Do your ideal clients know all of the services that you offer? Imagine walking into a restaurant, and after getting seated, the host rips the menu in half and says” enjoy your meal”. Do you want the whole menu or just half of it? Your ideal clients, which are your best clients want the whole menu. They delegate everything to you and are “all in” when it comes to comprehensive planning and advice. The clients who only want to use part of your services are NEVER going to be your ideal clients, so stop hoping they become one someday. Imagine having two doctors you trust that compete with one another, one doctor for the top half of my body and one doctor for the bottom half. Sounds crazy to most, yet so many advisors accept the fact people have two financial advisors. People want to find someone they ultimately trust, and if they cannot ultimately trust you, they never will be ideal. When they trust you, they want to know all of your services. So do you have a checklist of comprehensive services in the six key areas of planning? The six areas are tax, estate, risk management, insurance, investment, and debt. Are you doing comprehensive planning and comprehensive advice in all six areas, with an internal or external team or network? It is difficult to know all six areas and stay on top of it, that is why you need to put a comprehensive team around your best clients to deliver. Once you have the process, then plan on articulating it with a checklist of all of the services you deliver and what I get in each of the six areas to achieve my goals as an ideal client of yours. I have several great samples of a comprehensive checklist of services. Check out what a family office does for comprehensive planning and advice services, and consider creating a “mini- family office of services”.
Do a fee audit
Do investors understand the total cost of investing and advice? Consider completing a fee audit on a prospects portfolio and financial plan. Over the last five years, look at the total amount of fees they paid and look at the tangible (dollar gains, tax planning gains, estate planning gains, advice gains) benefits they received. Then list the intangible benefits they received, such as peace of mind, comfort, simplicity, and trust. This can be part of your detailed process to outline your measurable and immeasurable client benefits to prospects. I always ask advisors “ Tell me how much income tax you potentially saved last year with your top client?” In my workshops with financial advisors, I rarely get an answer to that question. Are you telling me that you cannot quantify your value in dollar terms? Build a process that gives your clients and prospects a forward-based, five years estimated cost and potential benefits to help you quantify value of your advice. Use a checklist of benefits to compare what they are currently getting and not getting, to help the prospect understand what they are paying for. Make sure they understand the total cost, in dollar terms and percentages by highlighting it on the bottom of the fee audit checklist page.
Build your process with feedback, value, and transparency to get an edge on the client experience.
Now when you sit down with prospects consider this exercise and discussion. Ask “ Can I do a fee audit for you to help you understand how fees impact your planning and the total cost in dollars and percentages? Would it be valuable for you to understand the total cost of what you are paying, what you get for those fees, and what you do not get? “ Look at the estimated total fees over the last five years that they have paid and quantify them in a dollar cost as well as a percentage. With a prospect, look at the starting investment amount five years ago and the ending investment amount today, including withdrawals. Then ask about their planning processes they have completed, including tax planning, estate planning, and financial planning and ask to see the documents. This exercise will help you with your value discussion, but more importantly, showing prospects the total cost, in dollars and percentages, and help them understand the total that they are paying. It will also show complete transparency with benefits and will show your prospect instant and tangible benefits of working with you, especially if their current advisor has no process for showing their planning processes, total fees and total transparency if they show any fees for advice. It will also allow you to discuss your value of your planning processes and your progress update meetings to keep them on track.
Key prospecting discussion
Get in a habit of people you come across every day if they understand the fees they are paying. Ask them to explain the fees as they understand it. Then ask” would you be open for me to do a fee audit for the last five years to help you understand the cost (or fees) and benefits? I ask because we do this for our clients so they understand the measurable benefits of our advice along with our immeasurable benefits that our planning offers such as peace of mind and simplicity of their financial life. Our clients appreciate more comprehensive planning advice through our comprehensive checklist of services. Would you like to see a copy of our checklist? Our clients have comfort knowing we have a comprehensive process that ensures you are taken care of, so they can go on and enjoy the things that are important to them”. Now you have the start of a process to discuss your differences with prospects.
Practice makes perfect
Do you have scripts that you use with prospects and practice them with someone to give you feedback? Do you have a clear detailed process for making your client’s fee ready? If not, who is helping you who has a proven process to help you get there? Find someone who has a proven process and has the time to help you get there. It is not just about content, but it is about practice. Who is helping you practice your scripts? Do you record your practice sessions? Imagine if the “Rolling Stones” band never practiced and only recorded once? Do you record your meetings with your client’s permission? Find a coach, mentor or manager who can help you build your process and help you practice your communication skills to articulate your value. Now go out and practice your fee audit conversation, build your process for converting prospects and providing measurable and immeasurable value to your new clients.
What is a Quality financial and investment plan?
One final comment. In my workshops with financial advisors, I always ask a veteran advisor, “in twenty plus years, how many quality financial and investment plans in writing have you seen from your competitors?” The answer is usually less than 5 quality plans in 20 years. My mission is simple, “Coaching financial advisors to create 1 million quality financial and investment plans for their ideal clients”. Ask your clients and prospects this question ” What does a quality financial and investment plan mean to you? Let me know if I can help you grow your practice.