In the upcoming weeks, it will be that time of the year where the clients will be looking to contribute to their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA). Over the last several years, there seems to be a common theme that “The RRSP season isn’t what it used to be”. Most would say the benefit of online banking transfers and automatic savings plans have made it easier for clients to make their contribution, which is true. However, being proactive and touching base will not only benefit the relationship with your clients, also provide plenty of additional business opportunities as well.
Here are my Top 5 Tips Advisors can win over clients this investment season.
What is your Client Relationship Management Strategy?
This seems to be the biggest challenge for most advisors. It's where to start. Many are looking for that quick client list that is going to provide the biggest result with minimal effort. Of course, this would be an ideal situation for everyone. Reviewing your client base will allow you to do determine which clients you should reach out to. This can be determined by your target market, annual review touch point, asset size, when they make their contributions, and upcoming life events.
How do your clients like being contacted?
It’s all about working smarter instead of harder. As an advisor, your time is precious. Many struggle to pick up that phone and reach out to their clients for such reasons like; “I know my clients”, “I don’t want to bother them”, “They usually reach out to me when they need something”, or “I would like do it but I can’t find the time.” Understanding how your clients like to being contacted, and how often throughout the year should make this easier on you. With many forms of communication available, do you have a clear list as to how many would prefer to be contacted by email, phone (Work vs home), letter, etc. Having your communication strategy can be such a time saver. Some advisors book scheduled calling times, while others do a hybrid which incorporates emailing a newsletter or reminder which also can be very effective. It does not matter how you do it, that proactive contact will be appreciated.
What is going to stand out during your annual review process?
For existing clients, this can be a bit of a challenge to keep it fresh, as they have gone through this process before. Some advisors focus on the asset allocation review, performance, and market update.
Here are a couple of suggestions in providing additional value in those meetings:
Are your client’s will, power of attorneys, and financial plan update to reflect the future going forward?
It’s never a surprise when asking a client when the last time any of these items were updated, the dialogue that usually follows is “I have been meaning to do that”. Hold your client’s accountable as they would you. If you client does not have this completed, get them to set a deadline and follow up with a call. They will appreciate it.
Determine what your client’s top three financial goals are in 2017
Investing and diversify your assets is important, but understanding how your client plan to utilize those funds are even more insightful. There are too many times where your client's assets are not being utilized and I often hear comments such as "I'm not sure” or “it’s there just in case”. Asking some good open ended questions can allow you to do a deeper dive on what excites your clients in 2017. Providing goal based advice allows your client to ensure they are on track and their assets are in the right allocation to minimize overall risk to their future dreams.
This year with the recent Client Relationship Model (CRM2) changes, in the disclosure of fees, this would be a great opportunity to review these new statements. Chances are they really didn't understand the old ones either. Getting ahead of it will demonstrate your proactive nature and stressing the importance of their understanding. Be prepared to how to handle that conversation, potential objections, and solutions.
What is your client referral strategy going to look like?
Asking your clients if they know anyone else that can benefit from your services is never easy. But, if you don’t ask you will never know. It’s interesting to see how many advisors do not ask for the referral, especially when they have been working with the same clients for years. Believe it or not, most of your clients assume that you don’t need any more business because it could be a bother to you. Be confident and just ask.
How can you keep your Client Relationship Management data up to date?
Recording meeting notes is a business standard, as there may be pertinent information that requires a follow up or potential future opportunity. Adding or deleting that information, and contact preferences, as soon as possible will save you time in the long run when thinking about your next client touchpoint or engagement. Also, this is a great time to build your pipeline. It is definitely tougher to get a hold of someone when they are spending the summers up at the cabin.
Even though these suggestions are not new ideas, it is a great reminder how important a touch point with new and existing client can lead to an exceptional experience. Every touchpoint does matter. Your clients do want to hear and deal with you. This level of understanding and accountability will build a stronger relationship and a brighter future for you both.
Best of luck and as always, your Yellow Brick Road is waiting for you.
Founder and President
Yellow Brick Road - Coaching and Consulting