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Two Critical Questions for an Ideal Client Experience

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Financial advisors plan to have regular meetings with their ideal clients. I never call them review meetings, because it sounds like work, I call them progress update meetings. In your planning, do you have a strong process that creates a positive client experience? Or do you talk about the market volatility until the client leaves? How can you create a better experience for your ideal clients? Let’s look at an example.

This past weekend, my wife and I decided to check out a new community and look at new show homes. We enjoy looking at show homes, but this was possibly an exercise to look at making a big change in our lives. After spending the afternoon looking at show homes, on the drive home my wife turns to me and says, ‘let’s just plan on doing some upgrades to our existing home and see what that looks like”.

When we got home we started to map out what we would like to do, when we wanted to do it, who we needed to hire (people who know me know that I am as handy as a bag of hammers) and how much it will cost. In the end we had clarity around what we would like to do. 

The two critical questions I have for financial advisors are:

Do you have a clearly defined and written process for your ideal client meetings?

Does it involve clarity around your client’s financial goals?

Goals based planning

Most financial advisors usually have one or two goals for their ideal clients. Yet, when clients do goals planning online, there is usually 8-10 goals. To create a positive client experience in your progress update meeting consider the following discussion. “The purpose of part of the meeting today ( It is on the agenda) is to get a deeper understanding of your goals. When you look at the following list of possible goals, which one would you like to discuss further?” or which one has changed , or which one is most important to you and why? “Use this as an opportunity to find out why that goal is important. As Simon Sinek wrote in his great book “Start With Why” by Portfolio Publishing; Reprint edition (Dec 27 2011), Simon said that a why is a “passion, cause or belief”. If we do not understand what drives their decisions around their goals, that how can we hold them accountable for reaching them?

The goals list

  • Retirement -Lifestyle -Education
  • Vehicle -Major purchase -Health care
  • Home -Celebrations -Gifts- donations
  • Bequests -Care for someone-Business
  • Memberships -Inheritance- Legacy
  • Other -I am sure you could easily add to this list
     

You do not see financial planning on the list because this is not a goal. The goals focus on one thing, outcome. What is the outcome that your ideal clients want? Pay less tax is not a goal, but spending the tax I saved on a trip to the Caribbean with my family is. Planning a home renovation instead of buying a new home is part of my lifestyle goals.

As Bill Bachrach says, “become a master at helping people define clear targets with specific dates and amounts of money wanted. Their goals are the tangible what they want built on the foundation of their values. You can develop the skill to lead an emotionally compelling and inspiring conversation about their goals. It’s a skill, maybe even an art form. And it’s learn-able.”

Steps to your clearly define your progress update process

Besides getting together a financial summary, what steps are involved in preparing for an ideal client update meeting? I have put together a list of questions that you could put on an agenda, and eventually expand your process.

  1. Determine your ideal clients through a segmentation exercise -Ideal client name
  2. Determine how many meetings you will have per year -number of meetings
  3. Determine how many touches you will have for ideal clients for the year and communicate your process -ongoing communications
  4. Determine the names of the meetings, for example if I have two meetings a year, I would call each meeting a different name such as goals update meeting, risk management / insurance / estate meeting or tax and goals update meeting or lifestyle update meeting -names of meetings
  5. Determine how you will document and update their financial goals and plans -planning advice
  6. Determine how you will update and keep track of all clients goals and values -goals process
  7. Determine how often you will call ideal clients in between meetings -ideal client touches per year
  8. Determine an agenda for the meeting -agenda
  9. Determine if you will collect feedback (critical) at each meeting and how-feedback
  10. Determine how you will discuss costs or fees -fee ready and trust
  11. Determine who will trach the meetings and how in your CRM system -CRM processes
  12. Determine how you will discuss your ongoing improvements to your value proposition each year ( if you want to charge more you will have to deliver more each year) -Value Proposition
  13. Determine when you will do a practice meeting before the meeting to master the client experience -practice
  14. Determine how you will record the meetings -record and document and paperwork
  15. Determine what technology you will use in the meeting -enhanced client experience
  16. Determine what else you would add to this list -improvements
     

Keep this list handy

As you can see we combined several key practice management drivers of success into one client meeting. Having the ideal client experience is not just dependent on relationship. It is a process, which takes time to build, articulate and practice. If you want to improve your processes, which I am sure you do, keep and use this list as a guide for your financial advisory practice. Our goal is simple, to help one million people get a quality financial plan and advice through a financial advisor. How many ideal people are you helping this year?

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