Marketing can be crucial to building an advisory practice, but attracting potential clients is only step one. The remaining steps are just as vital.
Client acquisition, up to and including signing a formal agreement;
On-boarding, so that the new client’s information is included in your financial planning and customer relationship management (CRM) software
Developing a system that will lead to retention and a long-lasting client relationship.
In her January 3 blog post, Covisum's Director of Sales and Marketing, Katie Godbout, offered an in-depth look at crafting and using a client persona to generate leads. In the example, Katie introduces us to Carl, an industrial engineer approaching retirement, and his wife, Sofia, a retired registered nurse. These grandparents, now focused on being able to afford a long and fulfilling retirement, fall into the mass-affluent demographic.
Assume that your Facebook ads caught their eye, and they call for an appointment. You must be prepared to set Carl and Sofia on the proper path as soon as they enter your office. They are intrigued by what they’ve heard about you, but they’re cautious. Can you really help them live the way they’d like, once Carl stops working? What do you offer that they don’t already have, from their own efforts and perhaps from working with other advisors?
Putting Prospects First
You might be tempted to tell Carl and Sofia about your credentials, your designations and the people you’ve helped in the past. That’s important, to be sure, but probably not the best way to start. Carl and Sofia are likely to have encountered many smooth sales presentations in their lifetime and may well hear your self-promotion with more than a little skepticism.
Instead, put the initial focus on Carl and Sofia. Ask, “What do you see, when you envision a retirement that could last for decades? Staying in your residence? Moving for better weather or lower costs or proximity to loved ones? How will you spend your days? Helping your children with your grandchildren? Traveling? Pursuing your favored pastimes?
In short, listen to what your prospects have to say. Yes, this might help you to formulate a financial or investment plan. Probably more important, though, is delivering what these clients want: a belief that you are interested in them, as individuals, so they can expect to experience the retirement they desire.
Ask them about their biggest challenges and concerns odds are that is what drove them to meet with you. Can they afford to retire? How should they use their assets to create income? How do you charge for helping them? By listening carefully, and responding honestly, you can optimize prospects’ experience at this get-acquainted meeting, setting the stage for acquiring them as clients.
Once you’ve learned what prospects want from you as an advisor, you can tailor your presentation accordingly. You should have a pre-planned program to effectively make your case.
Your meeting preparation should include an agenda for what to discuss, once you have an idea of what’s important to a prospect. For example:
Social Security Benefit Claiming Strategy — Social Security Timing®swiftly provides earliest and best claiming strategies and makes it easy to show multiple alternate scenarios.
Investment Performance — Review the prospect’s past performance, with positive comments and ideas on how it might be improved. (Few people like to hear about past investment mistakes.)
Risk Posture — SmartRisk™can be used to reveal where prospects currently stand.
Tax Situation — Tax Clarity®can demonstrate tax-efficient income withdrawal opportunities.
Broader Retirement Income Strategies —Income InSight® demonstrates the value you add as a financial advisor. It runs automatic stress tests, provides Roth conversion recommendations, side-by-side comparisons and makes it easy to show the dollar amount added to the plan.
Cover any additional items Carl and Sofia wish to address.
Through the process of walking through a sample client, you will have demonstrated that you have specific processes in place to address their greatest challenges and add far more value to their retirement than you will charge in fees. You’ve earned the right to ask for their business.
Reviewing the Meeting
Enter all meeting notes into your CRM. Upload any new signed documents to the indicated subfolder in your CRM and prepare any necessary follow-up documents.
Making a new client, or failing to, presents an opportunity to review the advisor-client interaction from the viewpoint of the potential buyer or customer:
Was the prospective client a good fit for your practice? If not, consider whether the marketing messages that they responded to need to be edited. If they were a referral, consider talking to the referral source.
Did you ascertain whether the prospects were aware of the need for your services? Did they realize that they had a problem in their efforts to reach their financial goals?
Did you help the prospects consider ways to address their problem and commit to concrete steps moving towards their goals?
The more you can do to make your processes systematic and repeatable, the greater your chances of acquiring ideal clients and building long-term relationships with them.
Covisum provides a suite of deeply integrated, specialized tools that will differentiate your practice and communicate the value you add for your clients. You can seamlessly transition in and out of Income InSight, Social Security Timing, Tax Clarity, and SmartRisk. When you update data, your reports in all three tools will be revised. Combine these tools and make it easy to expertly answer your client's most pressing questions and draw them into a broader financial plan.
Lauren is a content marketing enthusiast with a love for storytelling - on camera, in writing, and through others. She has a robust communications background that includes: public relations, content creation, internal communications, digital marketing, and copy editing. Driven and motivated, Lauren holds a bachelor's degree in English and is an avid reader.