Let’s assume you have good investing skills. You didn’t get shorted when they passed out personality. Your prospecting and selling skills are right up there. Your presentation skills are excellent. And your closing skills are smooth and polished. Yet you still might not survive the business for lack of a lowly skill — contact management.
For years I have preached “The Law,” which states: “Every contact with a client or prospect produces an updated record.”
I know lots of people alive in business today because they followed The Law. When a client had a recollection of reality different from what occurred, these teams were able to prove otherwise.
But The Law, as stated, did not address an increasingly crucial issue: “No contact.” Complaints have been filed alleging advisors have failed to contact someone on an important matter.
But what if this is you and you did try to make contact, but did not document it. You’re cooked, aren’t you? Therefore, given the increasingly litigious climate, it’s time for a slight but vital modification in The Law:
“Every contact or contact attempt with a client or prospect must produce an updated record.”
There are two reasons why your business depends on contact management:
1. To prove you did or did not do something.
2. To make sure all opportunities are captured and tracked.
Contact management is the process of managing every aspect of your relationship with an individual, family or business group. The goal of contact management is to develop lasting client relationships and turn client satisfaction into client loyalty. Contact management is done one client or prospect at a time.
By way of comparison, campaign management uses a database based on contact management principles to send targeted messages and phone calls to groups of people. The goal of campaign management is to move people into the selling cycle and to gather information about them so that more targeted marketing campaigns can occur. Until you gather the data, usually one client at a time, you can’t do the higher-level marketing tasks.
But once you have created a record of a client or prospect, data updates, messages, notes, actions and appointments are vital.
Data updates, generated whenever any new information about a client or prospect appears, keep key data current and build an actual database to use in marketing to clients and prospects.
Personal messages, sent one at a time, keep your name in front of the client and sustain goodwill.
Notes, especially, will save your business if you, the FA, meticulously enforce The Law.
Actions ensure you keep a record of what you and your staff have promised to do.
Appointments, of course, are the lifeblood of your business.
You build your database, piece by piece, one contact, or one “no contact” at a time.
How Does Contact Management Get Done?
There are four ways to get notes, actions and appointments as well as other data into your program:
1. Type it in by hand. This is certainly not recommended for team members with primary client contact responsibilities. This is ultimately why you need a computer operator — generally a part-time person whose primary responsibility is data entry and backup of your database.
2. Write it on a RUF (Record Update Form).
Basically, what you need is three different RUFs. You can cobble these together from screen prints. (With a blank record from your database on screen, press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. Open a Microsoft Word document. Press “Control V” to paste the screen image. Print the MS Word document and you have a RUF of sorts.)