Using This Version Of The One-Page Financial Plan Turns More Prospects Into Clients

In this post I'm going to share a One-Page Plan example, and some of the things that we say when delivering it in the second meeting with prospective clients, that has increased our conversion rate of prospects to ongoing clients. It also allows us to spend a lot less time preparing plans for prospects, but has massively increased the perceived value of advice in their minds.

After the first meeting, we typically offer a free One-Page Plan. Now you could actually charge for this, but we don't, and here’s why: up until this point, we've pre-qualified the people that we're talking to with a few short questions. And through that process, we've discovered already that these are potential ideal clients. We also know that they're looking for ongoing advice and they want to work with a work with an advisor so we want to deliver massive value before they pay anything. Also, not charging allows us to worry less about if they're getting everything that they're paying for. What I mean by that is, once they are paying clients, the stress level is a little bit higher for us, because we want to make sure that we deliver what they're paying for. If they don't pay initially, we can deliver our plan the way that we do it. If for some reason they don't like it––and that hasn't ever happened––then we don't feel bad since they're not paying anything. So it's a way to take a little pressure off our shoulders, but still deliver massive value for them and help them really, no matter what, whether they become a client or not.

Now, as I said, at the end of our first meeting phone call, we offer prospective clients a One-Page Plan. (For more about the specifics of how we handle the first call, click here.) Now, when they say yes, we’d like to see the plan, then we have them upload their recent statements to a secure folder so that we can review their current investments and their current plan. After that, the whole creation process for us usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes, but it's going to deliver massive value. The reason it only takes 30 minutes for us is because we're really only talking to people who are in the same stage of life; they're close to retirement and their major problems are very similar. The potential problems that they are facing are the exact problems that we know because we’ve often solved for things that are similar.

For example, some of these common problems are:

  • the desire to have a retirement income plan
  • how to be invested and whether they should be converting to Roth
  • how their withdrawal strategies should look

Because many of these problems and risks are the same from client to client, this allows us to use a template One-Page Plan. About 80 to 90 percent of it is the same, but it's that 10 to 20 percent that's custom and really brings the most value to them. As we prepare for the second meeting, the One-Page Plan template are actually slides (we build them using Google slides, but you can also work in Keynote, or any slide builder), because there are other important slides that we want to include in the second meeting. Presenting the One-Page Plan this way makes it as easy as possible for prospects to see the value that we provide and see how it far outweighs the cost of working with us.

As we get into our One-Page Plan, note that this plan started with Carl Richards and his book The One-Page Financial Plan, which we have adopted to our firm and the specific value we provide.

The One-Page Plan

Section 1: What’s Most Important To You?

During the first meeting, you should be getting clear on the prospective client’s values and listing them. We actually don't ask about values until the end of the first meeting, but right at the beginning of the second meeting, we start to remind them what they shared last time. These are usually the non-tangible things or quotes that they mentioned in the first meeting. Most of the time, these come from the last few minutes of that first meeting, when we ask the values question (if you missed the link above to the first meeting format, here it is again).

Examples of what clients might say to answer this question are things like family, God, health, or relationships. You can see what matters to them by what the say, for example, if they say, I'm more of a worrier now, you know they’re looking for security and peace of mind. We’ve heard these things repeatedly. A lot of people have a lot of similar values, but just repeating them back to the potential client makes a big, big impact on the rest of the meeting.

After we highlight what we've identified as their important things, we ask, does that seem right to you? Is there anything else that you'd include here? And often they'll say, no, that seems spot-on. Any time you can repeat their words back to them, it makes them feel like they're understood and that you, the one talking to them, really knows them.

Section 2: Goals

Also in the first meeting, we ask them a few specific questions around figuring out tangible goals and what requires money and planning to achieve.

Common goals are things like:

  • retiring in one year
  • having a certain amount of money per month coming in after they retire
  • paying minimal taxes

A lot of times they just want to feel confident knowing they have a plan that's going to work in different scenarios. After we review the goals, we ask, is anything missing here? And sometimes they'll add something, but most of the time they won't.

Section 3: Risks or Where We Are Today

This section includes some of the risks that they might've brought up that are stopping them from achieving the dream outcome that they want. And sometimes it's things that we've noticed after reviewing their current plan or current investments. At this point, we only spend about a minute to two bringing these up and then telling a story about each one, just so it's understandable to them why they should think about it and mitigate it. Then maybe we'll say, these are the risks we see that could get in the way of you achieving your ideal retirement or achieving those things we were looking at in section two. So we'll go over these and then we'll look at some ways to mitigate these risks for you.

After that, we'll take a quick look at the five parts of their successful retirement plan:

  • income plan
  • investment plan
  • tax plan
  • estate plan
  • insurance plan

And this is where we get into the cost of working together. We do this now because during the next section, that's where we start to say some certain things that creates and then increases our value. When we talk about cost of working together, in their mind, we're kind of imagining that the value they think they're going to get from working with us is below the actual cost that it costs to work with us. And then each one of these things that we’re going to talk about next, starts to raise that value line to be above the price line, and then continues to raise until the gap is pretty wide. Eventually, it's about two to three times higher than what the cost line is. That way, it's an easy decision for them to want to work together.

If you want to see a detailed version of what that formula actually is, it's four parts of an equation that equals value and how to increase each one of those parts. Click here to learn more about the Value Formula.

Section 4: Solutions and Suggestions

This section is where we spend most of the time in the meeting. It's really the checklist of next steps that the prospective client should be taking to improve their retirement plan. The checklist includes the order of priority and what to focus on next. And this is the meat of the One-Page Plan. As an advisor, you would probably already have an idea of what the checklist is going to be after looking at their current plan and their investment accounts and what they can do to improve. But main thing that helps clarify it in their mind is three main keys that we decide to focus on: the income plan, the investment plan, and the tax plan.

(This section is kind of our secret sauce and we don’t share it with just anyone. We want to encourage and support advisors who really put the clients’ best interest ahead of their own. We want to help good advisors grow their firms and help more people by using our full system. If you are interested in using that entire system and the value formula that we use with prospective clients so that they can instantly understand that the value far exceeds the cost, apply for the First Meeting Formula here.)

In this section, like I said, the three big areas we highlight are the Streamline income system, the Streamline investment system, and a section on reducing taxes and how to increase tax alpha as well.

Next, throughout the solution section, there are questions that outline the next steps in the process. Some prospects say it's exactly what they're looking for and they're ready to move forward. Others, and really what we prefer, is for them to take some time to think about it and talk to other advisors. At the end of this second meeting, we'll say something like, as we said in the beginning, there's no decisions that need to get made today. One thing that we didn't discuss the specifics on is really the investment solutions. We talked about some of the high-level strategies on what we would do next and what we would recommend or suggest doing, but we didn't look at the actual specific investment solutions we'd use. And as part of our investment system, that will give you the greatest chance of achieving your goals of [and then repeat some of their goals] . If we're on the same page, and you like what you've seen so far, send me an email in a day or two after you've talked to other advisors or talk together and let us know if you'd like to have that investment specific meeting. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes max, and we'll go over investments. How does that sound?

There are some frequently asked questions we often hear at the end of this meeting. So, at this point we actually pull up a list on the slideshow of some of those frequently asked questions, just to see if something sparks. One of the questions is, how do I know you're not Bernie Madoff? That one usually gets a laugh or they might say, Yeah! How do I know do know that you're not Bernie Madoff? But it's an important question because a lot of these clients, we're not seeing in person because it's all virtual since March 2020 and that's how a lot of new clients are coming to us, so we do want to address that.

There are other questions that come up and it's all about making the prospective clients more confident and bringing them more peace of mind with us as their possible advisor. Usually they say, yes, let's set up a meeting for the investment-specific talk. And for the percentage of people that do not reach out to us or request that investment meeting, we send them one email five days later. And if they say they found another advisor, a local advisor or something else, we've really only spent about 90 minutes to two hours, all in, to see if this client potential ideal client is a good fit. And we feel good about the value that we've given to them.

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