Financial planning and advising is a big industry where even the most seasoned pros know standing out to bring in great clients can be a never-ending process. So what can a Financial Planner do to set themselves apart and keep clients singing their praises?
It all comes down to knowledgeable support and great service.
Let’s take a look at three areas that can make a big impact on your client pipeline and satisfaction as a financial planner:
Be Customer Centric
You’re there to provide a fabulous service with solid results, right? That will look a bit different for each situation, which means you’ll need to come from a client-focused setup. The first step to that is a great onboarding experience.
There's a wide range of industry tools out there and no perfect answer, but a good CRM that fits you and your clients can be worth its weight in gold. If you can find one that works well for you and your crew, an all-in-one system like Wealthbox, SalesForce, or Envestnet Taramac may cover almost all of your bases.
The big plus for an all-in-one system is it will save everyone from clicking from window to window to window, which means less administrative time for you, and fewer logins and links for your clients. Check out these results to compare more tools and how people respond to them.
After onboarding, you’ll want to keep communication open, easy, and clear.
- Be responsive - You don’t have to have your phone or email on 24/7, but you do want to have clear methods to communicate with you and make sure you respond in a reasonable amount of time with a good answer or follow-up question.
- Do what they ask - Your clients hire you because you’re the pro! Give them the best advice and information you have and be clear about the “whys and whats” that go into what you present to them. But it’s always their life and goals that are on the line and the end result needs to be doing what they ask.
- Give easy access to account performance and other data - Clients who can clearly see and understand what their accounts are doing, how their goals and plans are progressing, and what fees to expect for which parts of their services are more likely to feel confident in their financial journey. Your CRM may have this capability, or you can find another tool that will help. Just make sure they always feel in-the-know about where their money is and what’s likely coming next.
Take Time to Educate
This serves a few purposes. First, it gets you more internet space when you create content, since you're building a bank that makes you more findable over time. It also grows your audience and your network with other related industry resources and pros.
When you have content ready to hand to clients or shared publicly online, you have new leads coming in with a good baseline of knowledge. That means they're able to understand your process, see your value and expertise, and they're more likely to be excited to sign up and get started.
You may even give them an early start on some essential behavior changes that make a huge difference in their financial success over time. Talk about building goodwill!
TIP: Worried about finding enough time to be all over social media? The good news is you don't have to be everywhere at once!
You want to find a couple places to focus and build some momentum.
Think about where your ideal new clients are spending their time and what they're likely looking for in the stages before they come to you. A good way to find ideas is to Google something like "Financial planners for Gen X in [your town]".
Then find a way to make content that works for you and your team. Video? Engaging blogs? Useful guides? A podcast series? It's about finding a balance between what they need and what you'll do well creating, or delegating! Don't forget that you have pre-made content right here on the Willowfinch blogs like How to Avoid FOMO in House Hunting and 10 Things to Look for When Finding a Financial Planner.
Use Tools to Add Value
As technology gets more and more creative and developed, the kinds of tools available in the industry have grown to be an amazing asset for Planners. That doesn’t mean you want to add dozens, though. As this Twitter poll shows, some financial planning tech can be challenging. Responses shared roadblocks like the winning answer "lacks (good) integrations" (55%), "too many choices" (22%), and "lacks key features I need" (18%).
The remaining 6% was "Other" with details in the replies. One reply by Cody Garrett shared the important point that tech in the financial planning industry often falls short when it's created by teams without industry experience. He also wished for more focus on its benefits to clients rather than only focusing on what benefits advisors.
The Willowfinch tools to help visualize big concepts and strike into the soft topics people care about, which lets you keep up a stream of insight and data to guide them throughout the years on the parts of their daily life that matter the most. They’ll also have easy access to the visuals and data, which helps people understand the situation and be more confident in their decisions.
Tech can make it feel like the goal is replacing humans with robots, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The best tools out there help you stand out from the robo-advice world by bringing the benefits of the tools into the world of human insights and real relationships. It makes your services more valuable than ever!
This quote from the foreword of "The Future of Advisor-Client Relationships" white paper by AIG and MIT AgeLab shows the trend in the industry:
“While robo-advice, or advice by algorithm, has brought extreme efficiencies to transactions, such high-tech solutions are far from able to replicate the full value proposition of a high-touch advisor. Trusted, successful financial transactions may be a prerequisite for true advisor-client engagement, but they tell only part of the story. The balance comes from the more personal, “softer” aspects of the relationship—and relationships, boiled down, consist of conversations.
You can see more great financial planning tech tool options here.
It all Comes Down to Relationships
The relationships built through a well-done financial planning process are one of the most powerful ways to stand out in a loud but sometimes confusing industry. You have just a short time to bring in and wow new clients, so it makes it essential for you and for your clients that you have a system that makes that simple and effective.
The good news is that different people prefer to connect in different ways, so you can make this a priority while doing things in a way that feels true to your personality and professional manner.
If you’re ready to give the Willowfinch tools a try, we’d love to help you add even more depth to your expert advice for clients without adding hours and hours of digging through data to do it. Make sure to grab a spot to chat about a demo or a spot in our beta group. It closes soon!