I am on record many times stating that clients crave – and I mean really crave (call it a long-lost yearning if you will) a professional that is competent, provides impeccable advice and service, communicates clearly and precisely to the client about everything and anything relating to their business.
It is so rare to find someone like this. I know firsthand what it feels like to be a client that is waiting, hoping and wanting to trust that the next professional advisor I work with fulfills this role.
Real life examples
My accounting and legal relationships have repeatedly demonstrated how it feels to be in this position. I have had my previous accountant repeatedly sit across from me and ask why we are using a certain strategy to pay people or why we haven’t applied for a certain grant or why our bookkeeping didn’t reflect a certain aspect of our business. She often does this with a pained and scornful expression on her face, as she twists her head to one side. Other times we have conversations where she sounds like a grade school teacher scolding her pupils:
“Why are you still paying this through this account?!”
My answer: “Because you told us to!”
“Well that’s going to cost you a lot of money.”
Then the emotions rush in: anger, confusion, frustration, fear and a lack of trust.
My lawyers changed firms and never called us. I have received invoices from both the old and the new company. I have to make repeated calls to find our minute books and when they are tracked down, they are incomplete and poorly maintained.
The good news is that this is now all in my past. After a twenty-year process of anxiety and frustration, I have finally found both a lawyer and an accountant that treat me extremely well and provide what I am looking for. Ironically my accountant was shocked and alarmed when I told her that the relationship was dysfunctional. Sound familiar?
How does this relate to you, the financial advisor?
If you don’t have a system and process for proper communication, it isn’t going to happen. Your clients will end up feeling much like I did with my professionals.
The PFPS clearly outlines your clients’ goals and objectives, what you have done in the past for them, what you are currently working on, and explains the different options for the future.
This isn’t just a matter of explaining statements to clients. What strategies do you have in place to support their goals and objectives? Are you being accountable to what they want to achieve in their lives for themselves and their families?
Our process for existing client meetings utilizes the Personal Financial Policy Statement (PFPS). The PFPS clearly outlines your clients’ goals and objectives, what you have done in the past for them, what you are currently working on, and explains the different options for the future. It is not overly complex and confusing; it simply outlines every aspect of the relationship in an understandable manner. Clients rave about the process because it gives them clarity and understanding, without the complexities and details that most advisors seem to find difficult to avoid.
The PFPS is accomplishes all these things, and it does so easily and effectively each and every time you meet with the client. If you aren’t using this, or something like it, you really should be.
Remember, clients are paying you to be the expert and to provide expert advice. They are paying you to simplify their lives, not add layers of complexity.
Ask yourself: Am I making my clients’ lives easier or more complicated?
Try to answer that question from a client’s or layman’s perspective, or in other words, someone who does not have the background and training that you do. Are your processes designed to overlay on a client’s ‘world view?’ Remember, the world view of a typical client is not the same world view as a Financial Advisor’s.
Einstein summed this up succinctly: He said:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Call us at 1-877-677-4585 to discuss ZERO-Cost Coaching and book an evaluation of your business. We will share this simple, yet elegant tool with you and your staff.
Sign up for the Pareto Academy
For complete information on the Pareto Academy click here. To become a member of The Pareto Academy For Practice Management self sign-up on our website, call Scott Simpson at 1.800.625.6850, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pareto Systems has taken the time to source and highlight a selection of well-priced, unique client gifts and items for you choose from in our Client Gift Guide section of our website. Client gifts made easy. Check it out!
Join Co-CEO Duncan MacPherson and Stewart Vanderheide from Pareto Platform CRM December 11th at 4:05 pm EST as they outline how a Client Relationship Management System can help you be compliant, attract and keep great clients while improving profitability and efficiency. Click here to register for this webinar.