Do you ever wish you could come in each week with a list of client meetings and calls already lined up? Or are you constantly juggling between meeting with clients this week and trying to arrange meetings for next week?
Many advisors tell us they’d like to have their offices run like what they experience at their dentist’s office, but either they don’t think clients would buy into scheduling meetings so far in advance, or they don’t know how to get started.
Here are some suggestions to help you schedule your client meetings more efficiently:
- Set client expectations. Even if your clients don’t like scheduling their next review meeting 6 months to a year in advance, you can (and should) set their expectations for their next appointment. Gain agreement on when it will be, determine their preferred venue – in-person, by phone, or virtual – and let them know who will call them (and when) to confirm the date, time, and any directions they may need.
- Delegate the scheduling to someone else. This is important. Delegating this responsibility to someone else will enable you to focus on your current meeting schedule and not get caught up in a conversation with a client when all you intended was a call to schedule their meeting. If your service assistant can do it, that’s great. But if not, some of our coaching clients have hired part-time help to focus solely on scheduling their appointments.
- Create a recurring task for your support associate to schedule appointments for the following month. You can use your CRM, Outlook, or even a spreadsheet with the list of names and when their appointments should be scheduled. We suggest slotting this task for 7-10 days prior to the end of the month for the following month’s appointments.
- Block your appointment times. Of course, if you delegate appointment setting to someone else, it’s helpful to block times for client appointments on your calendar. For example, you could devote your afternoons to client appointments 3-4 days per week; or you might prefer one appointment in the morning and two in the afternoon. Make sure your scheduler knows how long each appointment should last as well as how much of a break you need between appointments to complete your notes and get ready for the next meeting.
- Make certain that whoever is doing your scheduling also knows the preferred venue for each client’s meeting, as well as the expected length for each appointment and the amount of time you need between them.
- Confirm your client appointments with an agenda. An email or note confirming the date and time of the appointment and directions depending on the venue, along with an agenda demonstrates your professionalism. Clients should be encouraged to jot down notes of items they want to discuss on their agenda and bring it with them along with recent statements or other documents you may need..
- Document action items and set expectations for the next appointment. Many of our coaching clients have adopted the practice of following up their client meetings with a brief recap by email or letter that includes any action items they discussed as well as when they next expect to meet. Whether or not you use a recap strategy, make certain you confirm the next steps with your clients.
If you haven’t made a practice of scheduling client review meetings on a regular basis (we won’t tell!), here’s an easy way to get started:
- Pull a list of your client households, sorted by the birth month of the primary person on the account.
- Review the names of the clients with birthdays next month as candidates for review meetings.
- Select those with whom you’ve not had a review meeting in the last 6 months or so, and provide that list to your support staff to schedule a review meeting.
- Over the course of a year, you’ll have all your clients scheduled for a review meeting.
- At the end of each meeting, determine the optimal frequency of review meetings for that client’s individual situation.
- After a year or so, you should have all clients set up on your CRM for review meetings based on the frequency most appropriate for them.
Need a simple agenda for your progress review meetings? Click here to request our sample.