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Category: Loyalty · 6 min read

How to Think Like a Relationship Manager

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on October 23, 2018

author profile photo

on October 23, 2018

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A relationship starts with a connection. Think about the people you’re closest with: Your best friend, your spouse, or your family. How did you become close? What did you do to develop the relationship? Most likely you spent a lot of time with them, went through good and bad situations together, and purposely helped them when they needed it. Likewise, connecting with your clients and developing a relationship with them starts by getting to know them, financially and personally. 

But what happens after that? How do you continue to grow your client relationships?

The key is to think like a relationship manager. You have all of these relationships, and with effective management, you can develop them into more business and more referrals. 

To start thinking like a relationship manager, follow these six steps.


Patience is Key

Client and potential client relationships take time to build, just like your personal friendships. If someone doesn’t want to work with you right away, don’t cross them off your list. Instead, put them in a separate list of people that you need to keep touching base with. Be patient and persistent, and eventually, the timing might be right for them to need your services. If you continually reach out to them every once in a while (don’t over-communicate), it’ll keep you in their minds for when a need arises.  


Listen, and Listen Some More

A lot of the time, it’s not about you, it’s actually about your clients and what’s going on in their lives. To maintain a relationship with them, get to know them better. Find out and write down their important life events or dates, such as their birthday or wedding anniversary. Then, when the day comes around, send them a letter, email, or text. I’ve found it helpful to keep track of these in your customer relationship manager (CRM). 

Having this kind of personal connection with your clients lets them know that you care about them, and not just their business. This may seem strange at first, but it pays off when you can ask them about their personal life in conversation and remember the details, like their birthday or big life events. 

It’s not about you, it’s actually about your clients and what’s going on in their lives.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

Twenty percent of your clients will create 80 percent of your work. Have you heard this saying before? It’s true. 

Don’t overlook the 20 percent. Instead, use the 80 percent of work they create to your advantage. Set aside intentional time once a month for outreach with this group. Check in on them, ask them how they’re doing, and see if they need anything. 

Why is this important? An Invesco Consulting study found that financial professionals who communicated with their top clients at least four times per year didn’t lose any clients.1 Even if it doesn’t lead to something right away, just keeping in touch with your clients and letting them know that you’re there for them is enough and can pay off in the long run. 

Financial professionals who communicated with their top clients at least four times per year didn’t lose any clients.

Be More Than Email

Yes, email is a great way to keep in contact with your clients with its automation, simplicity, speed, and cost-efficiency. But switching it up every now and then and making a quick phone call—especially one that’s friendly and positive—can help move the relationship forward. 

The most meaningful communications feel personal and customized to the specific client, and phone calls are usually the most effective way to do this. Another option is to utilize direct mail. Data from the United States Postal Service revealed that 74 percent of households either read or scan the direct mail they receive, and, on average, the read rate of direct mail is around 50 percent.2 Phone calls and direct mail not only keep your name top-of-mind, but it also strengthens your relationship. As you get to know your clients, you’ll also learn their preferred method of contact. Make a note of that and reach out in their preferred way. 


Always Respond

Have you ever sent an email and never heard back? Have you left a voicemail with a client and never received a call back? It’s not a great feeling. In the same way, don’t leave your clients hanging when they reach out to you. Make sure that you’re always responding to them, even if it’s simply a confirmation saying “Yup, I got your call (or email or note) and I’ll be in touch with you soon.” This shows that you’ve seen or heard their request, you’re working on it, and you’ll follow up with more details. Your customers will appreciate your speedy reply, and it gives you additional time to work on a thorough response later. 


Summarize the Next Steps

At the end of an email, phone call, or face-to-face meeting, make sure you tell your client when they can expect to hear from you again. Give them clear next steps, and then follow through on them. Part of building your relationships with clients is sticking to your promises and helping them through each step. This helps build loyalty and credibility, and can lead to more satisfied clients. 


Follow Up with Seminar Attendees

If you host a seminar, make sure you follow up with everybody. It’s tempting to meet with the two or three (or however many) appointments you get from the event and then call it good, but the rest of the attendees can also be valuable prospects to follow up with to see if they’d be interested in your services, and can lead to a new relationship. 


Keep the Relationship in Mind

As you talk with your current and prospective clients, always work to further the relationship and get to know them more. Keep reaching out to them, asking personal questions, and letting them know you’re there for them. Eventually, your work as a relationship manager can pay off, resulting in more business and quality referrals. 

Want to develop your client relationships even more? We have options for you. Check out our Loyalty Builder services, or contact us today. 



1. Prince, Russ Alan & Bortel, Brett Van. “Ways to Retain Top Clients Before They Leave.” Financial Advisor. Page 3. 02 Jan. 2018.
2. United States Postal Service. “The Household Diary Study: Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2017.” Page 42. 2018.

For Financial Professional use only, not for use with the general public. #18-0612-080319

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Written By

Josh Gettler

National Vice President, Relationship Development

Josh Gettler is the National Vice President of Relationship Management at Brokers International. Josh has over 10 years of industry experience running FMOs, as well as selling policies as an agent. With expertise in recruiting FMOs, mergers and acquisitions and management, Josh is focused on how to grow and improve businesses through innovative ideas.

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