Deloitte Redefines Home Field Advantage: Why Financial Advisors Should Pay Attention
Deloitte conducted a study with more than 4,000 adult US professional sports fans back in 2015. The research explored the fans’ attitudes and behaviors both in and out of the stadium during both on and off-season to try and gain a better understanding of how teams and leagues should evolve their approach to fan engagement and loyalty.
Let’s back up. What do sports fans have to do with financial advisors?
We admit that on paper sports and financial advice don’t have a lot in common. However, when you take a closer look, you start to notice a common thread: both industries are highly competitive, and success relies heavily on attracting and retaining customers.
If you’ve read any of our blog posts over the last few years, you may have noticed an emphasis on the importance of building community. Ring a bell? While you may not have cultivated a following of noisy fans cheering on your every move, you’ve likely sought to build a loyal client base that not only trusts you and appreciates the work you do, but also provides word-of-mouth referrals, an invaluable resource among the financial advisory sector.
Unfortunately, attracting and retaining sports fans, just like attracting and retaining clients, is easier said than done. In today’s hyper-competitive sports landscape, Deloitte found that teams can no longer rely on home-field advantage to give them a leg up on the competition. Similarly, in today’s globalized world — and especially since the pandemic forced us all to get more comfortable conducting our lives online — geographic location matters far less than it once did. Instead of assuming that clients will likely work with financial advisors that are in their geographic area, advisors need to be constantly innovating and evolving their client engagement strategies to stay ahead of the competition. This means understanding and acting on the distinct needs and preferences of different groups of clients and offering tailored experiences that address those needs. It also means being agile in your approach and adapting your offerings to meet the ever-changing demands of your target market.
So, what exactly were the results of Deloitte’s study? Based on the analysis, Deloitte identified five different guiding principles that they believe sports organizations should keep in mind as they look at fan engagement. They are:
1. Know your target: To design effective engagement strategies and programs, teams must be clear—and specific—regarding the fans with whom they seek a relationship.
2. Make it personal: Programs designed to speak to everyone run the risk of speaking to no one.
3. Think holistically about the experience: The live game experience is a focal point for fan interaction. What lies beyond it?
4. Engage year-round: Meaningful relationships don’t start and stop with the sports season.
5. Recognize loyalty: Recognize, reward, and record each fan interaction.
How exactly do these apply to financial advisors? Let’s break down each principle.
1. Know your target
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Having a clear understanding of your target client is critical as an advisor. One way that advisors can achieve this is through strategic segmentation, which includes not only understanding demographics but also understanding the target client’s typical influencers, communities, peers, and dependencies – to list a few. By doing this, advisors can better tailor their services to meet the specific needs of their clients, as well as identify new business opportunities and better understand the competitive landscape. This client-service alignment creates efficiencies in your practice and increases the profitability of your business.
2. Make it personal
The days of a one-size-fits-all approach are long gone. Today’s clients expect businesses to understand their individual needs and offer products and services that are tailored to them, making personalization a critical area where advisors can differentiate their practices. For example, a young family just starting to build their lives together might be more interested in services that offer growth potential, while a retired couple might be more interested in income-producing strategies. By taking the time to personalize offerings for each segment, financial advisors can increase the chance of developing lasting relationships with clients while being clear and focused on what type of client they would like to attract.
3. Think holistically about experience
To deliver truly personalized experiences that reach priority segments, financial advisors need to think holistically about their overall client experience. In other words, they need to consider the entire client journey, from the beginning (when a prospect is discovering you) to the end (long-term client relationship touchpoints). Only then can they hope to provide the kind of personalized service that clients truly crave. This doesn’t mean that every client has a different experience. It means, your raving fans have similarities in their wants and needs which you can deliver on.
4. Engage year-round
Many financial advisors only focus on maintaining relationships with clients during key points in the year, such as tax season or when it’s time to review investments. However, meaningful relationships don’t start and stop with the seasons. While financial advice is the bread and butter of any financial advisor there are plenty of other opportunities to create deeper, more meaningful connections. Regular email newsletters, for example, provide an opportunity to not only discuss market conditions and recent financial news but also to share tips, news, and other channels to create engagement. By taking the time to build a rapport with clients throughout the year by discussing topics that are of interest, financial advisors can create lasting relationships that also create a robust referral stream for years to come.
5. Recognize loyalty
Speaking of referrals, research shows that loyal customers are not only more likely to continue doing business with you, but they are also more likely to refer new clients to you. So, how can you nurture loyalty? One of the best ways is simply to recognize it when it happens. For example, if a client faithfully follows your recommended investment strategy or frequently refers new business to you, take the time to send a handwritten note expressing your appreciation. Something as small as this can go a long way toward making your clients feel valued — and more loyal to you as a result.
The sports industry has long understood the concept of fan loyalty. For years, sports teams have worked to cultivate dedicated fanbases that will support their team through thick and thin. In many ways, the sports industry was ahead of the curve when it came to understanding the importance of fan loyalty. Just as fans are the lifeblood of the sports industry, your clients are the lifeblood of your financial advisory firm. At Beyond AUM, we understand the importance of not only building, but nurturing client relationships, and that’s exactly what we help advisors to do. Interested to learn more? Don’t hesitate to reach out!