Do investors understand the total cost of investing and advice? Consider completing a fee audit on a prospects portfolio and financial plan. Do a 12-month fee summary of both dollars and percentages of what a prospect is currently paying their financial advisor and financial institution. This is the total fees for advice and investment management combined. Then, Over the last five years, look at the total amount of fees they paid and look at the tangible (dollar gains, tax planning gains, estate planning gains, advice gains) benefits they received.
Then list the intangible benefits they received, such as peace of mind, comfort, simplicity, and trust. This can be part of your detailed process to outline your measurable and immeasurable client benefits to prospects. I always ask advisors “Tell me how much income tax you potentially saved last year with your top client?” In my workshops with financial advisors, I rarely get an answer to that question. Are you telling me that you cannot quantify your value in dollar terms?
Put on one page, the total dollar cost the client paid in the last 12 months and the advice they received in all six areas of their financial life. This includes tax, estate, risk, investments, insurance and debt and cash flow management. Then, build a process that gives your clients and prospects a forward-based, five-year estimated cost and potential benefits to help you quantify the value of your advice. Use a checklist of benefits to compare what they are currently getting and not getting, to help the prospect understand what they are paying for. Make sure they understand the total cost, in dollar terms and percentages by highlighting it on the bottom of the fee audit checklist page.
Build your process with feedback, value, and transparency to get an edge on the client experience
Now when you sit down with prospects consider this exercise and discussion. Ask “ Can I do a fee audit for you to help you understand how fees impact your planning and the total cost in dollars and percentages? Would it be valuable for you to understand the total cost of what you are paying, what you get for those fees, and what you do not get? “ Look at the estimated total fees over the last five years that they have paid and quantify them in a dollar cost as well as a percentage. With a prospect, look at the starting investment amount five years ago and the ending investment amount today, including withdrawals. Then ask about their planning processes they have completed, including tax planning, estate planning, and financial planning and ask to see the documents. This exercise will help you with your value discussion, but more importantly, showing prospects the total cost, in dollars and percentages, and help them understand the total that they are paying. It will also show complete transparency with benefits and will show your prospect instant and tangible benefits of working with you, especially if their current advisor has no process for showing their planning processes, total fees and total transparency if they show any fees for advice. It will also allow you to discuss your value of your planning processes and your progress update meetings to keep them on track.
Key prospecting discussion
Get in a habit of people you come across every day if they understand the fees they are paying. Ask them to explain the fees as they understand it. Then ask” would you be open for me to do a fee audit for the last five years to help you understand the cost (or fees) and benefits? I ask because we do this for our clients so they understand the measurable benefits of our advice along with our immeasurable benefits that our planning offers such as peace of mind and simplicity of their financial life. Our clients appreciate more comprehensive planning advice through our progress update meetings 3 times per year, a 100 point planning checklist, tax planning, estate planning, financial planning and investment planning ( what services you offer) in writing, does this make sense to you? Our clients have comfort knowing it is taken care of, so they can go on and enjoy the things that are important to them”. Now you have the start of a process to discuss your differences with prospects.
Practice makes perfect
Do you have scripts that you use with prospects and practice them with someone to give you feedback? Do you have a clear detailed process for making your client’s fee ready? If not, who is helping you who has a proven process to help you get there? Find someone who has a proven process and has the time to help you get there. It is not just about content, but it is about practice. Who is helping you practice your scripts? Do you record your practice sessions? Imagine if the “Rolling Stones” band never practiced and only recorded once? Do you record your meetings with your client’s permission? Find a coach, mentor or manager who can help you build your process and help you practice your communication skills to articulate your value. Now go out and practice your fee audit conversation, build your process for converting prospects and providing measurable and immeasurable value to your new clients.
Quality financial and investment plan
One final comment. In my workshops with financial advisors, I always ask a veteran advisor, “in twenty plus years, how many quality financial and investment plans in writing have you seen from your competitors?” The answer is usually less than 5 quality plans in 20 years. My mission is simple, “Coaching financial advisors to create 1 million quality financial and investment plans for their ideal clients”. Ask your clients and prospects this question ” What does a quality financial and investment plan mean to you? Let me know if I can help you grow your practice.
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