A habit of top advisers: Using a CRM tool

By Robert Sofia

Platinum Advisor Strategies


It is a common practice for doctors, attorneys and other professionals to dictate their notes following an appointment. As a financial professional, you should be doing the same. Not only does this practice make you appear more professional, but it also helps make you more referable because it prevents things from slipping through the cracks. Using a dictation service will:

Help you stay organized
Do you ever get tired of flipping through pages in a notebook or shuffling through files looking for what you wrote during a meeting 6 months ago? If you take just 3-5 minutes at the end of each appointment to dictate your thoughts while they are fresh, your notes will already be in your CRM tool. In some cases, your CRM tool will input your dictations automatically, and in other cases they can be emailed to an assistant who can copy and paste them into the client record in seconds. And by dictating instructions to your assistant on the spot, you are able to save time that would otherwise be spent explaining things later on.

Make you a more effective advisor.
In casual conversation during meetings, clients and prospects share important details about their life. With good intentions, you may try to remember everything they tell you, but it just isn't possible. Running a practice is demanding, and there are too many other details to keep track of. If you dictate notes while they are fresh in your mind, you will record these important tidbits for future reference. If your client tells you they are expecting a new grandchild in three months for example, not only can you send them a card to congratulate them on its arrival, but you can remind them to establish a college fund the next time they are in your office.

Protect you from compliance headaches.
Today's strict regulatory environment presents more challenges for advisors than ever before. Many consumers don't even think twice about suing their advisor or filing a complaint with FINRA if they think it will help them recoup losses. To protect yourself from erroneous claims, it is critical to maintain careful and thorough documentation of all conversations shared with a client. During meetings, if you dictate proper explanations and rationale behind all recommendations made, you have a permanent, date stamped record that can help protect your good name.

Attract more business.
When you call into your dictation service with the client present, this demonstrates that you are organized, efficient and professional. As they hear you reviewing everything they discussed with you, it will build their confidence that you are going to follow through on what you said. In addition, by not missing any critical details, you will do a better job planning for their needs, thus making you more referable.

At Fross & Fross Financial, we dictate notes after every first appointment, second appointment, review and phone call. For the reasons listed above and more, we highly recommend that you consider doing the same.

Author Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of the Perry Mason series, is said to have once typed until his fingers bled before he finally employed the use of a tape recorder to capture his thoughts so they could be passed on to able secretaries to type. It's a shame he had to learn the hard way.