Seven steps to secure your income

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One of the most valuable components of advice businesses is the fact that they can generate recurring income from long-term relationships with their clients, and financial adviser coach Tony Vidler explains how you can use your client review to help:

A key question on the lips of many advisers is “How do I deliver valuable on-going services to my clients, so that they’ll happily continue to pay my fees, year after year?” There are many components that go toward a valuable ongoing service, and this article will focus on what is arguably the most important component, and perhaps the most poorly-delivered aspect of an ongoing advice relationship, the Client Review meeting.

If a review is just about the dollars and cents, they could just as easily be e-mailed a nice colourful graph.

But if it is treated as a “Strategic Update”, and the meeting is all about the client – restoring perspective, discussing their current circumstances and any possible life changes that could be coming their way, they will see it differently. Use it as a chance to celebrate, re-evaluate and update. Gain a better understanding of what drives them, and where they are headed.

Conducting the interview – it’s all about them

The best meetings work from an agenda, and we suggest working to a structure like the following:

1. Begin with a chance to reconnect. Discuss what has happened in their lives since the last review. Have they celebrated a milestone or achieved one of their stated objectives that was in their previous financial plan?

2. Review and update their circumstances. Do they see their goals as being the same, or do they need updating? Has something happened that affects their cash flow? Maybe they have had a pay rise, changed jobs, have a new baby. Whatever it is, it will be important to them – so it is important to you!

3. Get an update on their family. Drawing a family tree will make sure that no important person in their life is missed out. There may be changes in the lives of their parents or children which could have an impact on their financial situation.

4. Don’t forget the importance of their insurance portfolio. A full risk audit will show where the gaps are and ensure the most appropriate policies are in place.

5. In looking back, include details on the client’s overall portfolio since the last review, such as details on under and over performing strategies. But statistics alone are meaningless unless they have context. A picture is worth a thousand words (and a million numbers), so show them a graph of how they are tracking.

6. Depending on how much has changed, you may decide on the spot that the current strategy is still relevant, or you may find the need to document an SOA or ROA after they leave the meeting. Either way, summarise any changes you suggest, or re-cap on the strategies that you will continue to employ to continue toward reaching their objectives.

7. Absolutely crucial is to re-visit the service package they are on, and the fees they are paying you. Be diligent in ensuring that the level of service they have had for the past year will be appropriate for the next year, and adjust if necessary.

When you re-engage your clients with effective Strategic Update Meetings, they will look forward to your discussions, and actively participate in your service. You will also find they are more likely to gain better outcomes, as you are empowered to ensure their financial plan stays up-to-date…and this usually results in the clients actively referring more clients to you.

Make a habit to regularly review your reviews. Revisit your process with staff periodically. And don’t forget to ask your clients what they think – this can be done via a simply constructed e-mail or online survey. After all, your clients know what makes them happy, and know if you are providing it.

View the full article on Tony's blog.

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