Financial Advisor Client Review Meetings: Make Them Better

Here we are halfway through the year.  I hope you are planning some fun personal activities for the summer months. How about a beach vacation? Or how about going to a mountain cabin? Last year I spent a month working remotely from the Southern Oregon Coast as I tried my great work-cation experiment. This year I’m sticking closer to home as I experiment with “No Work Fridays” (I’ll report back on that one).

How about you? Are you thinking about your practice? Are you planning marketing events and activities for the later part of this year? Are you spending time on the Grand Vision of your practice?

In coaching a client today, I was motivated by his desire to plan where he wants to be in three years. After discussing his goals, we worked backwards from the three year vantage point and were able to pinpoint activities and prospecting that he should be planning in order to get there.

He cited having better quality client review meetings as one of the things he wants to work on through the end of this year to help him reach his goals.  He also would like to implement a holistic approach to the annual review process.

So I asked him: How does one improve the quality of their client review meetings?

We decided that getting clear on what you want to accomplish in the meeting is a good place to start. Here are a few ideas: client review meetings

  • Use the review process as a way to deepen client relationships
  • Confirm that you aspire to provide a higher level of service
  • Assist clients in focusing on their long term goals
  • “Check in” with clients to learn whether their family or financial situation has changed, Update beneficiaries if needed.
  • Educate clients on recent government legislation that may affect them
  • Cover your financial planning bases and determine if the client has gaps or needs
  • Ask about other financial professionals the client may be working with
  • Find out if the client would like to be referred to any financial professionals you have on your team
  • Ask about outside assets you would like to manage
  • Get feedback on the quality of service from the other investment managers. Have a “speech” at the ready to broach the topic:  ”I view my role as your wealth manager and as such I’d like to advise you on all aspects of your financial life. By knowing about all your assets held here and at other institutions, I can give you the best possible advice about your assets with me.”
  • Ask if there are additional services the client would like you to perform
  • Observe the 80/20 rule by asking deep questions- you speak 20% of the time
  • Broach the topic of referrals – clients have to be educated that you want referrals

 

Another simple way to have better quality review meetings is to approach it as a process. What tools do you need? What does the client need? Write down step by step how you will design this as a process and the tools you will need.

Here are some ideas:

  • Create a template letter to send to clients reminding them that you are planning to schedule a review meeting with them
  • Have a procedure for what happens from the moment the client walks in the door to when they leave. What are they offered? Where do they sit?
  • Create a good agenda that covers everything you want to bring up
  • Develop a checklist of questions you would like to ask
  • What happens after the meeting? Create a follow up letter to layout next steps.

 

My client remarked today that he would like to improve the “atmosphere” during the client review meeting. He feels that in the past his meetings have been too “regimented” and formal, almost adversarial. Since I rarely meet my clients in person, I asked him to describe his office and I learned that he has a typical “conference room” set up.

If you think about it, having a conference table between you and the client creates a subconscious barrier that hinders relationship building. As we talked about what he would like his clients to experience, a plan developed. My client vowed to make his conference room into a “living space” with couches, coffee tables, and more relaxed accessories.

Could this be something that would help you build better relationships with your clients? It’s definitely something to think about.

Having better quality client review meetings helps financial advisors and their teams to build better client relationships, allows advisors to organize and update clients’ financial goals, sets the stage for referrals to centers of influence, helps garner referrals to family and friends, and builds a stronger practice.

How are you going to use this information to get more leads and improve your practice?

About Suzanne Muusers