Doug Paul, Principal & Executive Consultant, Jennings Consulting
Insurance distributors searching for effective enhancements to their advisor value proposition need look no further that the advisor’s current book of business. Every advisor’s client base is filled with untapped potential, unmet needs and opportunities to mine the diamonds within the business.
Distributors who provide the right model for effective client review meetings and support it with superior CRM and needs analysis solutions will have robust value propositions that will help attract and retain top advisors.
Here’s how it works:
Advisors—Achieve Consistent, Sustainable Practice Growth by Mining the Diamonds Within your Business
One of the best business growth strategies for every advisor is literally right in front of them! When growing a business there are three measures to monitor progress. The first two are often top of mind and, as a result, consistently impact our actions:
- Attraction – the number/rate of new clients/customers choosing to do business with our firm
- Retention – the number/rate of existing clients/customers who remain with our firm
The truth about the third measure is that it is something we may think about from time to time, but it’s not always at the forefront of our strategic thinking:
- Consumption – the number of products and services our existing clients have purchased from our firm
When speaking with advisors about their strategies for growth I often ask a simple question about their business, “What percentage of your top clients have purchased all of the products and services they need from you?”. Over the years I have asked this question to hundreds of advisors, and I’ve never had anyone say over 50% of their top clients have purchased everything they need from them.
My intent here isn’t to embarrass anyone, in fact as advisors answer this question I often see their eyes light up as they realize the untapped potential within their existing relationships. At this point of awareness it’s a necessity for the advisor to create a consistent strategy in order to optimize this potential. One of the best approaches to achieving this is to commit to, and implement, regular client review meetings.
Client review meetings are about relationships not sales
Revisiting client needs isn’t about making a bunch of calls and trying to push more products at them. The core of all effective client review processes is following through on commitments we’ve made in our sales process— to meet regularly to review our client’s situation and assess if the existing products and services continue to help them manage their risk.
Benefits of committing to a regular, consistently effective client review process
Committing to a regular (notice I didn’t say annual!) client review process has many benefits:
- Advisors will have a stronger relationship, reinforcing their value proposition and securing their place as their client’s advisor (not just a salesperson)
- Clients will understand their areas of potential risk and how the products and services they have purchased are helping protect them and their family
- Advisors will ensure their client is aware of additional products and services they need to consider for managing their changing exposure to risk
- Advisors will earn the right to sell their client these products
- Advisors will earn the right to get introductions to their clients’ network of relationships
6 Step Process for Effective Client Review Meetings—Every time
There are some key steps that can ensure we follow through on this:
Even if they think they haven’t, many advisors have unconsciously segmented their client base as they have their top clients and then everybody else – the opportunity is to formalize in order to ensure you’re proactively connecting with the right clients
What is realistic volume of meetings you can manage annually?
How many weeks will you be working in the year, and how many review meetings can you manage per week? (40 weeks X 2 meetings weekly = 80 client review meetings annually)
2. Mark your tentative client review meetings in your CRM calendar for the whole year
3. Create a template email in your CRM to explain the meeting intent and provide meeting time options for your clients
Develop a cadence for when the invite email is sent, and the meeting is scheduled
Create a pre-meeting confirmation process with templates for each step
The following is an example of a process:
- Confirmation email when meeting booked
- Meeting reminder email 10 days in advance of meeting
- Meeting confirmation 2 days in advance of meeting
- Confirmation phone call the day of the meeting
5. Develop a Client Review Meeting Agenda Template for use in every meeting to:
- Keep you and your client focused and ensure you optimize the time invested for this
- Illustrate a level of professionalism with your client
- Allow you to control the narrative and cover off the important topics
- Capture your meeting notes in a, you guessed it, templated format
6. Send a follow-up email confirming key meeting outcomes and any next steps
- The right CRM is tailor made to easily segment and filter an advisor’s client base according to the criteria most important to them.
- CRMs make it easy for an advisor to understand their current and desired workload—and factor in the volume of clients the advisor is targeting.
- In the CRM it’s simple to map out the meeting and surrounding activities for the calendar year. Automatic reminders mean advisors never have to worry about remembering upcoming tasks and meetings are never missed.
- Advisor-specific CRMs include templates and forms tailored to the insurance and wealth industries. Or an advisor can create their own review template in their CRM so that it’s available to provide structure and consistency in every meeting.
- A financial needs analysis tool that integrates with the advisor CRM eliminates a lot of replicated questioning and data entry. It efficiently uncovers all client needs.
- The secure communication functions in the best CRMs make it a snap to track and share follow-ups immediately after the meeting.
- Finally, CRMs enable advisors to easily link communications, notes, and recordings to client records which creates a defensible audit trail for compliance purposes.
How CRM software for financial advisors drives a repeatable, successful review process
Each step in the above process is made easier and more effective through the use of advisor-specific CRM and financial needs analysis tools:
Technology is a great enabler that becomes even more powerful when advisors can map their processes into solutions that automate, streamline and enhance mission critical processes like client reviews.
Putting it all together
Mining the diamonds within their business is a tremendous strategy for advisor growth, strengthening relationships and ensuring their clients take advantage of the products and services you offer to manage their risk.
Those distributors who can deliver thought leadership about client relationship management, define a repeatable, effective client review process and provide advisor-specific CRM and planning solutions will gain an advantage in the highly competitive distribution marketplace.