How To Make Client Review Meetings Valuable
An advisor recently shared with me how he thinks that his review meetings with current clients seem to be getting kind of redundant after a couple years of working together. And he worries that they might not be as valuable to the clients anymore. In the first few years of working together, there's quite a bit of work to do. You’re making sure that you help your clients get on the right track and there’s probably a few adjustments to make and things like that. But once you get them into maintenance mode, then you might worry that you're not providing enough value.
In this post, I will share one of the most valuable things that we started doing in client review meetings that ensure our clients feel good about what we're doing. And they feel good about the progress that they're making in their financial lives.
Review Meeting Template
During the first three months of the year, we have an investment-focused meeting for the previous year. During this review meeting we prepare a slideshow and make sure and include a slide that we just call accomplishments. This is an ongoing list of things that we've done, changes that we've made, for these clients that have improved their financial life. We also include things that may not necessarily be finance-related, but a big event such as an anniversary or something like that.
Internally at Streamline, we keep a list of all the things that we do for our clients over the years. This list also includes things that we didn’t do for them, which is very valuable and I’ll explain why later in this post.
As an example, here’s a list of things we included on the accomplishments slide for a particular client in 2021:
- RMDs to Charities
- Trust Updated in February
- Contribution to Trust
- Rebalanced and added TIPS to portfolio
- Giving to Family and Pastors
- Evaluated Roth Conversion
These clients made contributions and gave gifts that they felt really good about. We rebalanced their trust and made a few other changes. Then at the bottom of the list, is something we didn’t do, a Roth conversion.
Why Share What You Didn’t Do?
We evaluated whether it made sense for them to do a Roth conversion and after a tax review and things like that, decided that this year, it didn’t. But I heard Matthew Jarvis say, if you evaluate something for your client without them knowing about it, it’s definitely valuable for you to tell your client that you did this, even though nothing changed in their financial life. Would you agree?
When your client knows you’re thinking about them and evaluating ways to potentially optimize their situation, that’s extremely valuable, even if you didn’t implement the change. So, we put those things on our list of accomplishments.
As another example, this same couple evaluated a second home a few years ago. They were considering getting it for vacations but decided against it after talking with us. So that didn’t change their financial life, but we did spend time evaluating the possibility and talking with them about if it made sense so we included it on the list of highlights from previous years. On that list we also have a list of many other progress things that we checked off and that did improve their financial life.
Apply This to Your Practice
As you prepare for your next review meeting, look back at the past year and write down all the things that you did for that client. Was it rebalancing? Did you do a tax review or have a phone call with their accountant after tax season? Did you do a Roth conversion evaluation? Keep a running list and make sure that you share it with your clients so that they know that continual progress is being made in their financial life.