About 10 years ago, I got my biggest client. It was a wealthy couple approaching retirement age who had their money with an investments-only firm (i.e. no financial planning). What attracted them to that firm at the time was the message of “better returns from experienced investors”. Their previous advisor had a column in a popular investment magazine. He was also particularly astute in marketing, offering downloadable freemiums of the type “Why I Hate Annuities” and “A 15-min Retirement Plan”. These only helped reinforce his claims of being a seasoned investor. But even though the mouse trap was effective at getting clients like my client couple to reach for the cheese (the promise of enhanced returns), it turned out that the firm’s flaws prevented it from doing a good job at retaining clients.
Investment performance (or lack thereof) was one of the reasons my clients decided to leave that firm and have me become their advisor. But it wasn’t the only one. Nor do I believe that it was the biggest reason for them leaving. I still remember my client talking about their previous advisor. “I can’t stand it when he calls me up to ask me how I’m doing.”, my client said. It turns out that their previous advisor didn’t ignore my client. In fact, he called her every month to see how they were doing. But it was always at inconvenient times via the telephone. And if the intrusion wasn’t annoying enough, he literally had nothing to talk about. He was basically calling up wanting to shoot the breeze. Evidently, he heard somewhere that he needed to contact his clients at least 12 times a year, or risk losing them. Evidently, my client had better things to do than shoot the breeze.
I am sharing my (and my client’s) experience with you because I feel that what was relevant pre COVID-19 is only more relevant today: Clients want to be engaged by their advisor. I think one could even argue that clients want to be engaged even more today to make up for the fact that they can’t shake your hand and sit across a table from you like they could a few months ago. Advisors therefore need to find ways to engage clients effectively to provide assurances that they are on the job, looking out for their clients’ best interests.
The problem is that advisors are struggling to engage clients in a way that is both unobtrusive and meaningful. A recent study by Broadridge found that seventy-seven percent of financial advisors say they have lost business as a result of not having the appropriate technology tools to interact with clients throughout this pandemic. Those numbers don’t surprise me. When you consider that most advisors use the telephone or Zoom to interact with clients, it’s no wonder that clients are frustrated. Meetings, even of the virtual type, take time. And if the advisor hasn’t given some thought to the meeting, the client is going to resent the advisor taking up their time even more.
Now we get to the part you’ve been waiting for. And, not surprisingly, I have a solution. Why not use PreciseFP to create Templates you can use to Engage clients throughout the year? One of my favorites is the End of Year Tax Planning template that we have in our Library available for you to use today. Imagine using it to engage all of your clients in search of opportunities to improve their tax situation. With a click of a button, Engagements are sent and clients are offered a robo-like experience where they can be educated and provide feedback to you for potential follow-up. What can possibly be more efficient? You save time, your client saves time, and it looks like you took the time to make the experience unique for every single client.
Below are the 5 simple questions that are contained within that template. Can you see how your client would appreciate you asking them? Can you see how you can unearth some potential opportunities (for you and your client)? Can you see how your client could be appreciative of the experience this PreciseFP Engagement provides?
And why stop there? Create your own templates and use PreciseFP to engage clients around other areas of financial planning that will resonate with them. Maybe it’s a summer vacation budget template. Or a template that helps clients get their estate planning affairs organized. Or maybe it’s around a niche market that you serve. Whatever the need, you can engage clients in the most efficient and customizable way I know how, using the tool that was built to engage clients and make the experience the best engagement experience on Earth.
Don Whalen, CFP® – CEO