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10 Questions for your Client Advisor Council
2024-02-13 • 2 minute read

Advisors have seen that Client Advisor Councils (CAC) can be extremely beneficial to the growth of their practice and for refinements to their process that they continue to make over time. As an example, I recently spoke with one of our consultants, Mike Cy, about one of his advisors who broke down their process for everyone on the Always On podcast I do weekly.

Mike explained that it was enlightening for him to be able to be there and see the process firsthand, especially with an advisor that he'd become fairly close with over a period of years. 

Many of the things that he and the advisor had been working on were brought out for many of his clients during their most recent council meeting. The feedback to the questions provided was very open and honest, and it was extremely beneficial. 

Looking specifically at the steps taken, they first sought to create predisposition and buy-in from the target clients, in part by getting them to see the value in participating. 

Then, through continued contact with his clients, they uncovered and confirmed that which clients were interested in creating something like an advisory council. It was explained as a way to get everybody together for a round table discussion about things that they enjoy about the experience that they're having with the advisor, and to dig up less-positive things that might be in the back of their minds, or unmet needs. The vital point, Mike pointed out, was that getting a client side view of the matter through smart questions made both the process better and the clients more satisfied in and appreciative of the advisor's process.

Too often advisors don't understand the basic questions that clients are - or should be - asking. "How would I want to be treated? How would I view these different services?" are important questions, but very broad, and often asked of the advisor only to themselves. 

What this advisor did was invite the initial group together for the first advisory council meeting. There were about 12 individuals on council, which is a good number. Too large of a group can make people concerned about being open and honest with their input.

Prior to the meeting, the advisor took the most important step; he sent agendas out to describe the topics and questions that were going to be discussed, allowing council members to prepare a bit and decide what their thoughts were. In-depth questions that matter to clients are the fuel that powers a working CAC.

To help you spark your own CAC, here is a list of specific core questions you can supply with your agenda, or mention during other communications, or use as a guide during the meeting itself. We'd suggest that you select up to 10 questions (but probably not more) to address at your Client Advisory Board meeting:

  • How did you come to select us as your advisor?
  • What's the one thing you value most about our relationship?
  • Have we met, exceeded or fallen below your expectations?
  • What one thing do you feel we should improve on?
  • Is there one thing you feel we do especially well?
  • Are we communicating with you enough?
  • Are the materials we send you of value?
  • How do you describe us to family members?
  • Have we done a good job conveying our full array of services to you?
  • Do you see the merit in us engaging a Value-Added Support Team?
  • Directionally, do you anticipate your needs evolving?
  • How often would you like to be contacted? (Remember, you are describing your ideal scenario so don't be shy)
  • Are there other value-added services you would suggest we add to our business?
  • How do you feel about our [new letterhead, new logo ideas, etc.]?
  • Have we earned the right for you to feel comfortable enough to recommend our service to a colleague?
  • Did you find this session valuable? Do you think it would be worth doing again?

Implementing a Client Advisory Council is more than a strategic move; it's a commitment to growth, a testament to the value you place on your clients' voices, and a step toward a practice that is not just profitable, but also aligned with the needs and aspirations of those it serves. As we continue to navigate the complexities of financial services, let's remain steadfast in our quest for excellence: Always listening, always evolving, and always placing our clients at the very heart of our journey.

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