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Financial Planning > Tax Planning

How Often Should You Talk to Clients?

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An advisor I work with calls each of his clients every quarter to check in and find out if they’ve had any major changes to their financial situation. As you can imagine, these calls create quite a burden and greatly reduce the advisor’s work output and the efficiency of his business.

Though advised to reduce the frequency of these calls, he’s reluctant to do so, citing these monthly calls as a key part of his client service model.

This advisor is an excellent example of two common problems that many independent advisory firm owners have: insecurity about the value of their advisory service model and a failure to create healthy relationships with their clients.

To better understand these issues, let me ask if your doctor or accountant call you every month to find out if you have any medical or tax/business problems? Of course not, because that’s not part of your relationship with them.

It’s your job to let them know if you have any medical or tax problems, and to show up for regularly scheduled checkups or meetings. And it’s their job to be there for you, should one of those issues arise.

These are healthy professional relationships. You both know your own responsibility.

So why do financial advisors often have trouble creating these mutually responsible relationships? Most likely because the benefits of ongoing financial advisory services aren’t as visible as health or tax issues, plus recurring revenue streams create fear.

A Different Dynamic

We all know we have health issues from time to time, and we don’t want to have tax issues. But generally speaking, financial advice is a long-term benefit that’s not always apparent to clients.

It’s true that most advisors have yearly meetings with their clients, and usually distribute annual financial reports. But some advisors still worry that these aren’t enough, even though client feedback overwhelmingly tells us that they don’t want or need meetings or reports more frequently.

But here’s a tip: Many clients really don’t want to hear from you every quarter, especially asking them a question to which the answer is usually “no.”

The better solution is to believe in the value of your own services. Sound financial planning/advice is essential to the well-being of most families today. Your clients know this, so why don’t you?

Instead of trying to demonstrate something to your clients that they already know, both advisors and their clients will get more benefit from professional relationships that are clear about the responsibilities of both advisors and clients. 


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