We are all aware that financial planning is a process. From a consumer position, it might be phrased as helping clients:
- Get from where they are financially today to where they'd like to be in the future.
- Increase their net revenue during retirement.
- Achieve financial comfort through planning.
- Minimize the tax erosion of income and assets.
However, from the perspective of the financial advisor, this is a far more detailed procedure. As professionals, we must follow tested procedures to achieve maximum results and avoid the sins of omission. Should we fail to consider some critical aspect of a client's position, then we can do serious harm -- rather like the surgeon who does not count the sponges and leaves one or two inside.
In the Financial Planning Process(TM)
course, the IARFC uses a chart with more than 50 identified steps to define everything that an advisor should consider doing when he or she delivers the initial plan. Naturally, each client's case is different, and some of those steps do not need to be taken, although nearly all must be considered.
There is value in complexity.
Few clients want to understand the very complex chart. What they want is to believe that their advisor understands the chart and is following a well-designed procedure. So the quick display of that chart contributes to the new client's comfort.
Understanding requires simplicity.
Nevertheless, all new clients want to feel they understand what will be happening. Therefore, a much simpler chart might also be used that has a sense of positive motion that will be easily understood and comforting as they make the transition from prospect to client. For an example of such a chart, or of other tools that will help you be prepared, please contact me using the forum below.
Agendas control meetings.
A written agenda reassures a prospect before they arrive that you are serious, organized and professional. A copy should accompany the appointment confirmation letter and another one included in the folders assembled for the actual session. You should have an agenda for each basic type of client meetings, and they can be dated and printed with the client's name automatically.
You must be fully prepared for your meeting with the prospect, who is looking for you to lead them from doubt, uncertainty and lack of confidence. If you are extremely organized will convey your professional status and maximize the results from each initial presentation.
*For further information, or to contact this author to learn about additional tools you will need to be prepared, please leave a comment and your e-mail address in the forum below.