Are you in a product business or a service business? Nearly every one of your competitors has access to the same products. This is a service business not a product business so you need to compete by offering better service than the competition.
There is a simple turnkey service model that thrills your clients while giving you more free time to focus on working on your business instead of in your business. I'll discuss how to set up a client service model, a powerful method to set appointments to make your system turnkey, and how to follow up after a meeting. If you review your practice I promise that the months in which you had the highest production were the months you had the highest number of client meetings. Production and meetings move together in lockstep. Want to do more production? Have more client meetings. Here is a service model that works well:
A Clients Meet 4 times a year
B Clients Meet 2 times a year
C Clients Meet 1 time a year
D Clients Try and remove from your practice.
If you haven't segmented your book of business yet, here are some guidelines. Most broker-dealers give advisors certain back-office capabilities to help rank your client base. (If your back office doesn't, you will need to do it manually on paper or in Excel.)
Step 1: Create a list of all your clients ranked by assets. The client with the most assets is at the top, the one with the least assets is at the bottom.
Step 2: Divide the list into 10 equal groups.
Step 3: Calculate the average account size of each group (total assets per group divided by number of clients in the group).
Step 4: Put your top 20% of clients in group A and your middle 40% of clients in group B.
Step 5: Divide the remaining 40% of clients into two groups. Group C is those clients who have a close relationship with your A or B clients. Group D is the remaining clients who don't have much of a relationship with anyone other than you.
Now, you may wish to edit your segmented client base. For example, if you know one of your clients has sizable assets that may be available for transfer, you may wish to move that client into your A list. Or, if you have a client in your A or B list who really undervalues your services, you may wish to remove them completely. Of course, all clients you keep need to be serviced properly so let's discuss how to set up your service schedule next.
So, if you enjoy wasting your time or your assistant's time simply begin the phone tag service model of calling people a few weeks before you want to meet. Calling people like this is the most common way to schedule appointments and is the reason most advisors have a haphazard service model. Here is the best way to set appointments.
First, simply enter the times you want to meet with clients into your calendar. Then send the client a letter telling them this is when they are scheduled for the next 12 months. Say in the letter that if they have a conflict for one of these dates they can call to reschedule, simple.
Nearly every one of my private coaching clients has reservations when I discuss this system. Many advisors feel that clients are incapable of scheduling out 12 months in advance. Others feel that calling the client to "touch base" is fine and they don't need to have a scheduled meeting. I have seen some advisors have reluctance because they haven't done a good job meeting regularly in the past and now have call reluctance. Remember, a phone appointment should be scheduled just like a face to face meeting. I have news for you; clients like to know when they will see you. Guess what happens? They stop calling so much because they know they are scheduled to see you and most questions they have they will save for the meeting. Don't believe me, try it yourself and see.
When you come into work and see your calendar full of appointments how do you feel? Imagine being booked out for the next 12 months, you, your clients and your staff will love it. Please don't be afraid of this method, those fears are unfounded, just test this system and enjoy the results.
First, send an email or a letter to confirm your appointments about one to two weeks in advance including your proposed meeting agenda. Clients love getting the agenda in advance because it helps them focus and it shows them how important the meeting is to you. You can also request anything you would like them to bring to the meeting. I also recommend calling a day or two before the meeting as a reminder as well. I use meeting agenda templates that are simple and can be quickly edited for this purpose.
Now that the appointment is set and confirmed the client arrives, you have your meeting, do some business and they leave. Now what? Why you should send a follow up letter of course. In my experience roughly 20% of advisors consistently send follow up letters. Remember that a follow up letter is not only a great service to the client it is also great for compliance reasons. It is a great way to document what you discussed and what was agreed to.
The follow up letter should actually be prepared in advance before the meeting when you are creating the agenda. After the meeting edit it as necessary and then send. At a minimum include what the agenda was you discussed, what the client agreed to do and what you agreed to do.
Also include the time of their next appointment and if you used the system I described above it is already in your calendar. If it is a new client please set their next appointment before they leave the meeting and then include it in your follow up letter. Follow up letters will ideally go out within 24 hours of the meeting.
Your new turnkey service model has you spending your time wisely. Clients are thrilled because they have a set schedule 12 months out of when they will be seeing you and it puts their worries at ease. When they receive the follow up letter it confirms that everything you discussed is in motion and their next meeting is already scheduled.
If you would like fantastic referral systems to use during your client meetings please visit www.remarkablereferral.com.
Todd Colbeck is principal and founder of the Colbeck Coaching Group,
a subsidiary of General Business Center, Inc. You can reach him at this email address.