First impressions are just as important for your clients as they are for you. Make your first meeting with clients productive and successful.
Before the meeting, agree on the following expectations:
- The client should bring all relevant financial statements and information to the meeting. Let them know that the more you know about their situation can help you create a personalized strategy.
- All decision makers should be present. By having all the decision makers together, you can avoid miscommunication and stay on the same page.
- Ask couples how they make financial decisions both individually and collectively.
Provide a mission statement: Explain how you help your clients and what you can do for them, making it clear that you value their unique situation. In most cases, the client will want to know what you do and how that applies to what they need. Sometimes, a client may be unsure of what they need. It may be helpful to provide examples of risks or concerns that have come up in past conversations with other clients.
Some concerns could include:
- Will the client spend more or less in retirement?
- Can the client travel?
- Will they be able to help their grandchildren?
Clients generally enjoy talking about the important things in their lives. If this step is overlooked, this is a lost opportunity to truly bond and create a rapport with your client. An easy way to remember it is the acronym F.O.R.M.
- Family: Who are the most important people in the client's life?
- Occupation: How long does the client plan on working?
- Recreation: What does the client like to do? Will it change with retirement?
- Money/Miscellaneous: What does money mean to the client? Is it a means to an end? Comfort? Freedom? Let your client paint that picture for you.
- Is leaving a legacy important? Do they have a bucket list? Are there charities/foundations they’d like to leave a contribution to? Are there family members the client wants to ensure are okay financially when the client is in retirement along with after they’ve passed?
Many advisors have also found it helpful to paint a clear picture of the four areas that most retirees look to for guidance. These areas are often referred to as the four pillars of a retirement strategy:
- Growth: Is there a strategy that addresses where their assets are currently and how to grow them with risk tolerance and goals? Do their assets reflect the investor they are today?
- Income: Is there a strategy that speaks to the questions: “How do I ensure that I won’t run out of money?” “Is there a strategy that will allow me to maintain my lifestyle after my main paycheck goes away?” “After social security, where does the income come from and how do we ensure it will last?”
- Family: How will you give the client peace of mind to know their legacy and their loved ones will be taken care of after the client passes away? If your client became incapacitated, do they have a strategy in place that allows for decisions to be made the way they'd want when they can't make them on their own?
- Taxes: Does the client's current financial strategy look at how best to use taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free retirement income strategies?
At this point in the meeting, ask the client which of those four areas resonates the most with them and which one is the biggest priority to address in the next meeting.
Finally, use the acronym S.P.A.R.E. to review your meeting and establish next steps.
Summarize what you covered.
Prioritize the next steps. Book any follow-up meetings.
Acknowledge that this will take some initial work on both sides, but the client will feel at ease knowing there is a plan and process in place to address retirement concerns.
Reassure that you are there to help them through this process, as you've done with your other clients.
Expedite your follow-up. Make sure to follow up with your client promptly after the meeting. Make your client feel that they are your number one priority throughout the meeting and planning process.
Once you’ve bonded with the client and prioritized their areas of need, the next step is to create personalized meeting notes that recaps your conversation. Including quotes from the client will show that you listened and understood their main concerns and priorities. Send this summation to your client prior to your next meeting, so they can go over what you previously discussed and add any additional points.
Remember to stay natural and be yourself during your interactions with clients and prospects. Show integrity, knowledge, compassion, and exhibit that you’re a true partner and provider of a solution. Download DMI's Fact-Finder to guide you towards getting the right information for your meeting!