One of our clients, Perry has been in the business for about four years, and manages the assets of about 200 households. Perry heard about the concept of doing a Client Advisory Council some time ago, but really couldn't picture what the outcome would be, and as a result, procrastinated about doing one. After attending a session with a Pareto Systems’ speaker, however, he liked what he heard and decided to take the plunge.
A Client Advisory Council (CAC) is an elite group of your very best clients. The group meets regularly to act as a “board of directors” to help you shape your business. They act as a forum for exploring customer service ideas. Another advantage of the Council is that it gives you the opportunity to spoil your top clients rotten. A CAC can be anything from a lavish dinner to--well, you name it. The sky is really the limit. After all, the more fun CAC events are, the more likely you are to exceed expectations, and the more likely it is that your best clients will talk about these events with their family and friends. This will, in turn, stimulate referrals.
Perry’s experience with the CAC is typical of the stories we hear from our clients. Perry told me that he recognizes that a lot of advisors seem to think this kind of activity is frivolous. Plus, though he was pretty sure he was doing a good job with his clients, before the CAC he had some trepidation about what he was going to hear. However, now that the dust has settled, he says the council was the best thing he ever did for his business.
So, what happened that night? Perry said that his clients left feeling extremely secure and positive about their choice of advisor, and that he left feeling totally empowered about the way he was running his business. In fact, towards the end of the evening, when Perry asked the question "have I earned the right for you to recommend me to your friends and family?" he said his clients started trying to one-up each other with referral suggestions! He said it was basically a mutual admiration scenario. It was the perfect environment to competitor-proof his clients and to reinforce his recommendation process.
By the way, Perry is going to be hold another CAC meeting in 6 months, and his manager now wants to do one as well.
Hopefully, you find Perry’s experiences inspiring and you want to host your own Client Advisory Council so that you too can develop your business, competitor-proof your best clients, and enjoy a steady stream of quality, qualified referrals.
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson