Jun 26th 2012
By 1st Global
Periodic client review meetings give CPAs and financial advisors the opportunity to put all their tools to work. They’re a good way to reconnect with your clients after tax season and continue to build and strengthen the relationship you have with each other. Done well, client meetings can be productive and rewarding, both monetarily and psychologically. Improperly done, they can be a disaster. Here are some suggestions for successfully conducting client review meetings in a productive and satisfying manner that builds trust, nurtures relationships and creates a meaningful result for both you and your clients.
Review Meeting: Gateway to Becoming an “Advisor for Life”
The periodic review is an opportunity to ask the client about any Situations, Opportunities and Concerns (SOCs) that may affect his or her financial goals; update the client's Wealth Development Index (WDI), an evaluation tool that measures a client's progress toward achieving his or her personal or business goals; and re-educate the client on the necessary steps to meet those goals.
As a CPA, your job is to ask thought-provoking questions that will get the client to open up and identify some problems or opportunities he or she may have. Over time, SOCs get resolved and new ones surface so these questions must be tailored to each specific client meeting. It's very important to note that as the WDI is reviewed, you must ask the client about categories that were not identified as relevant in the prior meeting. The ideal result is that a genuine long-term plan takes shape.
Conducting periodic reviews is important to forming meaningful relationships and building client retention. They make client relationships "sticky" in the sense that clients are disinclined to disrupt a process that is firmly entrenched. Every client review builds rapport with the advisor and makes the relationship more likely to last.
Periodic Reviews Can Generate New Business
Periodic reviews can also be business builders because they’re terrific opportunities to generate referrals, the most potent way to grow your business. They’re also revenue generators. The vast majority of clients will have new SOCs to address, and the review is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Finally, periodic reviews are fun. Relationships deepen and you'll find yourself more personally connected through this discipline and methodology.
Remember the review isn’t complete when the face-to-face meeting ends. It's important to send a "summary and action" letter to the client to clarify the assessment and goals established. The easiest way to do this is to adopt a standard template format for the firm and get it approved by your compliance department. This builds into the predictability of the methodology and lets a client know what to expect. Over a period of years, the client will have a file full of letters detailing the progression of their financial plan. This way the systematic disposition of SOCs will be readily visible and the value of the advisor clearly seen.
While not particularly complex, the periodic review meeting is an indispensable element in the client relationship. The more methodical and disciplined it is, the better. Clients become very comfortable with the process, especially when they see systematic progress on SOCs and a steady realization of their goals. The periodic review is a wonderful opportunity for you to establish yourself as the "advisor for life."
1st Global was founded by CPAs on the belief that accounting, tax and estate planning firms are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive wealth management services to their clients. Each affiliated firm is provided with education, technology, business-building framework and client solutions that make these firms leaders in their professions through dedicated professional client relationships built around wealth management.
1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 8150 N. Central Expressway, Suite 500 in Dallas, Texas 75206; (214) 265-1201. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at www.1stGlobal.com.