Financial Advisers: Tips for New Client Meetings

It's important to make new clients feel like they’ve made the right choice in working with you as their financial adviser.
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You’ve worked hard to convert an interested prospect to a new client for your financial advisory practice. Now that they are a client, making them feel like they’ve made the right choice in choosing you as their financial adviser is important. Your initial meeting with them as a client is an important first step in this process.

When a client decides to go with a new financial adviser they are taking a leap of faith. Financial advisers, like anyone selling their professional services, put their best foot forward during the first meetings.

Once an investor connects with an adviser, they want to be sure they have made the right decision. One of the best ways to help reinforce that their decision was the right one is to display a professional attitude and approach to working with them as a client from the beginning.

Beyond simply being professional, you want to be sure that your new clients feel welcome and that they know you appreciate the opportunity to help them achieve their financial goals. While you certainly want to cultivate a friendly relationship with your clients, you do want to be sure to maintain the focus on the professional relationship.

Depending upon how your firm’s process works, it can be a good idea to have your firm’s client service person sit in on at least part of the initial meeting, if your firm has someone in this type of role. Even better, if your firm has one, be sure the client has received a copy of your firm’s checklist and materials prior to the meeting. During the meeting your client services person can go through the checklist with them, discussing what is needed from the client and offering to help them through the process.

This can help ensure that you receive all information needed, and can help make this process as easy and painless as possible. This also says that your firm has a process and that you are meticulous in dealing with the administrative aspects of the business. For clients who may not be financially or tech savvy, this step can help alleviate any stress they may be feeling in dealing with your requests for information.

At the first meeting or shortly after, introduce your entire team to you new clients if applicable. This should include any other partners or advisers as well as client service and administrative personnel. This reinforces the idea your clients are hiring not just you as their adviser, but your entire team. Having your clients meet your colleagues can help make them feel comfortable dealing with these people when they are contacted by a firm representative or if they have questions and you are unavailable.

Most of all, use this first meeting with your new clients to get down to business and to help them with financial issues that they hired you for.

Revisit any issues covered during the discussions that you had while they were making their decision to hire you. Begin the discussions of what they can expect as far as next steps and working with you on an ongoing basis. This will include the frequency of review sessions, how frequently you might communicate with them in between for meetings and the best ways for them to contact you.

Likewise you will want to ask if they have a preference on how you contact them. If applicable, be sure that you reinforce that they are welcome to contact you at any time with any questions or situation that arise impacting their financial situation.

Be sure to discuss and confirm their financial priorities. Are they nearing retirement? Are they mid-career professionals looking to build wealth? Are taxes and estate planning key issues?

Discuss the process and timetable for doing their initial financial planning work. This meeting is a great time to discuss their plan and to go over any questions you have of them or vice versa.

If you will be managing the client’s investments, a discussion of your approach and what they can expect going forward is in order at this meeting. If you will be revamping the client’s existing portfolio be sure to walk them through this process and what they can expect to see over the coming days and weeks.

Most of all, use this first meeting with your new client to map out your process for working with them as valued clients and to set their expectations of you, and your expectations of them as clients. Reinforce that working with a financial adviser is a collaborative process and that their input and participation is crucial to the success of the relationship. Most of all, emphasize to them that your definition of success means helping them achieve their financial goals and objectives.