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3 Ideas to Get the Most out of Client Reviews

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Now that you have lost the race to zero commissions, maybe it’s time to focus on a race your clients will want you to win: The race to higher value.

Fewer than 20% of investors who work with advisors want you to win the low-cost race. That’s because when they hear “low cost,” they too often think “cheap.” And an investor has too much at stake to follow cheap advice. In fact, 80% of investors tell us what they really want is “high-value” or “cost-efficient” investments.

In other words, they want good advice at a fair price.

How do you win the race to higher value? One way is to rethink your review meetings. We believe this is the single biggest opportunity available for you to provide more value to clients.

Did you know that 79% of advisor clients are dissatisfied with their current review meetings? According to our research, today’s advisors spend a vast amount of time, money and resources on review meetings that decrease their perceived value to clients.

After nearly 10 years of strong market returns, it seems reasonable that clients would be excited to review the good news in their portfolio’s performance. Unfortunately, it seems that many investors just aren’t seeing enough value in their review meetings with their advisors.

Why? One reason might be that the reviews are scheduled on arbitrary dates — rather than, say, based on key developments in clients’ lives — and focused on what you want to discuss, rather than what your client is currently focused on.

Many clients feel that review meetings are yours, not theirs.

How to Adjust

With a few modifications, you can make review meetings valuable to your clients. When done correctly, they’ll leave those meetings feeling content that they have discussed those issues that mattered most to them.

Here are the three steps to follow to ensure your most impactful client review meetings:

1. Send a pre-meeting checklist.

Although clients don’t want to do more work more than necessary, they do want to feel prepared. And they might not always recall everything that’s happened since their last meeting with you. This could involve changes with their family situation, friends, financial goals or investment priorities from a year or more ago.

By providing them a one-page checklist of items to discuss, you can remind your clients of important issues to address that could affect their longer-term financial plans.

2. Make the meeting about your client.

Now that your client has prepared for the review, make the meeting about them by opening with our research-based, client-centered agenda. Here’s an example of an effective script to begin your discussion:

“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure you’re on track as we work to make your goals a reality. There are a few things I would like you to walk away with in the time we have today.

First, I would like to hear from you. I know a lot can change between visits, and I would like to know if anything has changed recently that you think could affect your financial future and your long-term plan.

Second, I would like you to feel confident about the investments in your portfolio. We will consider the securities you own and how they have performed since we last spoke.

Finally, I would like you to feel confident that you know what you’re paying for and that you’re only paying for what you need. It’s my responsibility to provide services well matched to your objectives. So, we’ll review your services and costs to make sure we are working efficiently and effectively for you.

Before we get started, is there anything I’ve missed or anything else you would like to cover? If not, we can get started right away.”

Why does this approach work? First, you begin by outlining your goals and a purpose for the meeting. Next, you introduce three (based on our research, the ideal number) agenda points that emphasize the benefits of each and demonstrate your thorough preparation for the meeting. Finally, you give them a chance to customize the meeting agenda for their specific needs, making them an active partner in your discussion together.

3. Follow up with a summary.

Investors can trust you to put your words into action when you follow up with a summary of the conversation and your agreed-upon next steps.

David Templin Saylor is an Executive Director with Invesco Consulting. The article is based on “Priceless, the Language of Value” program from Invesco Consulting. The firm’s research included industry interviews, focus groups using instant dial response technology and a survey of 1,000 mass affluent investors in North America, ages 45–69.


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