Something cool happened at Planswell. Our CEO, Eric Arnold, interviewed one of our partnering financial advisors about his experience working with us. (That’s not the cool part—this is something Eric does often.) What got us excited was this sentiment he heard: “You can tell the Planswell team gives a sh!t...and that makes it a really good value for advisors.”
Melt! For our passionate team, that was music to our ears.
But wait. Caring is not wordsmithed into a mission statement decorating our office wall (we don’t even have an office; we’re fully remote!). We don’t do corporate training for the team on how to care. We don’t entertain clients in a spendy suite at a stadium. So how did we manage to get the message across that we do, in fact, really care about the people we serve?
I was curious about this, so I interviewed my teammates and asked, “What are you doing to show our clients you care?” Each teammate had their own method, and what struck me was the realization that each and every small act of kindness, service, or thoughtfulness could single-handedly get the message across. In totality, we’re a force to be reckoned with.
Another thing that jumped out at me: these are simple things that any company in any industry could do. And they cost nothing. Financial advisors in particular are typically drawn to the profession because of a strong desire to help people. For the caring advisors among us, I thought I’d share what I learned about our team’s methods. I hope you discover at least a couple new ways to bring unmatched value to your clients.
Send a personalized video explanation
“Whenever I get assigned any sort of follow-up to an advisor, I try to deliver a personalized video back to them. For example, if they have a planning question or something that's really technical, I use video so I can give a bit more context around the answer.” - Scott Wetton, COO
“I talk a lot with our customers face-to-face to get to know the people using our product. I get a feel for the entire experience they're going through so I can focus on resolving points of friction in the design.” - Meagan Terrel, Product Designer
Listen more than you speak
“I make sure I really listen. Craftspeople say ‘measure twice, cut once.’ That’s my ratio for listening and speaking. I wait a couple seconds after someone's finished speaking just to be sure I’m not interrupting. I want to make sure they're really getting everything out because when you let people speak, they'll share all the information you absolutely need in order to help them.” - Lukasz Merdzik, Head of Sales
Surprise & delight
“In my role, I try to bring a little extra to our content and deliverables. I plant ‘Easter egg’ content in our emails and really try to up the production value for our events—and generally just knock their socks off in ways most companies wouldn't bother to do. I want to go the extra mile to delight them.” - Jen Mastrud, Chief Marketing Officer
Meet “face to face” on video
“Rather than having a phone conversation, I prefer to use video conferencing so I can look them in the eye, smile, and give other non-verbal cues. I get a lot of positive feedback about this.” - Vanessa Robinson, Account Executive
“After onboarding a new client, I call to check in occasionally, at least for the first couple of months. You know, casual outreach. Answer any questions they have. They may not feel comfortable bringing questions to anyone else in the company yet.” - Tyler Hindley, Account Executive
Use a friendly tone
“I like to show them I care in my tone when I'm talking to them and just always being positive and enthusiastic.” - Tony Peters, Account Executive
Make their lives easy
“I try to keep my ears open for quality-of-life improvements that are relatively low-hanging fruit for us to implement, but impactful for them. For example, small things like being able to show the last saved plan so that you can quickly compare the changes they're making versus where they started, or future value visualization capabilities so that they can take a look at the dollars in tomorrow's dollars instead of today's dollars. Small things turn out to be relatively easy for us to achieve and hopefully make life just a little bit easier for the advisors.” - Shaun Esau, Software Developer
Share something helpful
“You find out a lot of things about people when you sell to them, and a lot of personal information. I often look up articles that can help improve a side of their life and send them a link just to be helpful and show I care.” - Peter Marola, Account Executive
Write a personal note
“I like writing short notes or emails to people after meeting them. I pick up on something that is interesting to me about them and just write to them about that.” -Patty Carr, Facilitator
“I always return calls as fast as possible, whether they're a client or not. Even if I know it’s not an urgent issue, I call them back as soon as possible.” - Patrick Brennan, Sales Manager
“I connect on LinkedIn with every single person I onboard. I really want to keep up with everything they're doing. I ‘like’ or comment on everything they share.” - Daniel Schloss, Account Executive
Provide multiple ways to connect
“I like showing clients how many avenues they have to be connected with us. They can jump on Office Hours or talk to their Plancraft facilitator, for example, and I let them know our support team is super responsive. Just showing them all those avenues, I think, really shows that we care.” - Nick Palumbo, Account Executive
Introduce the team
“Simply introducing them to all the members on the team and letting them know that we are humans who are here for them is really impactful.” - Mwangi Muthui, Account Executive
Show them they’re important
“Thoughtful touches go a long way. As an example, when I started working here, I received a T-shirt, a ring light, and a card in the mail, and it made me feel important to the team. People like to feel important.” - Mark Maynard, Account Executive
“I open up weekends on my calendar link. A lot of people don't do that. I open it up just in case they need to chat or if they have any questions or concerns. I want them to feel like they've been taken care of” - Aaron Li, Account Executive
“I provide my direct line and encourage them to text me if they need anything. Even if I’m on another call, I can respond promptly and tell them I’ll call them right back. That is a wow factor other companies don’t offer and it shows we care.” - Andy Cosby, Account Executive
Share personal holiday greetings
“I’ve found that reaching out around holidays is a great way to express care. Give them a call and say, ‘Hey, happy New Year! I just called to see how things are going and to touch base.’ It's a great way of showing them that you care beyond the transaction”. - Abdul Khan, Account Executive
“I’m really proud of our whole team for our attentiveness to our partners. The leadership team is completely available to speak to anyone for any reason, and the whole team knows they can count on leadership to jump on the phone if they identify a partner who could benefit from a one-on-one conversation. That’s rare. Like, we really care about making the experience successful for every single advisor, from the top down.” - Anthony Gomez, Digital Ads Manager
“Specific to my role, an effort I make that impacts our partners and shows we care is finding people who are kind and have good interpersonal skills and genuinely want to make an impact. I make sure we find talented, bright individuals who are invested in the mission.” - Javairia Asif, People Operations Lead
“For a personalized experience, I like to call new partners before a meeting or event and say, ‘Hey Jane, are we going to see you today? The team is excited to see you.’ I hope that alleviates some social anxiety and they feel special knowing someone's waiting for them.” - Clover, Happiness Coordinator
Remember the details
“Through the help of our CRM, I jot down personal details I learn through interactions with advisors. Next time I talk to a particular partner, I’ll ask, ‘Where have you been fishing lately?’ I love those small little details about people and their personal lives, their hobbies, and their interests. I hope it makes them feel really good and special on the phone.” - Isabel Leong, Community Manager
“Rather than saying ‘here are some facts’, I throw in personal experiences. ‘Here's my past experience, here's what I've learned over the years...what works, what doesn't work.’ Sharing the lessons I’ve personally learned resonates.” - Ermos Erotocritou, Business & Performance Coach
Write detailed responses
“When an advisor sends an email for support, I’m careful to answer every single question and then some. I try to address everything that they may or may not know they're asking. My emails are long.” - Amee Reodica, Sales Operations
“After I've resolved any issue with an advisor, I sign off my emails with ‘Let me know if there's any other questions or concerns I can help with.’ About 30-40% of the time, partners reach back out saying, ‘Hey, yeah, there is this one more thing.’ That results in some great changes and experiences for those advisors.” - Abdullah Hussain, Product Manager
If you’re still with me, here’s the call between Eric and our partner, Josh, that inspired this article. (2 minutes, 30 seconds; warning: adult language).
Never miss an article from Kristina — subscribe here.