My First Client Advisory Board Roundtable: The Process

Three weeks ago I wrote about my preparation for my first client roundtable. Last week, after the event had occurred, I provided some comments in my weekly blog, which happened to focus on the praise I received from clients at the meeting. In response to that posting, Steve Wershing commented online, "I am thrilled to hear you received such great feedback from your first advisory board. What you didn't mention is what the clients advised you to change or add to get better."

Steve, you are absolutely correct! The reason is simply that I have not yet tallied their answers. I certainly plan to, but last week was very busy. I assure you that by this time next week, I will have some tangible information to share with you. For now, I'll keep it brief and discuss the structure of the meeting.

I divided the meeting into three parts.

Part One: Getting Direct Feedback

In Part I asked the participants to fill out a two-page questionnaire in which I asked their opinion on a variety of issues such as, "What influenced your decision to hire me?" I also asked them to rank several existing and potential new services from not important to very important.

In addition, I listed several character traits and asked them to rank them from the most important to the least (i.e.; trust, competence, personality, etc.). Finally, I asked if they read my newsletter and if they had ever forwarded it to a friend.

Part Two: What I Offer, and What I’m Thinking of Offering

Part II consisted of several slides in PowerPoint on various topics. Each slide was what you might call a "one pager." The first was an overview of my business. The next outlined some of the differences between a broker and an investment advisor. There were also slides illustrating my financial planning and investment management processes. After refining them, I might have them laminated for quick reference when meeting with a prospective client.

The final section of Part II was created to get their opinion on some specific new services I've been considering. In contrast to the material in Part One, after explaining the details, we had some discussion before they ranked the value of each.

Part Three

In part three I presented selected pages of my financial plan and asked them to rank their importance. In case you are new to this blog, my financial planning tool is one which I created years ago and to which have made several enhancements. Basically, whenever I get an idea I like, I include it in the tool. I simply wanted to get their feedback on the value of certain parts of the plan to either validate of invalidate my opinion.

As I mentioned, next week I will provide specific, tangible information I received. All in all, it was a great night and I will be doing this again.

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