As long as I have been in this business, there have been periods of sowing and periods of harvesting. It is very rare--at least in my experience--to have a continual flow of new business week after week after week. Usually there are times when it seems all you are doing is filling out new account paperwork and times when the list of prospective clients is small. I've just finished a period of growth and now it's time to ramp up the marketing efforts again.
The fortunate thing about being independent is that no one is hovering over me with the expectation of hitting some predetermined sales target. The only person I have to answer to is me (and maybe my wife).
I am about to undertake another revision with my financial planning. I have about eight individuals for which I have created a formal financial plan. Once the plan is created, and every strategy has been implemented and verified, what next? Here are some thoughts I have on the subject.
The original agreement covers the initial period which is the first 12 months. After that, I charge a "retainer" fee. What is the specific "value-add" to the client to justify the fee? This needs to be clearly defined and articulated to the client.
The retainer fee provides for plan updates as needed, progress checks, and ongoing advice for one-year periods. I will update each client's plan at least one time during the following 12 months and more if necessary. The update will also compare the current numbers to past projections. Is the net worth increasing? Have the financial assets grown as expected? Are the debt ratios improving? In short, is their overall situation improving, getting worse, or is it flat?
A financial plan is an ongoing dynamic process which requires updating the information with regularity.
For years, it has been my understanding that when clients leave it is not because of poor investment performance (though I'm sure this is sometimes the case), but for lack of contact. We will begin sending cards to clients for their birthdays and other special events such as holidays.
We also have a "vault" completed on our Web site where clients can store their important documents. I'll write more about this later.
Thanks for reading!