Like many planners and advisors, you may be eager to find a better way to simplify your client review meeting process.
Are you still printing out reams of paper for their client review meetings? Prepared to provide performance information, these reports typically cover multiple accounts and often include each of the investment positions, along with fact sheets or other information.
Do clients really need or want this amount of data? After all, they probably hired you for your knowledge and analytical skills so they wouldn’t have to do it themselves. And do you really expect them to take that stack of printouts home to pore over or would they prefer a 1- or 2-page summary?
Of course, we all know clients with an engineering mindset who want all the data they can get and say they read every line. If you have clients like that, give them what they want.
But for most clients, why not harness available technology (as well as save a few trees) by pulling up specific report pages on a display screen in your office or conference room to show the key points you want to make about their financial plan and investment accounts?
If specific questions come up requiring more detail or to demonstrate what-if scenarios, it’s a simple matter to switch tabs or create the scenarios. Obviously, this is a situation where practice does make perfect! Pulling up the specific reports you want to use prior to the meeting will help. But, if you’re “all thumbs” at a keyboard, it could be a good opportunity to include a junior partner or support person to help while you stay engaged with your client.
Then after the meeting, you can provide a 1- or 2-page summary report along with an offer to forward a PDF of any report or updated plan that your clients would like to save for future reference.
This approach is also helpful when clients are unable to meet with you face-to-face due to living in another town or state or even outside the U.S., or for those who prefer to save time and avoid traffic and parking challenges. You can conduct a digital review meeting using desktop-sharing or video conferencing software (such as Webex, GoToMeeting, Skype or Zoom).*
As long as your clients have a laptop, tablet or phone with a connection to the internet (and who doesn’t?), you can send them a link to see exactly what you would have shown them had they come to your office. If your computer is set up with a video camera, they can see you. And if they’re comfortable with using their own video camera, you can also see them.
Just as you would if they came to your office, you can pull up various reports, as well as more detailed information or what-if scenarios, as needed. At the end of the call, you can forward your executive summary along with PDFs of specific reports and/or their updated plan.
Conferencing technology also enables you to have couples or other account owners on the same call even from separate locations. They can have you include adult children, successor trustees or attorneys-in-fact, as appropriate. And many conferencing services provide email confirmation as to which phone numbers dialed into the call and for how long for documentation purposes.
You can also use technology to streamline making notes of your client meetings and calls. Dictation services such as Copytalk and MobileAssistant can make short work of recording your notes. Both use human transcriptionists rather than relying on speech recognition software such as Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking.*
Once you have documented your client meeting or call for your own records, why not create a simple executive summary template to complete and mail or email to clients, providing them with a synopsis of the most important items discussed as well as any action items you may have decided upon.
If you would like to receive copies of our Progress Review Summary letter sample and text form, just send me an email!
Make it easy for clients by providing personalized links and clear directions. As you simplify your meeting process using technology, you may find your clients to be more engaged and your relationships strengthened.
*Please note that while we have used most (but not all) of these services, do your own due diligence (which may include checking with your broker-dealer) to select the most appropriate service for your practice.