One of the single most efficient things you can do in your practice is to take an hour to sit down and think about the various types of meetings you can have with clients and/or prospects, and then allocate proper time slots or time spans for each of those meetings.
As financial professionals, we understand that financial plans and goals need to be personalized and customized based on the needs, wants, financial desires, and means of each individual client. Client meetings, however, can be categorized. In fact, here is a four-step process for achieving this and maximizing your efficiency when scheduling client meetings, thereby leaving you more time for other things, like time with your family.
Make a list of the various types of meetings you have with your clients. For example:
- An initial client interview.
- An investment recommendation meeting.
- A regular (quarterly or semi-annual) review meeting.
- An investment adjustment meeting.
- A full financial plan presentation and session.
- A financial situational change meeting.
For most financial practitioners, this list covers the majority of potential sessions with clients. That is not to say that we won't have special meetings or crisis situations that require different types of meetings, but in the process of running a normal practice, these are the various types of meetings that you can and should have with your clients.
Assign proper time spans for each of these sessions. For example, an initial client interview should be anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. For those of you who use more time, definitely assign 90 minutes, but for those of you who enjoy multiple sessions with clients before making investment recommendations, perhaps 60 minutes will suffice.
Communicate with your staff -- and, in particular, your assistant -- the amount of time required for each of these sessions, so when you are booking these sessions with clients, they can schedule your time with as few interruption as possible.
One of the main problems we find with many financial representatives is their schedule. They tend to have a meeting at 9:00, a meeting at 12:30, and a meeting at 4:00. Unfortunately, throughout the course of a very long day, they only meet with three clients. Had their assistant, or whoever was in charge booking appointments, understood the time length necessary for each of those types of meetings, they may have booked them in a more efficient manner. For example: client review session, 9:00-9:30; initial client interview, 9:30-11:00; client review session, 11:00-11:30. This allows the option of using the afternoon for additional appointments or family/recreation time.
Establish weekly goals for how many meetings you want to have, and share that weekly goal with your assistant and office personnel, as well.
If you make these types of modifications to your practice, you will find that your entire office understands how long you will meet for each session you book with clients. This will allow them to book your schedule in a much more efficient manner and as a result, you will no longer be a slave to your schedule, instead becoming much more efficient.
Setting up a good system makes you more efficient, and communicating this system to your staff helps make it work.
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