Some advisors schedule their clients’ next review meeting before they leave the office from the last one. Others can’t remember the last time they had a review meeting with some of their clients. Many know they should be better organized for review meetings but feel overwhelmed by the whole process.
Our focus for the month of May is helping you better manage your review meeting process.
The first step is getting organized, and the first question is, how frequently should review meetings be held?
Many planners and advisers tie frequency of review meetings to their segmentation system and service matrix, assuming that they will meet with their top tier (highest revenue) clients the most frequently. We take a slightly different perspective for a couple of reasons:
- Review meetings are an integral part of your advice (not service) process. As planners and advisors have adopted the AUM-based revenue model, their clients rightly expect to receive ongoing advice (as opposed to service) for their ongoing fee.
- Clients need to meet with their advisor for various reasons and at various intervals depending on their life situation and perceived need for advice and direction.
As a trusted professional, you know your clients and what they need better than anyone, even your clients themselves. Physicians and dentists don’t ask their patients how frequently they want to come in for a check-up or cleaning; rather, their patients rely on their experience and judgment. Similarly, your clients should rely on your experience and judgment regarding the frequency of review meetings.
There is also a difference between a comprehensive review meeting and interim meetings or calls, which may be used as check-ins or to address specific planning or investment topics. For many, if not most clients, once per year should be sufficient for comprehensive review meetings, which aligns with their expectations for meetings with other professionals in their lives.
Assuming you agree that most of your clients should have a comprehensive review meeting annually, what can you do to get started? While it can feel overwhelming if you don’t already have your clients on such a schedule, it’s not impossible. Here are a few things you can do.
- Group your client households by the birth month of the first person named on their accounts. During the last week or two of a given month (we’ll use May as an example), pull the names of client households with birthdays in the following month (in this case, June).
- If you have other clients that you believe should be prioritized for a meeting now, add them to your list.
- Contact these clients by phone or send an email followed by a phone call to schedule their review meeting unless they’ve had one within the last six months.
- You or your assistant can say, “It’s time to schedule your next review meeting.” Or, “We’re establishing a new system to make sure we meet with our clients at least annually to make sure you stay on track to meet your goals.”
- Block time on your calendar for these meetings, preferably no more than 1-2 review meeting per day for however long you need. Be sure to include time before and after the meetings to make sure you’re fully prepared and then to update your notes or debrief your staff.
Best practice: while it may not be practical to schedule review meetings with your clients a year in advance, you should always manage their expectations for when someone from your office will contact them to set their next meeting appointment.
Next time, we’ll take an in-depth look at how best to prepare for your review meetings.