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4 Strategies to Become Irreplaceable

by Bill Cates

Research tells us that satisfied clients tend to be loyal clients.

In one study conducted by Julie Littlechild out of Toronto, Canada, “satisfied” clients had a high loyalty rating. That’s good.

You want to retain all of your clients – right?  Well… at least most of them. You probably have a couple you wouldn’t mind offloading to someone… anyone.

HOWEVER – and it’s a big however – there’s a low correlation between satisfied clients and the giving of referrals or making introductions. 

Engaged Clients

In Julie’s study, engaged clients not only gave more referrals, they were 100% loyal. Engaged clients stay with you and become advocates.

“So, Bill, what’s an engaged client?” I’m glad you asked. An engaged client is one who feels connected to your value and connected to you as a person. There’s a value connection and a personal connection.

This is why I’m such an advocate for client appreciation events and the like. They are opportunities to build these all-important business friendships.

4 Strategies to Enhance Client Engagement

Some of these items enhance the value connection, some of them enhance the personal connection, and some of them help with both.

STRATEGY 1 – Serve the Entire Family

Most clients don’t fully understand how the decisions (or non-decisions) they make affect many other people in their lives. Nor do they understand how the decisions (or non-decisions) that other people make might impact them.

For example. Let’s say the grandparents have been designated to take over the upbringing of the grandchildren, should something happen to their parents. Have the parents planned for that possibility? Is there enough life insurance in place so that the grandparents aren’t burdened financially?

Many advisors I coach like to go deep and wide with their families. Not only is it the right thing to do in terms of proper financial planning, it also makes you irreplaceable.

STRATEGY 2 – Help with Essential Document Organization

Nobody wants to leave a mess behind when they leave this earth. Yet very few people – including your clients – have not taken the time and discipline to organize their documents and other important aspects of their life – so that burdensome process of closing down someone’s life is made just a little bit easier.

BTW – If you and your team provide this service to some of your clients, don’t forget about their digital lives. Make sure the passwords are saved and other digital footprints. (I use a great tool called LastPass. It saves every password I use and auto-fills, if I wish. The only password I need to remember is the password for LastPass.)

When you and your team provide the process and create the discipline to help someone do this work, not only are you rendering an incredible service, you’re learning quite a bit about your clients.  When your client passes, the family sees you as an essential family advisor. They see you as irreplaceable.

STRATEGY 3 – Become the Quarterback of Their Advisory Team

My financial advisor Larry, as part of creating my financial plan, assembled my CPA and bookkeeper in a conference room. With my input from time to time, I watched these professionals go to work for me. By doing this, Larry established himself as the financial quarterback of my advisory team.

With some clients – especially small business owners – you can often become the quarterback quickly – because they don’t have anyone like that. In other cases, it may take some time for you to rise to that level.

My financial advisor established a working relationship with my other advisors. Since I don’t make any significant financial decisions without Larry, he’s become irreplaceable.

STRATEGY 4 – Build Business Friendships

Pssst!  Come closer.  Do you want to know the secret ingredient that turns loyal and happy clients into advocates for your business?  Advocates are typically born from your business friendships.

Now, by business friendship, I’m not talking about staying out late, sipping an adult beverage and telling each other deep dark secrets. I’m talking about a relationship that has evolved beyond just the advisor-client -business relationship.

One sign that you have created a business friendship is when your clients invite you to their personal social events – like a backyard barbecue, a child’s wedding or confirmation, etc.

By creating business friendships with your clients that are open to it, you are on your way to creating an army of advocates and you’ve become irreplaceable.


  1. Review the above strategies with your team. Which one or two items can you begin to enhance immediately?  And don’t forget about the others for future implementation.

Let me know what you’ve decided to work on, how it’s going, and what questions have popped up.  I’d love to hear from you.

Forward this article to a friend or colleague.

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