How advisers are connecting with clients

From social media to postcards, advisers are adopting novel ways to stay in touch with existing clients and find new prospects.
By Ravi Samalad |  24-04-17 | 
 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

Advisers are catching up with the latest communication tools to reach out to prospects. One of the popular tools which is being used by many advisers to connect with clients are mass mailers.

Gajendra Kothari of Etica Wealth Mangement has been sending fortnightly newsletters to his clients since 2012. Catchy subject lines help him get an opening rate of 16%, which he claims is one of the highest in the industry. “The advantage of newsletters is that you can actually track how many people have opened your mail and read it,” says Gajendra, who has built his database by collecting email ids from his investor awareness programmes.

He takes care not to spam clients’ mailboxes with frequent mailers. “If you send newsletters too frequently, they won’t be valued and run the risk of getting into the spam box. Keep it fortnightly so that you will be able to maintain quality. If your newsletters are liked by clients, they will look forward to receive your mail,” says Gajendra.

He populates his mailers with his own articles, research findings or some interesting articles published in media. The content is customized based on investor’s profile. For one set of database which comprises prospects, his mailers contain mostly educational articles while the second set of database which consists of experienced MF investors, IFAs and journalists get content which is more evolved. Product push is a strict no-no.

From a client acquisition perspective, he believes that mailers have the potential to travel the globe, thereby increasing your chances of getting NRI clients.

If you are catering to thousands of clients, emailers can be a good way to stay in touch. You have to set aside a budget for this activity. There are many mass mailing service providers and you can choose one which best suits your requirement. They usually charge based on the number of email ids you wish to reach out to.

But don’t expect instant results. This is more of a brand building exercise to get prospects mindshare.

Mailers may not be always effective, say advisers. Gajendra points out that a person gets an average of 50 emails every day and chances of your email being opened is low. To stand out among the crowd, he is mulling of coming out with a compact newspaper, which he believes will be appreciated by prospects. “Today, everyone sends e-greetings on Diwali but we don’t bother to reply because we know it is a mass mailer. However, if you receive a physical greeting card with the person’s wet signature it stands out and you would reciprocate. Similarly, physical newsletters are read by more than one person, perhaps by the entire family and are thus likely to get a better response as compared to mailers,” observes Gajendra.

Some advisers are riding on social media’s reach to acquire clients. Hyderabad based adviser Shiva Prasad Konduru has been sharing educational infographics related to investments on Facebook for seven years.

He claims to have acquired 500 clients through Facebook and WhatsApp. “I met one of my distant relative at a marriage recently. He asked me what do I do and I told him to follow me on Facebook. I also added his number on my WhatsApp broadcast list. Today he is my client and has referred me 25 more clients,” recalls Shiva.

Operating from a small-town called Warangal which is situated 140 kms from Hyderabad, Shiva has been able to acquire clients across India and abroad with the help of social media. Shiva claims that his business has grown by 300% in the last two years, mainly due to his social media posts. He says that his posts are used by a lot of his peers who share them with their clients and prospects.

While the digital medium is catching on, some advisers are adopting age-old method of communication. Navi Mumbai based adviser Sanjay Khatri has been sending postcards to prospects since 1996, when he set up his practice in Vashi, once a distant developing suburb of Mumbai. In two decades, he has built a database of 45,000 prospects residing in Navi Mumbai. The content on postcards which aims to encourage people to start investing for different life goals is written mostly by housewives and students as freelancers.

As compared to preparing mailers, drafting content for postcards can be time consuming. Sanjay has to find people who possess good handwriting. He places classified advertisements in newspapers to find the talent. Today, he has around 200 people writing his postcards.   Delivering one post card costs him three rupees.

Getting a thin cardboard postcard at your home would surely make you to read it with nostalgia. But Sanjay says that it takes a lot of time, sometimes years, to convert prospects. “Some prospects visit our office after getting our postcards but it takes a minimum of three meetings to start a relationship,” explains Sanjay.

The response to any communication also depends on market sentiments, he says. If there is positivity surrounding the market, the response is good and vice-versa. Nevertheless, Sanjay says that advisers should not stop communicating if they don’t get the desired result because he believes consistency builds credibility.

Inspired by Sanjay’s idea, some of his peers have also started sending postcards to prospects in their locality and are seeing a good response.

To sum up, getting people’s attention is becoming difficult in this world of information overload. Whether you are using social media or mailers, the key to effective communication lies in how you present your message. Try to be unique.

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