the adviser set up a meeting with the couple to see how the potential purchase fit into their larger financial plan. 

When he met with them, he discovered that the retired couple was living largely off the husband’s pension – and that the pension had no survivorship rights.  If something happened to the husband, the wife would only have Social Security to fall back on for her living expenses.

The adviser recommended the couple buy enough life insurance to cover the second property mortgage and the potential loss of the pension income.  What was going to be a $100,000 insurance sale turned into a $400,000 insurance sale, and the adviser now likely has a client for life as well as a good referral source.

This tale illustrates the fact that client loyalty begins with listening, then digging deeper to get the whole picture of a potential client’s needs and taking the time to talk with them about how you can help.

Attorneys are, as a group, notoriously gregarious, but you need to learn how to listen carefully if you hope to retain clients and successfully cultivate referral sources.  Take a page from this financial adviser’s book and look for ways to provide added value beyond what the prospect’s initial problem may be, and you too will start collecting clients for life.

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